What’s up my sexy blog readers <3 You know how YouTubers have names for the online communities they’ve built… I guess pop stars have this too and now that I’m typing it out I am in no way trying to compare myself to an international pop sensation BUT how cute would it be if I had a little greeting at the top of each post? Maybe I’ll wait until I’ve been consistently using this thing for more than two months. Kind of jumping ahead here! So far, it has been fun to flesh out some of my thoughts around the work that I’ve been making and what I’ve been observing as a girl online. In today’s post, I’m making sense of a direction my interests and work have gone in, which will hopefully culminate in a new piece at the end of the month. I’m writing this down to hold myself to it!
I’ve been noticing a lot more kitchen content online in the past few years. It could be an Architectural Digest home tour, a shot of an espresso pull in a morning routine or one of those aesthetically pleasing TikTok salad recipes I always save but never end up making. Given that the pandemic forced everyone inside, it makes sense that there has been a turn to our domestic spaces as backdrop for online content.
Historically speaking, my work has centered mostly around the bedroom and its relationship to being broadcast online. I’ve never focused too much on the other rooms of the house. This could be because the bedroom was the only room I had to myself up until recently, when I started living alone for the first time. I’ve never had a studio, and have always worked out of my room, so having a whole apartment to myself as both a studio and living space has extended my reach both practically and artistically.
Unlike the bedroom, which feels malleable and open to transformation, the kitchen feels fixed. The hardware, appliances, and cabinetry all determine the look and feel of a kitchen. They require much more effort and money to change, as opposed to picking out a new duvet cover and hanging up some art on the walls for a quick bedroom refresh. The kitchen you get when you move in is the kitchen you’ll be working with unless you’re seriously into DIY projects or own your home. That being said, everyone seems to have the same kitchen online: all-white cabinets, huge islands, new stainless steel appliances. It’s rare that I see an outdated kitchen, with linoleum flooring, a white fridge, and those very 90s white oak kitchen cabinets.
Back in early 2020, I made a piece in the style of YouTube home tours titled HOUSE TOUR! | My First Home! **FINALLY**. In it, I walk the viewer through my house, which was created using a virtual design program called Planner5D. My intention was to create a home reflective of interior design trends I had been seeing online: houseplants; grey furniture; neutral abstract art that could be hung in an office building or hotel lobby; all-white kitchens. Like fashion, interior design trends come and go, but the pace at which they cycle in and out has seemed to pick up the more that sharing domestic spaces online becomes commonplace. This leaves us with the rise in “fast furniture,” cheaply made, trendy furniture (Wayfair, Urban Outfitters) that probably won’t be coming with you to your next apartment.
There’s something that feels very stock image about these interiors. The all-white kitchen in the TikTok salad recipe is fully interchangeable with the all-white kitchen in the morning routine video. Even the details are the same, down to the $200 white Smeg toaster and the Breville espresso machine. I’ve been hearing that the all-white kitchen is on its way out, but something equally repetitive will come to replace it.
The kitchen is the locus of a lot of household anxiety. If you’re using it as intended (to cook), it requires the most daily maintenance: doing dishes, wiping surfaces down, taking out the trash. It’s a major source of conflict between roommates and a space that is more susceptible to pests. I recently watched an informal house tour posted by TikTok it girl Alix Earle. In it she reveals that she gets a lot of cockroaches in her kitchen-she even has a little birdhouse set up for them on the floor lovingly called “casa cucaracha.” What can I say? Messy girls are trending.
Not only is the kitchen a source of mess (food mess is not nearly as cute as some piles of clothing on the floor and a bathroom counter cluttered with beauty products) but it also houses our complicated relationships to food and its consumption. If the appliances and fixtures in our kitchen signal something to whoever is watching, so do the foods we eat. I make a green smoothie and some overnight oats and I’m suddenly a different person. Online, when I look at photos of women with food, it’s either a conventionally attractive woman with a big bowl of pasta or slice of pizza, signaling that she’s cool and sexy and chill, or a woman drinking a green juice, signaling that she cares about her health and probably has her shit together. Either you’re a hot girl drinking juice or a hot girl eating junk food, there’s no in between. I’m not really seeing pictures of girls eating tuna sandwiches and like… Raisin Bran.
Okay, so I don’t have an aesthetically pleasing kitchen and I’m not a hot girl drinking juice… What can I do to quell my kitchen anxiety? I have to organize my fridge. Even the interiors of our refrigerators are subject to the whims of online aesthetics. This probably partially has to do with the rise of home organization content, such as Netflix’s Get Organized with The Home Edit, which likely peaked at the height of the pandemic. I’m still inundated with fridge restock, meal prep, and organization content. To be fair, the only people showing the insides of their refrigerators-something no one ever has to see-are people who have something to be proud of. How long until we get “realistic” fridge tours? I get the appeal of wanting to manage something within a space that feels completely unmanageable. The fridge becomes a little snow globe with its glass containers of vegetables and probiotic sodas all in a line.
My kitchen obsession has really taken hold since my recent move. I’ve barely made anything in my bedroom in these last 6 months. For now, I’m just a girl standing in front of the oven, asking it to be an air fryer.