A memo to all companies: marketing your product in an unnecessarily gendered way is a surefire way to piss off the entire Internet. This has happened more times than I could possibly detail here, but for just a few examples, consider the Bic “For Her” pens. Or the Honda Fit “She“–a pink car just for women. There’s even a women’s only beef jerky!
And now, we can add another item to this depressingly long list: Doritos.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi went on the Freakonomics podcast recently to talk about the ways she’s trying to change her company’s image. Traditionally, Doritos have been more popular among men than women, Nooyi said, and it’s all because men and women eat chips differently.
According Nooyi, when men eat Doritos, they “lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom.”
Whereas women, Nooyi said, have been socialized not to enjoy chips that way.
“Women would love to do the same, but they don’t. They 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.”
Makes sense! Maybe this is why every time I’ve offered a woman some Doritos, she proceeded to such each chip like it was a Werther’s Original. I thought it was a bit weird, but I was definitely thankful for the peace and quiet!
So, what would “Ladies Only” Doritos look like? They’ll be quieter, engineered not to make a crunchy sound when you bite them. They won’t rub off on your fingers. And finally, they’ll come in bags that “fit in a purse.”
No, I don’t know what any of that means either.
But perhaps the dumbest thing about this Doritos for women idea is that Pepsico is literally removing the main feature that makes chips so good. In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, experimental psychologist Charles Spence reported that the more crunchy a chip, the more people like it. Sorry, ladies!
Not surprisingly, the people of Twitter had a lot to say about these new look Doritos. There was a LOT of sarcasm.
Hi @Doritos what about a crunch-free version of the bones of my enemies?
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) February 5, 2018
Broke up with my girlfriend last night. Everything was perfect and I loved her very much but I couldn’t stand how she ate Doritos. Ah well, I guess I’ll see what’s in the news…
— Kevin Seccia (@kevinseccia) February 5, 2018
instead of crunching noise the new Lady Doritos just say “sorry” quietly every time you bite down
— ariel (@arielgitlin) February 5, 2018
Some questioned how in the hell this ever happened in the first place.
I want to read every study, every poll, every analytic, every single email sent internally at Doritos about this new “lady chip.” Fascinating and absolutely insane that they thought it was a good idea.
— Payman Benz (@PaymanBenz) February 5, 2018
Another pointed out how life is full of “eating rules” for women only–and suggested what to do instead.
So, to all girls growing up into women: to hell with them. Crunch your chips, lick the sauce off your fingers, chomp your food, take delight in what you eat. They made up the rules for you as they went anyway, you can do the same.
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) February 4, 2018
So far, Doritos hasn’t responded to the outrage, so it seems we’ll be seeing Lady Doritos on our store shelves some time in the near future.
Look, I get it. Companies are always going to try to market to specific demographics. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, and this one definitely falls on the “wrong” side.
But hey, there’s at least one person at Doritos who’s having a pretty good day right now: the dude who came up with the Doritos Locos Taco. Because that’s now the second most embarrassing thing the company has done.