Black Women Embracing ‘Cottagecore’ Is an Act of Defiance
An idyllic rural life appeals to many in lockdown, though the aesthetic has its critics
If you venture over to TikTok and search the phrase “cottagecore,” you’ll enter into a carefully-curated void filled with women frolicking in woodland forests, making homemade baked goods while dressed fashionably in a selection of frilly dresses and milkmaid blouses. With over 3.3 billion views, #cottagecore has reached an all-time high in popularity on the video-sharing platform and is gaining popularity across many other social media realms from Reddit to Twitter.
In the midst of a global pandemic and worldwide lockdown, many began to embrace the romanticized idea of rural life, as we remained cooped up in our homes and glued to technology. Living in a paradisal landscape far from civilization became more and more appealing as many delved deep into their cottagecore fantasies where quarantines and pandemics were the fragments of their imagination.
While there is an overwhelming lack of diversity on the surface of this aesthetic, Black women are gaining prominence for embracing cottagecore and prompting more discussions about representation and historical accuracy.
One of the biggest Black cottagecore influences is U.K.-based content curator Paula Sutton. Sutton, who resides in Norfolk, England, is known for her stunning visuals. She often showcases the exterior of her Georgian home while dressed beautifully in floral gowns, with a mixture of country-chic herringbone and tweed jackets, and sharing her love for baking, gardening, and roaming the English countryside.
In April 2020, Paula was brought to the attention of many after British journalist Liv Siddall claimed she left Instagram because of an image of Paula living her carefree best life. This photo, which showed Paula reading a book outside of her country estate, seemingly angered Liv and brought out her own frustrations, as she admitted the photo made her “anxious” from “wealth fatigue.”
To see Black women like Sutton living a life which seems carefree, happy, and in luxury, is to see us in spaces that many don’t expect us to be in and Siddall’s reaction to Sutton’s instagram is something Black…