What is Goblincore?

Matthew Baines

What is Goblincore

A close relation to Cottagecore, Goblincore speaks to the more gnarly and wild side of nature. Rather than wafty, white cotton dresses in summer wheat fields that you might experience with Cottagecore, Goblincore prefers to be situated deep in the woods amongst the ugly, outcast creatures of nature, such as mushrooms, toads, moss, dirt and darkness.

Goblincore, also known as Gremlincore or Dark Cottagecore, is an aesthetic that, like Cottagecore, has been adopted during the Pandemic as we find ourselves, solitary, deep in the forests of our own thoughts, picking at our imperfections and coming to recognise them as beautiful.

Goblincore and Queerness

Popular in the LGBT community, Goblincore is a vibe that is liberating as it defies traditional gender norms. Mushrooms and other fungi, for example, can have many different sexes. There is no one mould when it comes to Goblincore, and why should there be? Feeling outcast is something that comes hand-in-hand with gay life, so Goblincore is an aesthetic that might come naturally to some. Hibernating away deep in the forest from the prejudices that come with living in a perfect society, Goblincore offers a refuge of inclusiveness and wonderful disorder. Fabulously chaotic, individual, gorgeous personality and full of life: this is how we should celebrate queerness and Goblincore.

Goblincore: Chaotic, Dirty and Fabulous

It's probably fair to say that Goblincore is more chaotic and less serene than Cottagecore. It is realer about the harshness of nature. It thrives on decay and in that sense takes on a rather spooky feel. This is an aesthetic that is more akin to the forces of Halloween than Spring or Summer prettiness. Think decaying skulls, bones and other animal remains that in time are consumed back into the earth to continue the cycle of life. This is Nature and its most beautiful.

Let's Collect Shinies

Goblincore is also about collecting small objects, especially shiny ones. Like a squirrel might collect and hide its winter food, followers of Goblincore might collect and share interesting buttons, pendants and shells. These are referred to as shinies. Scavenged trinkets that remind us of specific places with deep memories are so much more important than the trappings of traditional Capitalism.

I've previously talked about the problematic nature of Cottagecore being considered sometimes as elitist. With Goblincore, every aspect is accessible. Anybody can go outside and search for it. Slugs, snails, worms and slime and all the considered ugliness of Nature can be celebrated for free.

Is Goblincore Anti-Semitic?

Goblincore does have its detractors, however. It is considered by some to be anti-Semitic, referencing horrific Nazi propaganda comparisons of goblins to Jews. Consider the works of Tolkien and you might see some evidence of this. Whilst I think we have to be mindful about this potential, it is important to view the main focus of Goblincore as an innocent return to the realness of Nature and an appreciation of the traditionally unloved. I think there is nothing cuter than an ugly mushroom, especially a grumpy one.  

Goblincore Mushroom Birthday T-Shirt 1996

Goblincore as a Celebration of Life and all its Realness

Goblincore allows us to be individuals, at one with nature and away from the rigours of Capitalism. We can celebrate the cycle of Nature in all its aspects: from beauty to decay and then back to beauty. We embrace the feral, the un-presentable and the random directions it takes us in. We hoard our memories as little rocks, animal bones and trinkets in the caves we have created during Lockdown in our one bedroom flats. We love the unloved creatures that roam beneath the heathers and stones where other people might have passed by. We want to be part of Nature's community and enjoy our mystery and spookiness as a part of this. Inclusive, non-binary and chaotic, we are the real version of Cottagecore.

Goblincore frog t-shirt by BillingtonPix


Cottagecore Goblincore

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