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So Doritos is planning on making a special kind of chip for women, because “[Women] don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously, and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.” This was part of an interview that the global chief of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, gave on one of my favorite podcasts, Freakonomics (you can read a transcript of the episode here). Obviously she’s never seen me eat Doritos. Or anything.
She also mentioned that men tend to lick their fingers “with glee” in public, and that they pour the little crumbs at the bottom of the bag into their mouths. She suggested that a package redesign might be necessary so that women can put Doritos in their purses.
When I first read about this I had so many thoughts: Wow, that’s sexist. But, wait, would I even carry a purse if snacks didn’t exist? And where do men carry their snacks? And why can’t I put a bag of Doritos in my purse now? Have I been carrying snacks wrong this whole time?? And I also love to lick Doritos dust off of my fingers, and I don’t give a shit if I’m in public. Unless I’m in a really nice place, and then chances are I’m not eating Doritos out of a tiny bag. And everyone who has ever eaten with me knows that I will do whatever it takes to get every last tiny crumb out of whatever package I’m eating from. Is that not ladylike? Did I not get the memo? And who the hell cares how loud I’m crunching? Are men turned off by crunching or something? Where is the handbook for this!
I was going to write an angry letter to PepsiCo but I couldn’t find my Bic for Her pen, so I decided to write a blog post instead.
I’m guessing that there have already been some super awesome funny pieces about this. I would have written sooner but, no joke, I was too busy scarfing down Super Bowl leftovers like it was my freaking job while doing today’s actual job, writing a review for a tech website while trying not to pass out from my own smell since I haven’t showered yet. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t really land on the ladylike part of the Gender Stereotype Spectrum. A whole lot of people don’t.
So while I could go into a rant about gender norms and equality, I’m just going to say this: all of the relevant info about the new products could have been mentioned without turning it into a gender battle of “Men eat this way, and women eat this way.” Because they don’t, and we don’t. Are there women who would appreciate not having to dig Doritos dust from under their nails? Probably. Are there guys who would also like this? Probably. Are there women who don’t feel comfortable crunching in public? Unless “public” means the opera or the library, I think that one’s pretty suspect. And are there some women who don’t like to put Doritos in their purses because they get crushed or something? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell those people a crush-proof Swarovski-encrusted snack bag protector? Wait, I’m doing it too! Make sure there’s a model available in camo print.
Unless Ms. Nooyi had some hard evidence about gender preferences that was so overwhelming the internet couldn’t mock it to pieces, gender should have been left out of it. Besides, why alienate half of the buying public? Why make a product that out of the gate is aimed at only half of the world, unless it’s for, like, tampons?
Toy companies are finally starting to realize that they don’t need to divide their products up into “girl” and “boy” toys. Hopefully, snack companies won’t feel the need to start.