When responding to the trend, Jenna Drenten, a Loyola University Chicago marketing professor, declared the desire to be clean and organized as racist and sexist.
She offers a brief history of pantries, and recounts their move from hidden rooms to open status symbols over the centuries. She dubs the showing off of sleek, organized pantries as “pantry porn,” arguing that it stems from the early 2010s trend of “food porn.”
Drenten continues, positing that tidiness equals status and people who want the places where there food is stored to be clean are hopeless bigots.
“Storing spices in coordinated glass jars and color coordinating dozens of sprinkles containers may seem trivial,” she says.
“But tidiness is tangled up with status, and messiness is loaded with assumptions about personal responsibility and respectability,” she adds. “Cleanliness has historically been used as a cultural gatekeeping mechanism to reinforce status distinctions based on a vague understanding of ‘niceness’: nice people, with nice yards, in nice houses, make for nice neighborhoods.”
Simmering underneath what she calls the “anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance,” lies classist, racist and sexist tendencies.
“In my research, 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,” Drenten explains.