Crunch Time

06 February 2018 | Liz Bowen

ICYMI, today marks 100 years since the fight for women’s suffrage was won and (some) women in Britain were finally able to head to the ballot box. In the century since we were granted the vote, it’s fair to say much has changed.

But while leaps and bounds have continued to be made since then, with women gaining increasing power and independence thanks to something even as small as a contraceptive pill, the fight is not yet over.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have failed to hear the rallying cries of women all over the world fighting for gender equality and equal pay. Then of course there’s the fight in Hollywood, which is having far reaching consequences, as women come together to say #MeToo and Time’s Up.

Now, before I go any further, I feel I should just point out that I’m not about to start ranting about women’s rights and the injustice of it all. The above is there to provide some context about the huge leaps that have been made for and by women over the last 100 years and the fights that still rage on.

However, despite all of this, it would appear that PepsiCo, which owns that delicious tortilla crisp brand, Doritos, has decided that ‘women can’t cope with how noisy and messy they are to eat’. So, naturally, the brand is working on producing ‘lady-friendly’ bags of crisps. They’ll even come in handbag sized packets, #winning.

We can suffer the pain of childbirth and function happily in our day-to-day lives, carving out successful careers and/or building stable family environments, sometimes even while wearing heels – gaspbut a crisp apparently, is a stretch too far.

Having eaten crisps for many, many years, I don’t think anyone (male or female) is under the impression that their packet of crisps will contain soft, chewy delights. In fact, if they did, you’d complain, surely?

But no, according to PepsiCo’s global chief executive, Indra Nooyi, women don’t enjoy ‘crunching loudly or licking their fingers’ when in public. Men do, of course, and women would love to do the same but heavens, no! I know many, many people of both genders who don’t eat crisps and it’s got nothing to do with public pride or the texture.

Unsurprisingly the announcement has not gone down well on social media with many mocking the idea and highlighting it as a potential attempt to shame women who unabashedly enjoy a packet of Doritos in public (me, I do!).

The Women’s Equality Party has described the reasoning as a ‘tired gender stereotype’ and said that the brand could alienate a huge consumer group – i.e. women.

It’s not clear when the crisps will launch – to be fair, we’ll never really know as they can’t be branded as ‘ladies’ crisps’ thanks to strict rules by the ASA – but given the current furore, one can’t help thinking that Doritos and PepsiCo have jumped on a decidedly backwards bandwagon.