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Each year, the internet seems to focus on a specific animal to obsess over. 2013’s “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say),” and 2009’s screaming goat edits are enough proof of this. 

From what I have seen, I have no doubt in my mind that this year’s spirit animal has been the frog. My Instagram explore page is filled with frog edits, frog memes, and even frog-themed fashion and decor. 

I was stuck on frog TikTok for months, and to this day, I still have similar videos popping up on my feed.

 

At first, I wondered, “Why are frogs, out of all animals, the latest animal craze? Why are people doting on slimy amphibians while there are so many cute and fluffy animals in the world?” 

As I started to take into consideration how this year has truly been unlike any other, it began to make more sense why this year’s animal seemed to stray from the norm as well. 

I did not realize it yet, but there was also another factor at play: the rise of cottagecore.

 

Among 2020’s most popular trends have undeniably been the cottage/goblincore and academia aesthetics. It makes sense, too -- with “Pride and Prejudice” being available on Netflix, and everyone being stuck in their homes, it is not shocking that people are longing for a more elegant, fairytale-esque environment to distract themselves with.

We all want to get out and see the world, and since we cannot, we may as well resort to enveloping ourselves in the dream worlds that we grew up reading about in storybooks.

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The fact that cottagecore has grown so popular makes the current frog craze even more understandable. The entire aesthetic revolves around nature and its inhabitants, like amanita mushrooms, ferns, ladybugs and frogs. 

Besides just frogs, I have also seen other types of cottagecore animals gain popularity, like opossums for instance. While they have not lived up to the magnitude that is “frog culture,” they have still gotten attention in various memes and cute videos. 

 

This newfound appreciation for animals such as frogs and opossums defies almost all stigmas prior to this year.

Growing up, frogs were rumored to give people warts if they were touched (which, might I add, is far from the truth; warts are only transmitted from human contact). Similarly, opossums were thought to be aggressive, despite the fact that they only hiss when they are afraid. It is heartwarming to see once-bullied critters get the love they deserve.

Part of me wishes that the frog trend will not end up being just another fad. I have grown to really appreciate frogs and see them more as cute, chill, little guys rather than the stinky, lumpy, gremlins that I was taught about in my childhood. 

 

I am sure that this fresh love for frogs will stick with Gen Z for at least a little while longer, as from now on we will associate them with 2020, and the hard work and determination that we put in to get through this difficult year. 

At the end of the day, whether you jive with frogs or not, it is humanly impossible to watch one hop around and not feel a rush of serotonin. The majority of the internet can back me up on this.

Ava Kidd is a sophomore in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at PSU. She is double majoring in Public Relations and German. On weekends, you can find her either volunteering at the local cat rescue or solving sudoku puzzles!
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