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A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Antagonizing Cottagecore: nature as imperialist America’s femme fatale
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Bessie Rubinstein
After Taylor Swift’s album Folklore premiered—an album whose associated videos and imagery are rife with idealized isolation—W Magazine ran an article titled “Taylor Swift Has Discovered Cottagecore.” This headline doubly reiterates the relationship between postcolonial America and the natural world: it celebrates a white woman “discovering” an aesthetic trend that already celebrates the myth of discovery. Cottagecore’s linen, lace, and pleated cotton skirts return to Victorian England, or 17th and 18th century colonial America—periods of imperialism, in which culture was synonymous with hegemony. Across platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest), cottagecore is an online community formed around the antithesis to community: isolation. As a pop singer-songwriter, Swift adopting cottagecore as her own makes sense; its digital presence mushroomed during COVID-19, marked by a look of bucolic seclusion created with elements of nature, gathered and arranged to emphasize their naturaln...