By now you may have heard thatt PepsiCo is working on a product deemed “Lady Doritos.” I know what you’re thinking: “Finally! Doritos I can fit in my lady-like mouth that I’m supposed to keep shut at all times! And all this time I’ve been eating Doritos for men?”
The female CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, revealed in a podcast interview that after conducting market research, the company was designing snacks specifically for the way women like to consume them. According to the CEO, these Doritos would have less of a crunch, less sticky flavor dust because “[women] don’t like to crunch too loudly in public ... they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.” Oh, and don’t worry – they’ll also fit in your purse!
I’ll admit, I myself am a self-conscious eater in public. I don’t like to crunch too loud or lick the Dorito dust off my fingers. Mostly this is because I’m not an animal. I also think that this difference in the way women and men consume Doritos is deeply rooted in gender roles, because as women, we are conditioned to believe we should always be dainty and polite. Well PepsiCo, I will stick to my Cool Ranch Man Doritos, and not just because they’d cost less.
The concept of Lady Doritos has faced a lot of backlash online, and since the company has announced they are no longer making the product. Many were quick to point out that women would rather have equal pay than our own Doritos, and that this is not what we march for. As Ellen DeGeneres said perfectly, “Women weren’t wronged by a Dorito, they were wronged by a giant orange Cheeto.”
Some may not see the connection here; PepsiCo can’t magically give all women equal pay. What is clear to me though is that Lady Doritos is a prime example of how far we’ve yet to come. In this case, PepsiCo is preying on our differences and exploiting them by using them as a selling point. Sadly, they are one of many.
BIC currently sells a “BIC For Her” pack of pens. They’re pink and purple and meant to fit a woman’s hand and they cost twice as much. Gillette, among other companies, sell different razors for men and women; often times the only difference is the color – and of course, the price.
The idea that a company still sees fit to unnecessarily separate a product by gender is insulting to both men and women. To charge women more for it? Disgusting. Yet we let them get away with it.
While not many people were jumping at the opportunity to buy Lady Doritos, we are constantly supporting companies that separate products by gender for no other reason than to make more money. It’s no wonder PepsiCo thought Lady Doritos would be a great idea.
As someone with experience in children’s retail, it is easy to see how we allow companies to condition us to buy things in terms of gender. I could not count the number of times a parent has held up a pair of plain white socks and asked me, “Are these for boys or girls?”
This gender separation is not only damaging to children and their growth but to everyone. Unfortunately, women get the short end of the stick. We get charged more for less. Any woman who has tried a men’s razor, or shopped for T-shirts in the men’s section can tell you so. On top of that, the amount of gender separation in retail allows for a greater disconnection between men and women, which manifests into gender roles and perpetuates the idea that men are superior. For example, thinking that women can’t handle a little cheese dust, or that we’re too fragile to crunch a chip.
We can no longer allow a company to believe we will stand for an unnecessary gender separation. It may not be equal pay, it may not be the right to an abortion or a female president – but until then, let companies that try to pull something like this know, you carry a chip on your shoulder.
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