It’s only February, and already the wheels of the online confected outrage cycle are well and truly turning. In an interview with Freakonomics Radio at the end of January, food giant PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi committed the cardinal sin of suggesting women and men are, in fact, different. According to Nooyi, PepsiCo’s market research indicated while women enjoy Doritos, they do not like the crunchy, dusty-fingered logistical inconvenience of eating them in public.
“Although women would like to crunch [chips] loudly, lick their fingers and pour crumbs from the bag into their mouth afterwards, they prefer not to do this in public,” Nooyi stated.
The potential (and seemingly innocent) solution for this female consumer dissatisfaction? Create a new, less crunchy version of Doritos, that would taste the same, but leave less orange residue on fingers. Nooyi also asserted this potential new product would be compact enough for women to carry them around in their handbags.
“For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavour stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse?” Nooyi continued.
To the average woman with zero political baggage, this sounds like a dream product. However, the feminasty caucus collectively exploded. Conveniently ignoring the fact Nooyi’s assertions were based on market research, PepsiCo was charged with sexism in the first degree. Not even Nooyi’s status as a female ‘person of colour’ (usually foolproof get-out-of-gaol-free cards) could save her from the rabid allegations of the erratic feminist left. This as-of-yet unconceived, allegedly “gendered” product was splattered all over the internet as a vast patriarchal conspiracy designed to keep women quiet; thus forcing them to take up less space in the public arena.
Everywhere you looked, feminist ringleaders and their cretinous followers were (quite literally) spitting with hysteria. Videos emerged of women chewing, crunching, and slurping down Doritos; trying to prove they could eat them (allegedly) like a man. They were enraged at the assertion that somehow, somewhere, there might exist women who don’t align with the feminist insistence that women are actually closeted men. My reaction, however, was one of delight.
As someone who prides herself on good table etiquette, I find overly crunchy, crumbly food abhorrent, and sticky fingers repugnant. When socialising, I like to make those around me feel comfortable, rather than causing others the discomfort of watching chip fragments cake themselves to the sides of my mouth. Maintaining standards while eating publicly isn’t capitulating to the so-called patriarchy; it’s good manners. Also, I rarely snack. I avoid carbohydrates. And I do so because I like swanning around in a size eight pencil skirt (size four, for those tuning in from the USA). When I do choose to indulge, I would prefer to do it without worrying about wiping sticky orange ooze on other people when going in for the handshake or hug.
So you can imagine my confusion and dismay when I found out Doritos had capitulated to the white noise and pulled the plug. There would be no Lady Doritos; no neat, fragment-free chips that I could munch on discretely with well-mannered relish. In fact, PepsiCo went as far as to deny the idea ever had any ground, stating the reporting on the alleged lady-snack was “inaccurate”. Regardless of the market research, and the innovative thinking of one of the few-and-far-between female CEOs, PepsiCo was too frightened of feminist Tweety-land to follow through.
Why is it that feminism seems to hate fun? More to the point; why does feminism seem to hate femininity? It is extraordinary that an ideology claiming to champion female attributes, while dismissing masculinity as ‘toxic’, runs screeching to the battalions whenever someone highlights women behaving like, well, women. If contemporary feminists really were the empowered, individualist, all-things-female stormtroopers they claim to be, they’d be clamouring for gendered products. There would be endless petitions for companies to ‘do a Nooyi’ and research every facet of female consumer preference.
If I were a feminist overlady, we would live in a heavenly world of gendered products. Every behavioural, biological, and physical need unique to women would be accounted for. There would be gendered chairs; shaped with the appropriate curve to cater to the typically shapelier backsides of women. Gendered carpet would be not too thick, lest it make women unsteady on their high heels. Gendered TV programming would have all the girlie shows on earlier in the evening because women physiologically do not handle lack of sleep as well as men. Gendered drink bottles would have fewer ridges around the top, to prevent them rubbing off our painstakingly applied lipstick.
Supermarkets would have special shopping trolleys for women; lighter and with smaller handles for speed and ease of motion. Every theatre, mall, hotel, restaurant, bar, and otherwise public venue would have double the amount of toilet cubicles for women. Why? Because God knows what we do in there but the lines are always twice as long and half as fast. Gendered lamp posts would be adorned with signs giving ten-step instructions for guided meditation; helping women pioneer through our four-weekly ‘hysteria’. And Ellen DeGeneres would have been banished to a dark room and forced to watch reruns of Gossip Girl for daring to suggest Bic’s idea of “pens for her” was sexist. The world would be a paradise for not only women but men; knowing all the ladies in their lives would never be inconvenienced (and therefore never complain).
However, standing in the way of this non-feminist Utopia is this idea that the essence of being biologically female is inferior to maleness. It is an attitude perpetuated not by droves of chauvinistic white men. This toxicity oozes instead from miserable, insecure women who, aware they don’t fit into the typical mould of femininity, project their rage at this fact onto women who do.
According to these women; you can’t be taken seriously as a woman unless you have a little bit of manliness in you. Being “girlie” is now synonymous with being dumb, ditzy, and subordinate. And if big-time brands like PepsiCo are caving to this attitude whenever the Twitter mobs start shrieking, the world will have lost more than just good table manners.
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