The dark side of ladylike chips

by Feb 8, 2018

Women are apparently in need of their own ladylike chips

The notion of ladylike chips produced the usual social media dry wit. But there is a darker side about women and food around how women should behave.

There was a hilarious social media reaction to Indra Nooyi’s suggestion that women feel inhibited from eating Doritos in public and Pepsico’s intention to look into creating ladylike chips. Comments suggesting that the packaging would be pink and they could cost more because women’s products always carry that unexplained “pink tax” were highly amusing.

Ladylike chips

The source of these quotes is a podcast from Freakonomics called The Secret Life of CEOs where PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was interviewed:

As you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and 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.

Women I think 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. [We ask:] ‘Are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’ And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon. 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?

As others also said on social media #MeToo and #TimesUp movements campaigned hard for equal pay and for women not to be sexually harassed and raped. Brands offer….. ladylike chips. Because that’s what we really need, right? Gender appropriate snacks.

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The dark side of ladylike chips

But this is about more than that. It reveals a darker side. Gender appropriate snacks, suggest gender appropriate behaviour. Women are not supposed to be seen eating in public because they are not supposed to eat. Women have to aspire to be beautiful and to be beautiful they have to be thin. Generally people can’t be thin if they eat. Women especially don’t want to be seen or heard eating high cal, unhealthy snacks in public. If they do, they feel they need to be discreet.  Heaven forbid they make a crunching noise. A woman upending her Doritos bag (male style) and licking her fingers, would be disregarding gender expectations about how women should behave and therefore be.

In 2014 a Facebook page was set up inviting people to post photos of women eating on the London Tube. This was a shaming and invasive stunt and a form of cyber bullying which is apparently not illegal. Those photos are still visible on the internet.

Women can’t be heard

But more than that, women have to be quiet. In fact there is a general preference for women to be quiet… pretty much everywhere. When they do make a noise, they are praised for finding their voice and being courageous.  Does it now require courage to eat Doritos in public?

The issue should be not to create ladylike chips, but to change the perceptions around women and food. But above all how women perceive themselves.

Don’t let the world get you down for being a woman. Find the strength to stand up for yourself with 3Plus’ online workshop on Building your Confidence.

If you feel passionate about gender balance and topical issues impacting women in the workplace 3Plus would be delighted to publish your work. Don't wait - send it in

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