Austinites licked their fingers and braved the frigid weather on Sunday as they gathered on the south steps of the Texas Capitol to eat chips.
In a show of sardonic solidarity, these protesters let it be known their disdain for “Lady Doritos,” a hypothetical line of less messy chips proposed specifically for women by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, which garnered national attention on social media last week.
Lexie Cooper, president of the Austin chapter of the National Organization for Women, organized the event, “A Bunch of Women Eating Chips in Public,” on Facebook as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the idea of feminine chips, but it quickly garnered attention. Cooper said she saw this as an opportunity to share something valuable.
“I thought that since a lot of people ended up wanting to come, we could use this as an opportunity to talk about the different micro-aggressions and the different little things that women and girls encounter everyday in a society that tells us you have to be smaller, you have to be quieter, less messy, less obnoxious,” Cooper said. “There are a lot of double standards that men don’t have to deal with that women do … And I think a lot of women resonate with that, and a lot of people have a good sense of humor.”
Architecture graduate student Kathleen Conti said the protest, which drew a crowd of around 25, was about more than just the chips.
“While it may seem sort of silly that we’re protesting chips, it’s (in response to) a larger effort to silence women,” Conti said. “They don’t listen to us when we do the Women’s March, they don’t listen to us when police keep killing black people, but they might listen to us if we protest eating chips because it gets the media’s attention because it’s something silly.”
Architecture graduate student Winn Chen said there was a good-humored atmosphere surrounding the attendees, which helped highlight the demonstration’s purpose.
“The mood here is that this is all ridiculous,” Chen said. “Let’s treat it with as much seriousness as it deserves but also acknowledge that it’s ridiculous and that we’re out here eating chips, and I actually really like that. It’s a good way of spreading awareness, instead of being in your face about it. I think some of these things deserve mocking rather than vitriol.”