8 February 2018
Author: Daniela Walker
Both the idea of Lady Doritos and feminist gin are irksome because they’re both unnecessary and feed into a society that continues to segment women based on sexist presumptions. PepsiCo admits that while it is not necessarily launching explicitly female crisps, it is exploring avenues that will engage consumers in new ways. Does this mean a less crunchy, dusty crisp? One that just happens to appeal to the fairer sex?
From PepsiCo’s point of view, it is merely meeting a consumer demand – its focus groups revealed that women don’t like to be seen eating loudly in public. But this isn’t inherent to being a woman, it is a learned behaviour based on social norms. It follows that 2014 viral story about the Facebook group Women Who Eat On Tubes, where users submitted images of women in various stages of eating in transit. The comment threads were filled with shaming. Women may want a less crunchy crisp, but only because society tells them it is not okay to make noise when eating, that a woman of a certain level of decorum must eat in a delicate and subtle manner.
Of course, there are products that are made for women and women alone. But brands, when beginning product development, need to consider whether they are addressing the needs of women or whether they are upholding outdated assumptions that need dismantling. Rather than working on a Dorito pack that fits in a purse, PepsiCo should celebrate its crisp-eating, finger-licking customer, whoever she may be.