One of the criticisms often leveled at Cottagecore is that it is not aware of all the decolonial issues that are at stake at the moment. Since Cottagecore is a mental state that calls for the search for escape, or even flight, it is not uncommon for its followers to turn instead to fictional worlds where "everything is beautiful" and "all is well that ends well". One can then legitimately ask oneself: what about black people and colored people? What place do they occupy in Cottagecore? Is Cottagecore a "white thing"? We will see in this article why Cottagecore is, on the contrary, a fabulous opportunity for black people and people of color to assert themselves and display their cultural and ethnic belonging without shame, in joy.
1. Cottagecore is open to all origins and cultures.
Just because country performances are often drawn from Western popular culture, with girls straight out of the "Little House on the Prairie" (which has a very white cast), does not mean that other cultures should be omitted and not represented.
Living a life in the country is obviously not only for whites. This would imply that in other non-white countries, there would be no farmers? There would be no farmers? No one to live with sheep, cows, chickens, and ewes? This is completely ridiculous. Every country, every continent, from Asia to Africa through the Islands have their own agriculture, their own fauna and flora, their own traditional dishes and local customs. All these elements are part of the Cottagecore, they are the Cottagecore itself.
Cottagecore calls on this colorful youth to highlight their assets and their origins, perhaps by mixing them a little with the new Western culture of which they are a part. If these people often feel rejected by the white world, and rightly so, Cottagecore allows them to penetrate this European universe and to embellish it with its sauce. It is a way of reappropriating attributes normally reserved for a white elite (the small Victorian country house, the rich and well-decorated manor house, the lace dresses and ribbons in the hair, etc.).
Some young people coming from different cultures such as those of the Maghreb, Mexico, South Africa, the Caribbean or India for example have sometimes lived with grandparents who took care of the Earth. Farming grandparents, who lived at the rhythm of the sun with their henhouse, their land, their vegetables and fruits. Cottagecore can appear to these young people as a nostalgic refuge, a private sphere that reminds us of childhood and connects us to this lost culture of origin. The whole point of Cottagecore for black and colored people is, in my opinion, to succeed in integrating this culture of carnal origin, with the culture of belonging or western expression to which they belong. It is a question of marrying the two cultures, not opposing them.
2. Cottagecore for black people.
I remember that in 2012, when I was little and I was hanging out on French-language gothic lolita forums, some French lolitas were asking these kinds of questions: "do you think black girls can wear Lolita?". The answers were all "no". "No, I think it's weird, it doesn't suit them." They had no problem with Asians putting on Lolita dresses, directly inspired by traditional European culture of the rococo and Victorian era, but black people couldn't. It's strange.
Now that I have grown up and educated myself little by little, I know that this phenomenon is called the "misogynoir" in french. The misogyny launched directly against black women in particular. This misogyny consists of making people believe that black women with big features would not be beautiful, too masculine, not enough of this, too much of that. All of this is based on concepts of ultra-retouched beauty codified by white Europeans. This phenomenon is not new, and dates back to the colonization of black and African countries.
Whereas in Senegal, before the arrival of the colonizers, the blacker a person was (black skin, black hair, black eyes, and even black gums), the prettier he or she was considered to be. This is quite normal after all, in line with the black indigenous people of Senegal. These beauty criteria were natural and did not force women to destroy their health to fit ideals they could never achieve naturally. Now in Senegal, some women seek to whiten their skin using dubious chemical methods. Depigmentation is an unbelievable violence that black women in particular (this practice affects men much less) do, because the Western media and colonial traumatic history have managed to convey a kind of "self-shame" into the black body. This cult of whiteness sometimes goes much too far: women find themselves using creams containing bleach, crushed glass, grains of cement... All this in order to appear "more beautiful", when before in Africa and in black countries it was necessary to be very black to be beautiful.
The Cottagecore is outraged at all this. The return to the roots must go through a return to oneself. We support all black women who advocate the beauty of black women and their magic. Black women don't have to look like other women of color or white women to be beautiful. Beauty has no ethnic origin. In Cottagecore, this desire to imagine oneself living in a place far from the city and its dictates of fashion, its capitalist and consumerist savagery must encourage black women to distance themselves from all this media circus. If you are a country girl, what does it matter to you what the media's criteria for beauty are? You live far from technology, far from the fashion catwalks with their skinny and sexualized white models. Take care of yourself, take care of what your eyes see and your brain record. Only learn about things on the internet that contribute to your empowerment. Don't let these negative network influences get you down. Surround yourself with caring people, and above all, remember how beautiful black women are.
I mean... your elaborated and magnificent hairstyles, your faces to which all hair colors fit wonderfully, from black to gray, from green to burgundy red, absolutely everything suits you. Your deep black doe eyes, sometimes almond-shaped, often large and mysterious. Your skin of black velvet, like the universe. You have a great place to play in the Cottagecore, you are indispensable to this movement. Make your ancestors proud. You are incredible, you are magical, you are pretty.
3. Cottagecore for people of color.
We have separated "black people" and "people of color" (POC) because there is still very often racism against black people in communities of color, who take advantage of their lighter skin and "white passing" to discriminate against black people. Finally, we know that not everyone is like that, and we are not here to judge but to glorify all these beautiful cultures from all over the world.
People of color have also suffered this cult of whiteness and suffer from the ashes of colonization, which still permeate their homeland. Cottagecore may be a solution for those who feel that they have one foot in their country of origin, another foot in their host country, or that of their parents. As noted above, there is not a single country on this Earth that does not have an agricultural crop. Everyone can wear a cottagecore dress.
In China, Vietnam, India, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Cuba or Haiti, Guyana, Bolivia, Argentina, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Mongolia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia or Greenland... (and I absolutely did not mention all the countries representative of people of color) there are many and varied examples that can inspire the Cottagecore aesthetic.
The traditional clothes, the know-how of these countries whether it concerns pottery, embroidery, cooking, painting, music or literature... The past histories of these different territories, their kings and queens, their political culture which was modified and changed over the centuries, the implanted religions and their ancestral pagan roots, their beliefs and myths, their customs and traditions... Feasts, calendars, country life, the relationship of the natives to their Land... All this can be integrated in Cottagecore. For those who suffer from a loss of identity or identity confusion, as can very often be the case for the descendants of immigrants who have settled in Western or European countries, Cottagecore can be a starting point to tinker with answers.
Maybe you can start by leaving your hair natural, sunbathing and showcasing your culture through makeup and outfits. Maybe you can proceed with small touches, details - embroideries on the outfit, on the pants, jewelry and accessories, scarves or headbands, hairstyles...
The Cottagecore is an ideal, a place where you can invent the worlds you live in. You don't have to conform to what you read on the networks to exist and have the right to be what you are. You don't have to feed on resentment and hatred towards Westerners if you don't want to - but anger is legitimate. I just don't feel that Cottagecore people are looking for this position of anger, but rather for peace and balance. You don't have to bend to one another's words. Think of Cottagecore as an opportunity to settle your personal scores and show us your beautiful traditional outfits, teach us about your cultures and beliefs, show us how beautiful you all are, and that your rich and wonderful cultures really make us want to know more about you.
What about Romani people ?
Concerning the Roma people, it is exceedingly difficult to be interested in their culture without falling into cultural appropriation, so be incredibly careful what you wear ! Always inquire about a piece of clothing, its origin, its symbol.
"Roma, also Romani/Romany, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group mostly living in Europe, but can be found all over the world. Traditionally the group was nomadic, but permanent living has become more common (although it depends on the country they are living in). Roma generally places a high value on the extended family and tend to live and marry with another Roma. There is a distinct way of living, Romanipen (also romanypen, romanipe, romanype, romanimos, romaimos, romaniya) that encompasses traditions, laws, philosophies etc. However, the concept is interpreted differently depending on the Romani group and what country they live in."
The Roma has an extraordinarily rich culture which has inspired many literary masterpieces such as "Notre-Dame de Paris" by Victor Hugo, with Esmeralda. There are many names to define this people, and very often they have been charged with negative connotations : gypsies, bohemians... This people have faced discrimination and racism for an awfully long time, and still must fight against it. On this blog we have used the word "bohemian" several times without understanding how offensive it is. We apologize to you. Yet often concerned reappropriate these negative terms to them, to their advantage in the redorant and putting them back in value.
Now that this little introduction has been made, it seems obvious to me that the Roma have a non-negligible place to play in Cottagecore. They are known to have fabulous musicians who have gold in their hands. The culture and their ways of life have strongly permeated the Andalusian culture, which is in the south of Spain. We all have these stunning green-eyed women in our minds, dancing gracefully in their dresses, to the sound of flaming guitars... But that's a cliché. The Roma people are extremely large and diverse. Family is very important to them. The Roma is in fact the last “gypsy” community to have reached the European continent, and for this they have remained very traditionalist. Their wives are well known for practicing a rare and mysterious art : they read on the lines of human hands. Gypsy culture is surrounded by this mythical, almost magical aura : they know plants and remedies. Knowing plants and remedies necessarily implies knowing Nature well. They have access to knowledge that we no longer master.
4. Finding inspiration in the light academia.
If you've read Donna Tartt's novel, "The Secret History", you can't miss the dark academia aesthetic. But as far as the Cottagecore is concerned, you can be inspired by the light academia aesthetics! It is concretely the whole academic/poetry/ancient Greek/classical side of literature/ancient academia but with a sober and clear aesthetic! If the dark academia is more oriented towards autumn and winter, the light academia is more oriented towards spring and summer. A whole aesthetics to explore and which you can use as inspiration for your Cottagecore aesthetics!
5. Let your creativity express itself!
I hope you enjoyed this article! Feel free to share to help our community grow, and good day to all my wonderful black girls and my beautifully colored girls!
Amazing content and intelligent conversations within this written piece – Cottagecore is definitely something I’ve been working to decolonise, and I’m enjoying it more thoroughly in my day to day! o