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.
What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures.
She warns others not to fall for “pantry porn”:
Magazines like Good Housekeeping were once the brokers of idealized domestic work. Now online pantry porn sets the aspirational standard for becoming an ideal mom, ideal wife and ideal woman. This grew out of a shift toward an intensive mothering ideology that equates being a good mom with time-intensive, labor-intensive, financially expensive care work.
Pantry maintenance is a new area of racism and sexism for Professor Drenten. Before she went after domestic Bull Connors, she blew the whistle on video gaming with papers on “Video Gaming as a Gendered Pursuit” and “More Gamer, Less Girl: Gendered Boundaries, Tokenism, and the Cultural Persistence of Masculine Dominance.”