The recent trend on social media to display pantries that are spacious, bright, clean and perfectly organized has its roots in racist, classist and sexist social structures, according to a Chicago professor.
Associate professor of marketing Jenna Drenten said she took note of a recent rise in what she called “pantry porn,” when women show off their fully stocked housewares closets in methodical style.
In particular, Drenten singles out celebrity ultra-influencers like the Kardashians for proliferating the trend while showing off their immaculate warehouses to millions of followers.
The Kardashians, however, simply reinforce design elements, according to Drenten, that have long been intertwined with status.
While beautiful, clean, and well-ventilated kitchens and homes have long been associated with wealth and status, dirty, unkempt kitchens and homes have indicated that their owners are not responsible enough and do not have the means to care for them.
In addition, women, it is implied, will be the ones to run the elaborate pantries and things that are cooked with their bounty of ingredients, tying them, in a way modern women may reject, to the domestic realm.
Marketing professor Dr. Jenna Drenten of Loyala University Chicago, alleged that the “pantry porn” social media trend has roots in racism, classicism and sexism.
A shot of Khloe Kardashian’s ‘porn pantry’ home setup. The KUWTK star is known to be an organizational fiend and her cooking style aligns with that value.
drenten argues that order is intertwined with status to the extent that disorder is and is associated with an individual’s ability to be responsible and maintain a respectable home.
“Historically, cleanliness has been used as a cultural control mechanism to reinforce status distinctions based on a vague understanding of ‘goodness’: nice people, with nice gardens, in nice houses, create nice neighborhoods,” he wrote.
‘What lies beneath the surface of this anti-clutter, pro-kindness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures.’
Citing his research, Drenten claimed that viral videos of beautiful pantries complete with symmetrically placed and labeled bins of dry goods and ingredients function as new “status symbols” for what it looks like to keep a “nice” and well-kept home.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, pantry porn found its footing during the COVID-19 pandemic, when supply chain shortages increased. Keeping things close at hand became a symbol of resilience for those who had the money and space to do so,” she wrote.
Drenten also claimed that ‘pantry porn’ standards set societal expectations for ideal wives and mothers.
“Pantry pornography, as a status symbol, is based on the promise of facilitating daily housework. But if women are largely responsible for the work required to keep the pantry perfectly organized, it is essential to ask: easier for whom? she added.
According to Drenten, 85 percent of new homes built in the United States that are 3,500 square feet or larger feature a pantry, which is consistently listed as the most desirable kitchen feature for new homebuyers.
Drenten is an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.
He is a specialist in digital consumer culture, including ‘how digital technologies and social media platforms (eg TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter) present new opportunities for consumers to express their identities and navigate life transitions’.
Kim Kardashian’s ode to the ‘pantry porn’ genre features meticulously stacked snacks for her four young children, which are arranged right down to the way the cookies are placed in the jars.
Kim’s refrigerator offers many healthy options, including fruits and vegetables, which her kitchen staff prepare for her family each day.
A fuller shot of Khloe’s pantry shows that every jar of pasta or whatever else is labeled in a simple white font that makes it easy for the mega-celebrity darling from reality to find what she needs.
The bright, minimalist pantry stocks everything from snacks to canned goods, ziplocs, dishes, and other household items and appliances, all in the most stylish way possible.
Khloe and Kim Kardashian have impressive porn pantry cabinets of their own
Whether or not the modern luxury kitchen and pantry is grounded in a history of sexism, racism, and classicism, it’s easy to understand the pantry envy some may have for the well-stocked cabinets and shelves of the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
Members of the media-friendly family frequently post their immaculate food storage rooms on their social media accounts for followers to drool over and get inspired.
Khloe Kardashian, in particular, has shared with her followers over the years her knack for hyper-organization when it comes to the depths of her kitchen.
Each shelf is filled, but not overly filled, with precisely placed food containers, including canned and boxed dry staples, snacks, sauces, dressings, and condiments.
Khloe’s pantry organization was designed and executed by The Home Edit, who worked closely with Khloe’s team to create a custom aesthetic.