Dr. Jenna Drenten Image: Loyola University of Chicago, Quinlan School of Business
Don’t worry, while the economy is in the toilet, WWIII creeps closer and banks are failing, Loyola University of Chicago associate professor of marketing, Dr. Jenna Drenten, is digging deep into what really matters. Your organized panty is classist, racist and sexist.
Social media platforms like TikTok and Pinterest are filled with examples of stylized pantries with coordinating jars, baskets and labels. In a chaotic world, many find solace in controlling at least a part of their world and prettifying life.
Image: Screenshot @RaniaAtris95/TikTok
Image: Screenshot @lifewithdaniielle/TikTok
Drenten, however, sees a sinister motivation behind the trend.
If you ditched cereal boxes for uniform glass containers and opted for Plexiglas storage bins in your fridge, you may be engaging in classist, racist and sexist behaviors, one Chicago professor contends.
Dr. Jenna Drenten, an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University, argued Tuesday that the recent obsession with organizing kitchen and pantry spaces — a TikTok trend she dubbed “pantry porn” — is pushing societal standards that the average American cannot keep up with while tricking consumers into spending more money.
The “new minimalism” approach is just a thinly veiled excuse to entice people to buy more items — containers, labels and storage space — that give off the decluttered appearance of simple living, Drenten wrote for the Conversation.
“Storing spices in coordinated glass jars and color-coordinating dozens of sprinkles containers may seem trivial. But tidiness is tangled up with status, and messiness is loaded with assumptions about personal responsibility and respectability,” the professor stated.
“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.
Drenten writes, “What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures. 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.”