At a groundbreaking time in history when women all over the world are being encouraged to be louder, PepsiCo’s Doritos are making chips to keep them quieter.
According to an article by TIME, Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, told Freakonomics Radio that the company is creating a chip that’s made exclusively for women.
The idea for women’s Doritos materialized because, according to Nooyi, 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.”
Furthermore, the new women’s chip bags will be designed to fit better into purses because “women love to carry a snack in their purse”, according to Nooyi.
In a backwards effort to try and include more women to snack, PepsiCo has ultimately ostracized their target audience. Nooyi’s backhandedly sexist comments have left a bad taste in the mouths of women, and they’ve taken to social media to express their confusion and bewilderment.
Of course, Doritos has tried to smooth over the controversy with their weak tweet below:
However, it’s important to note that Nooyi’s Dorito comments aren’t the first time the powerful business woman has acted contentiously or made remarks that reek of sexism.
In April 2017, Pepsi’s highly controversial ad starring Kendall Jenner was pulled after backlash on social media. The ad, which showed Jenner handing a police officer a can of Pepsi to create peace and unity, was accused of appropriating and trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement all at once, and was regarded as tone-deaf.
Nooyi came under fire again in August 2017 when she did not step down from President Trump’s business advisory council after his nonchalant stance after white supremacist violence in Virginia. The public was left stunned by Nooyi’s choice to not immediately leave her position on the advisory council, especially because Pepsi has a long standing public portrayal of supposed unification and diversity. It was even more curious considering Trump himself has had his fair share of sexist controversies that have gone public.
Furthermore, in an interview with Fortune from September 2017, Nooyi made the following comment when asked about what advice she’d give women who were entering the workforce today:
For women, know your journey is going to be tougher because you have so many other priorities to worry about. Today people would argue that men have the same priorities. Yes, but women were born with an extra gene that makes us worry about those things just a little bit more. I don’t know why—societal or genetic—but we worry about the family, the husband, evening’s dinner, yesterday morning’s breakfast, aging parents.
Whether or not the issues she notes are legitimate worries isn’t the point. The issue is that Nooyi seems to already have a predisposed notion that women aren’t equal with men and need to worry about household problems more than them.
Women are capable of prioritizing their professional work, just like how men are equally capable of worrying about their family and home life as well. It’s difficult to see how different her statement is compared to the popular sexist belief that “women are too hysterical or emotional.” And additionally, if it is a societal issue, isn’t that what we’re trying to tackle at this very moment in history?
At the end of the day, food is food, and it’s made for anybody and everybody. How a female CEO of a worldwide, billion dollar company thought it would be ok to market gendered chips is beyond concerning, and it really makes us wonder what other ludicrous ideas brands will come up with to separate men and women in the future.