When I first read this, I really thought this was a parody piece, maybe one penned for the Onion. Then, I read it again, looking for any comedic loopholes where I can deny such an event. It wasn’t until after ensuring the post’s validity and fact checking the mess, I surrendered to the bewildering truth: people lie.
In this case, it wasn’t as much of a lie as it was people saying the wrong things.
During an interview, a reporter asked Nooyi, PepsiCo’s CEO (and one of the 27 women leading Fortune 500 companies), about whether they have plans to develop “male and female chips.”* This question alone is odd to venture, but I see it as an attempt to destabilize the natural turn of the conversation (if you read the article, Nooyi was already talking about how men and women eat chips).
Here’s an excerpt of what Nooyi says about marketing chips to women:
“For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse”
These words are troublesome.
For one, why would anyone think that women need “low-crunch” chips?
This echoes an assumption that women should be seen and not heard. “Low-crunch” as its own criterion for chip construction is already nonsensical, but pairing that with the intent of marketing it to women is disturbing. Nooyi clarifies saying that it’s a way to market chips to different people, but it’s more of a capitalizing on traditional stereotypes that unfairly divide men and women.
Also, are low-crunch chips still chips?
As for the “full taste profile” and “not have so much flavour stick,” these are harmless enough on their own, but catered toward a particular ‘sex’ or ‘gender’ makes it worrisome. Truthfully, I don’t understand what Nooyi means by full taste profile; do men not taste things like women, like how more men are colour blind? I don’t know. Skipping those gimmicky words, and on to the “flavour stick on the fingers,” which shouldn’t be a factor marketed to only women. Anyone can be tidy and this tidiness should not be expected of women alone. Or shouldn’t be expected at all when eating junk.
Regarding the “put it in the purse” part, men have purses too.
Actually, who is going to put a chip bag in a purse? The chip bag is already a purse. Just add straps to your chip bags and you strike it big among all those burdened by their bags.
Though Doritos covered up the kerfuffle by tweeting that Doritos are for all people and that there is no plan to make chips exclusively for the female consumer, I do find Nooyi’s words risky, or in the very least, lacking insight.
Doritos, and PepsiCo in general, should spend more time making their products healthier and economical for the average consumer. Maybe spend more time on reducing the unnecessary ingredients in the products? Also, if you want to improve the packaging, perhaps fill the chip bags with chips instead of air. I remember a time when the chip bags were almost filled with chips. The chips were fine.
Until I ate them.
*Note: Women, men and female, male are words that describe different things (i.e. sex and gender). To keep it consistent with the interview, here those words are used interchangeably because that is how they are used in the interview and it is unclear when or if they consider the separation. Thanks.