Douchebag Decree: Betty Crocker


As if being a completely fictional model of unobtainable feminine domesticity weren’t enough, Betty Crocker has sealed her fate as a Douchebag Decree recipient with the new PMS SOS iPhone app. Ladies, are you PMS-ing? Betty Crocker can help. By giving you coupons for brownies and tips for “crafting an apology.” Oh, and there’s a version for guys too!

Here’s what the new app looks like:

Betty Crocker iPhone app screenshot
Finally, a way to avoid the drama!

Where to start? First of all, PMS stereotypes are always annoying and they rarely do any women any favors. Just the fact that the guys’ version of this thing is called “SOS” says it all (what it says is that women on their periods are out-of-control, irrational, insufferable, and that PMS is worthy of a military-level rescue operation). Sure, PMS is a real thing, but guess what? We women have been making it work for millennia now without any international incidents. PMS jokes are tired, OK Betty Crocker?

Also Betty, the chocolate thing is a little played out. You claim that this app was based on research (women said they craved chocolate while on their periods) but hello! Chocolate is delicious! Men and women like eating it all the time, menses or no menses.

Other things that are bummers about this iPhone app: It pits men and women against each other with dueling iPhone apps (the pistols of our time), it suggests that women must apologize for being on their periods, it paints menstruating women as overly dramatic, it implies that men want to “escape” from their partners (even providing escape routes), it employs every gender stereotype in the book—women like shoes, women will buy anything pink, women are infantile, women cry all the time, men secretly hate women, women secretly hate men, men are clueless, men and women will never get along as long as biology exists—to sell Warm Delights desserts.

These fictional Betty Crockers will stop at nothing to get you to eat brownies. Don’t look them in the eyes or you might wake up crying in a pile of Warm Delights! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

We may be cranky at the moment but it’s this app, not PMS, that is causing our rage. Betty Crocker might suggest shoving some warm brownies in our faces to shut us up (hey, they’re what women want!!!), but the tired stereotypes and irritating jokes that are the new Warm Delights PMS SOS iPhone app have left us with no choice but to award Betty Crocker this week’s Douchebag Decree.

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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9 Comments Have Been Posted

PMS app

How pathetic. And I've heard that the Betty Crocker things are not that good anyway. Buy yourself some really good chocolate, or make your own brownies- it's one of the easiest baked goods you can DIY. Just don't overbake them.

le sigh.

I don't know whether to be more offended at the tired stereotypes of men and women and the notion of pitting men and women against one another in the whole stupid "battle of the sexes" thing, or the fact that they're now being used to hawk brownies under the pretense of mitigating the supposedly devastating effects of PMS. Of all the innocent, baggage-free things, brownies. Besides being one of the more insulting (since it seeks to make women implicit in the stereotyping), it's also one of the more convoluted ads I've seen.

Shame, I really could have gone for a brownie.

while I am all for treats every once in awhile

Let's face it: Most of the food products the behemoth that is General Mills (Betty Crocker's parent company) churns out for the masses is, for the most part, <i>artificial</i> and <i>unhealthy</i>. Anything made from scratch with no animal products and as few artificial chemicals and possible, is best and healthier than you may have ever thought. Gimme a homemade from scratch, gluten-free vegan cupcake any day. ;-)

by the way ...

Those apps are definitely new lows for Betty Crocker and General Mills. Again, I'd much rather go for that gluten-free vegan cupcake. ;-)


No joke, I learned about these apps and the Time of the Month Tiger in the same day.


Domesticity, gender binary, stereotyping?.... Mmmm!

What else could you ask for from an app? This Betty Crocker app has it all-- dominant domesticity ideology, a strongly reinforced gender binary, and raging stereotyping of women and PMS. Betty Crocker, the ideal image of domesticity, co-ops the real issues of PMS to fuel a shameless plug of their microwavable desserts. The men's version of the app, with the friendly option of 'escaping' from their girl's PMS, creates obvious tension and reinforces the gender binary of she-versus-he, the hormones versus man! For the women's version, the 'Apology Crafter' says almost outright that women should be sorry for something that is a natural, albeit unpleasant, process and that it is their fault and they need to be constantly aware of their fault. That also plays into the stereotyping of women as hormonal, emotional creatures that binge on chocolate and stomp through cities. Apparently, PMS is so severe that all of you need to send out a heads up to everyone you know. It paints a picture of women as completely hazardous and irritable, emotional and crazy, all for the purpose of selling some brownies.... brownies that aren't even that good.

Thanks Apple for Helping Me Deal with PMS!

After reading the original post and the following comments I can not help but laugh as a young male at how ridiculous this iPhone application is. I have a sense of humor and understand that this is meant to be light-hearted and fun, but this again piles on to preconceived notions that women and men have to "deal" with women's biological functions. Betty Crocker growing up was a symbol for the well-rounded American family, because American families enjoy each other's company with a delicious baked good. The fact that Betty Crocker is utilizing its marketing towards dividing a household with a PMS/SOS iPhone app undermines decades of successful campaigning and advertising towards demonstrating their company as a family-based company.

A specific post that I found interesting was regarding the use of creating a gender binary. As an undergraduate student currently taking a Women's Studies course I understand that gender binaries are present in popular culture/media, however they are not necessary to sell Betty Crocker baked goods. Also, I find it outrageous that there is a male specific app (SOS) that uses options such as "GET IT RIGHT", "MASSAGE 101", "THE GREAT ESCAPE" and "ADD PARTNER" for advice on how to "deal" with your significant others PMS behavior. If anyone seriously believes these applications for the iPhone are useful tools to help deal with their significant other, then I am disappointed in what American culture has become. To be heavily influenced by popular culture is one thing, it is entirely different to determine how to deal with your spouse/significant other when emotional situations arise by using a quick iPhone app for advice.

In conclusion, I love Betty Crocker products as they are delicious and tasty. However, their marketing and advertising efforts are in poor taste and have turned me away from supporting them in the near future. I hope that a brand as recognizable as Betty Crocker will reevaluate its opinion on how it would like to be perceived by families.

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