Companies shouldn’t promote gender division

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Where would women be without slender Bic pens plastered in pink, designed especially for our delicate hands?

Women obviously can’t handle the effort it takes to write with Bic’s regular black pens, right?

Bic was also criticized in 2015 for its advertisement launched on Women’s Day, encouraging female workers to “think like a man.”

Now, corporations are gendering snack foods.

Whether the backlash on the internet of PepsiCo’s “Lady Doritos” creation claims were based on a purely satirical interview or on an actual marketing pitch, there is no doubt it created another example of modern manufacturing further drawing lines between the genders.

More often than not, political and civic society reflect the prevailing gender power dynamics that have historically favored men and masculinity, even making women’s perspectives and experiences invisible.

In a recent episode of the Freakonomics Radio podcast, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi made comments on her observations and assumptions about the way different genders eat their Doritos products.

“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,” she said. “Women would love to do the same, but they don’t.”

Nooyi’s comments portray an uneducated sexist look at a product that definitely doesn’t need to be gendered. While the majority of the female population wants equal pay and safety from derogatory treatment in the workplace, these kinds of ideas take light away from the real issues at hand.

A spokesperson for the company commented on the Doritos made only for women. Proving men and women can enjoy their products. There is no need for specific accommodations.

“We already have Doritos for women — they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day. At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve and we’re always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Nooyi’s comments take a huge step backward in encouraging gender equality.

You cannot fix the problem by looking at the issues through the perspectives of just males or just females. corporation should be promoting the togetherness of males and females, not gender lines and gender stereotypes.

Wanting to gender something like Doritos continues to perpetuate the idea of women staying quiet, polite and filtering themselves in ways men have never had to. Why can’t we all eat however we please?
Men and women can both be strict on social etiquette, while others can not hold themselves to the same standard. There shouldn’t be a line crossed to stereotype the way people consume their food.

There’s historical precedent from past failures that companies can turn to for inspiration on how to manufacture to women’s preferences without enraging an entire gender and further dividing them.

Until the world realizes food doesn’t need gender lines and females can contribute to society without illogical accommodations, I will continue to sit on my couch while binge watching “Grey’s Anatomy” and enjoying my Doritos, licking my fingers with reckless abandon, pouring broken crumbs in my mouth and doing my homework with my “unfeminine” plain black Bic pen in hand.

Natalie Hilden is the Opinion Editor for The Collegian and can be reached at nhilden@sdsucollegian.com.

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