I’ve been trying to puzzle something out. I have joined groups and scoured hashtags in my efforts to understand, and honestly, I’m still bewildered because it seems to me that the women of the internet have suddenly developed a deep-rooted need not to seek true authenticity, but instead to align themselves into tribes labelled with zeitgesty words that rapidly lose all meaning once those drawn to allegiance prove themselves to have no genuine understanding of what it is they are lining up to declare themselves to be.
This is no doubt a sign of both our troubled times and a life spent on the internet, where, overwhelmed by choice, we cannot make authentic identification of people like us as we might be able to in real life, but instead have to choose group titles that appeal to us, and once accepted into the fold, need to try and decipher whether here is where we really belong.
And in the early days of the internet it worked beautifully and slowly but surely, tight-knit groups of like and like were formed with common interests and fierce opinion, and those who didn’t know enough learned and those who did, taught and bonds became unbreakable and it didn’t matter whether a group had six people in or six thousand because those who joined grew with the
Well at least until Facebook got involved and started playing with algorithms, and people in general became (perhaps because of some wider sociological impact I will not pretend to be able to pinpoint!) more desperate to fit in, to be a part of something, (anything?), and to abandon all pretence about truly wanting to be wholly and completely the best representation of themselves and the things THEY love, yearn for, or want to be.
From this in the past few years, have been borne “armys” of homemakers, cottagecore themed groups of disparate people who cannot decide whether the boots they are wearing or the ramen noodles they cooked for dinner are “cottagecore” enough, (as if a representative from the Bureau of Cottagey Doings might at any time knock on their door and give them a score out of ten), and those who want to label every morsel they eat by the light of a
Heavens to Betsey what happened to individuality? What happened to choice and the kind of eclectic aesthetic that defies labels because it is yours and yours alone? And more, what happened to eating and housekeeping and dressing the way you want to without having to share every aspect of your lifestyle all day everyday, and without it ever entering your head to ask she in charge and her jury of judgy ladies whether what you are doing is vintage/cottagecore/bohemian/hygge enough? Who, pray tell, decides what’s what and has got so many lovely women putting themselves up for virtual competition in the race to be she who is the walking epitome of what is essentially only a label after all?
I am bewildered. When we take a label like cottagecore, hygge, bohemia or the likes, and then squeeze the very life out of it by trying to chuck all that is even vaguely related to it under the same umbrella, we create disharmonious groups with division at their very core, groups where those who do not have the confidence to go their own way, so frequently put themselves and their choices up for what always strikes me as the grown woman’s lifestyle equivalent of the “hot or not” questions that are the scourge of kids social media. Groups where, particularly in the homemaking arena, she in charge presents an impossible set of goals she apparently attains in a few hours a week, then rallies her “troops” to try to emulate her, knowing that without her money and behind the scenes help, life will be but a poor imitation that will always, always be defined by “Am I good enough?” while actively encouraging followers to pour scorn on those who don’t quite get the rather fuzzy boundaries contained within, no matter how hard they might seem to be trying, and have opinions on matters that have absolutely no relationship to what the group purports to be about.
Ugh. I hate it. It is the antithesis of everything I have always wanted
Over the years I could have course have done the same thing: I could have hooked my own particular way of living onto a zeitgiesty word and sold the life out of it. I could have played dress up (but I’m a woman, not a doll) and worked my bottom off to present an impossible ideal, but I wanted you to know that I am real. That at
It is why I rarely share pictures of my home. Why I never sought to fashion Finn into our own little mascot when he was cute and tiny, nor hid the uglier details of my life from you as they have happened. And it is why I only promote those products I believe in and have almost always turned down payment for anything that I do not personally use or desire to use. For me
I am so grateful you are here and regard you all as friends. But for the record ramen noodles are not cottagecore. They are just food.