Comfort Culture: Why and What To Embrace

comfort culture
All comfort culture. Picture by my amazing Mariet Mons

A little while ago I had a wonderful interview for Elle, about feel good moments and feel good activities. Reading your favorite book, dancing to a song from your teenage years, watching cute cat videos, curling up with pizza and some of your favorite movies.

The journalist (who was lovely and patient with my ramblings) asked my take on it and I got very excited. I love feel good, and I am of the strong opinion that the intake of -what I like to call- comfort culture is soothing, invigorating and well…comforting healthy behaviour that we should all embrace.

The term first came to me as I was watching Brooklyn Nine Nine for the millionth time, just like I had watched the Office, Parks & Rec and New Girl for the millionth time. Just like how I sometimes rewatch old Disney movies, like how I reread Harry Potter every year and how it doesn’t matter how many times you show me the Vine of that little girl that says “look at all these chickens”…I will never not like it. I will always enjoy it.

And not just that, there are days where I cannot be bothered to start watching something new, start reading something new; something that I have to think about or have to feel suspense with as I watch.

Sometimes I just want to eat my favorite food and laugh at jokes I’ve heard before but still think are delightful, like “SUCH A NORMAL TIME” which Amy blurts out after she and Jake kiss in episode 20 of season 3.

Comfort culture: media like books, tv shows, songs and movies that you always love and that give you an easy, warm feeling when you consume them.

Although it doesn’t take a genius to apply the idea of ‘comfort food’, rich and warm food that comforts you, to what type of media content we consume, the term isn’t widely known.

The term ‘comfort culture’ has been coined by Jonathan Freedland, a British journalist in 2007, who wrote about comfort culture that the Brits wanted easy reality tv shows with their Shepherds Pies for dinner.

To which I say, same, Brits.

The New York times did make an entry about it, but other than that the term doesn’t seem to have much traction, it doesn’t really pop up anywhere in the way I think about it.

But I really believe pop culture, comfort culture, can be immensely soothing, inspiring and comforting. It is another weapon to wield in the war against apathy and boredom , another stuffed animal to clutch onto in this scary, complicated world.

And that is important. That is a part of self care that should not be overlooked.

So, I’d like to share my absolute top items in my Comfort Culture Cabinet.

  • My Dad Wrote A Porno: I can listen to this podcast on loop and I listen to the Christmas specials every single December. The joy of badly written erotica and friends.
  • How Did This Get Made, but only the episodes about The Meg and Hobbs & Shawe. Nicole Byer and Adam Scott are there and it’s just SO funny to share their confusion and delight over these insane movies.
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: NOW AND FOREVER.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Haven’t seen a single second of the Dutch version of this, but GBBO always cheers me up
  • Bob’s Burgers: Wholesome and hilarious. Plus, I’m studying Linda so I know who I’ll probably turn into in my fifties. Okay, forties.


  • Godzilla: King of Monsters. Seen it 6 times now. No regrets.
  • Mean Girls: This cultural reset. You go, Glen Coco.
  • Jurrasic World. The first one, not the trash of a sequel.
  • Everything by Sarah J Maas. I’ve mostly reread the Court-series, but this year I’m also re-reading the Thrown of Glass series. It is wonderful to go back into that fantasy world.
  • Penryn and the End of the World Series. Even though these Young Adult books edge into horror from time to time, they are so easy and captivating. I wrote about them in 2017, and still read them every year.
  • The Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series: So easy to read, it’s like playing a computer adventure game.
  • East Atlanta Love Letter and Free by 6lack.
  • Lemonade by Beyonce
  • 1989 by Taylor Swift
  • Don’t Starve: an intense survival game in a Tim Burton-y kinda world. You can play in there for HOURS – provided you don’t die.
  • Banished: You’re banished and have to build a town in the middle of nowhere.
  • The Sims: This needs no explanation. Every once in a while I play for hours on end, just because I can.

I encourage all of you to indulge in your favourite movies, music, shows and pastimes, to just enjoy all these wonderful things the entertainment industry has to offer.

To be fully emerged in a story, a song, a different world, in something funny, helps you disconnect from stress and problems and just relax for a bit. So give yourself that gift.

And give ME that gift: I’m dying to know what movies, books and albums you would consider your comfort culture.

Please let me know in the comments, so I can add them to my world as well!

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