Equating a frozen food obsession with pornography addiction is not only wrong on many levels: it’s downright dangerous.
If you watched the Super Bowl this year, you may have looked up from your nachos or buffalo wings long enough to see a quirky commercial by DEVOUR™ Foods (a division of The Kraft Heinz Company), in which a man’s obsession with eating these quick, supposedly delicious meals is done in a way to mimic the choices of someone struggling with pornography use.
He eats at all hours of the day. He ignores his girlfriend's cooking. He browses food images at work and at home. He hides his food, and dirty napkins, under the bed and in the closet. His life is consumed by this food-porn behavior, as his girlfriend deadpans about the destructive effect it is having on their relationship, in spite of her efforts to help.
All of this is meant to be a satirical, funny parallel to the struggle men and women have with online pornography. What is most frightening is how well they nailed it—the words and phrases they chose to use: “addicted,” “hidden stash,” “hard to resist,” “can happen to anyone.” Routinely, these are the words and phrases I hear about the very real struggle faced by pornography addicts.
The unfortunate message this commercial sends is to normalize pornography addiction. The ad treats as common what is instead a destructive force that is eroding the foundation of lives, marriages, and communities all around the world. Consider some of the following data and decide for yourself if pornography addiction is something we should joke about.
Sadly, this list is only a quick snapshot of the many, many research facts and data that could be presented to show the harmful effects of pornography on our society. The last stat, in particular, is why I believe the food-porn connection is so dangerous. We are beginning to treat pornography consumption like we treat food, alcohol, or gambling: a little bit is fine, even healthy and fun! Just keep your behavior within certain limits and don’t cross certain lines.
The problem is that pornography consumption AT ANY LEVEL is problematic. A more appropriate comparison of pornography use is with illegal drug use. We would never say to someone, “Just a little sniff of crack cocaine is okay. Only use meth a few times a month at home. Shooting up heroin with friends is a safe, fun way to unwind!” No: in any of these situations we would caution a person that their choice to consume even a tiny amount of these substances could open a gateway to a destroyed life.
So it is with pornography.
What we know is that pornography consumption is as powerful, addictive, and mood-altering as any drug. The biggest difference is that you don’t have to go to some shady corner of town to find this drug. You don’t have to shell out any money to possess it. You only need the Internet and a bit of privacy, and this drug can be yours.
We are only beginning to see the devastation that pornography is causing in the current and coming generations. I believe the stats we are seeing here will actually get worse before they get better. Why? Because of poorly-conceived, misguided advertising campaigns like DEVOUR™ Foods.
Ha, ha—he eats tasty frozen meals! Ha, ha—we watch some online erotic videos.
No harm, no foul, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.Marriages, families, and lives are being destroyed by pornography. This is not the time to try and laugh at our struggles. Now is the time to stand up and say, “This is not okay. We must protect our hearts, minds, and the future generation from this destructive vice.”
As for me, I won’t be eating, or even trying, any DEVOUR™ Foods. Because we can write blogs, tweet, and post on social media all day, but our real power is with our dollars. Let your own convictions guide you to what steps you could take next.
But I urge you: don’t buy into Kraft’s deceptive message that it’s no big deal.
It’s simply poor taste.
1. Manning J., Senate Testimony 2004, referencing: Dedmon, J., "Is the Internet bad for your marriage? Online affairs, pornographic sites playing greater role in divorces," 2002, press release from The Dilenschneider Group, Inc.
2. Bridges, A., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Sage Publications. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1077801210382866
3. Barna Group, Josh McDowell Ministry (2016). The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age. Barna Group.
4. KingdomWorks Studios (2019). The Conquer Series Website. Retrieved from https://conquerseries.com/.
5. Barna Group, Josh McDowell Ministry (2016). The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age. Barna Group.