Loyola U. Prof: Neatly Organized Pantries Are Rooted in Racism, Sexism

Woman in pantry

A Loyola University professor is claiming that organized pantries are rooted in “racist and sexist social structures,” and that the new so-called “pantry porn” trend, in which people show off their “neatly aligned glass spice jars tagged with printed white labels” and “wicker baskets filled with packages of pasta, crackers and snacks,” has become a status symbol for white women.

Associate professor Jenna Drenten wrote an op-ed for the website, the Conversation, in which she reacted to what she calls “pantry porn,” a phenomenon where “obsessively organized kitchens” have become “a new status symbol” on social media.

“I’ve noticed an uptick in glamorized, stylized and fully stocked pantries on TikTok and Instagram, giving rise to a content genre I dub ‘pantry porn,'” Drenten wrote.

“What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures,” the professor added.

Drenten went on to say that “Influencers who produce pantry porn are predominantly white women who demonstrate what it looks like to maintain a ‘nice’ home by creating a new status symbol: the perfectly organized, fully stocked pantry.”

The professor also suggested that while minimalist concepts mean less is more, “the new minimalism means more is more, as long as the more is not messy.”

“Consumers don’t need less, they need more: more containers, more labels, more storage space,” she said.

Drenten also claimed that “pantry porn” sets “the aspirational standard for becoming an ideal mom, ideal wife and ideal woman.”

“Pantry porn, as a status symbol, relies on the promise of making daily domestic work easier. But if women are largely responsible for the work required to maintain the perfectly organized pantry, it’s critical to ask: easier for whom?” Drenten concluded.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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