I hear it playing in the next room. When I walk into the living room and look at the TV, I wonder to myself, "Um, what channel did I accidentally stumble upon?" Oh, just channel 9 local news? (Okaaaaaay. And don't think this is midnight television. It's before 9am.) You've seen it, the cutesy vintage-style commercial featuring a pretty girl wearing a stylish outfit, sitting in an old-fashioned convertible at a drive-in movie. It's the latest racy Carl's Jr./Hardee's hamburger ad. And as the seconds roll on and most of the model's clothes come off, my jaw is on the floor.
"Was that intended to make me hungry?" I wonder to myself as the commercial fades and the news begins to air. Because, honestly - it didn't make me want to eat a hamburger at all. In fact, it kinda made me want to gag.
In a way, this is nothing new. It's not a news flash to anyone that the media is becoming progressively more sexualized, Carl's Jr. is now known for it's racy commercials, and we all see that the adage "sex sells" is, sadly, true. Yet, my heart broke when I saw this commercial and I began thinking about it. People can view whatever they want to and that is not my concern, yet this commercial (even though it was banned from the Superbowl due to being too racy) is being aired on national television, on family-oriented channels - thrust into the faces of little children and adults (like myself) who don't want to see pornographic images on their family television when they're simply watching the nightly news. The airing of this commercial is crossing a line, and I believe it needs to be talked about. And while anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the ultimate peacemaker who steers clear of confrontation, they will also tell you that my convictions are strong and I am a deep thinker. One of my biggest passions is sexual purity, and so I want to share with you, my sweet and precious readers, some thoughts on my heart regarding this subject, this commercial, and most of all - the value of women, sex, and purity which are being treated like trash in our media.
My heart in sharing this is not to tear anyone down, bash people, or sound "holier than thou", but I must admit - as a woman and a Christian - I am insulted and shocked by this commercial because not only is it offensive and degrading to women, but it's inappropriate for children, and devalues something very sacred: sex.
And I'm not alone.
Addiction counselor and expert Steve Arteburn is calling for the ad to be pulled from the air (article here) And Women's Rights advocates began a petition to stop the airing of the ad, calling it "...distasteful and inappropriate for the viewing of children" and stating that the ad's "explicit nature...is just one example of their inappropriate use of sex to sell their product with complete disregard for a large portion of their viewers, children." Find the petition here and please take a few moments to add your name.
They're just trying to make money, right? I get it - it's a rough economy. But hey, do us a favor, Carl's Jr. - and quit using sex to sell fast food. My heart aches over the impact this commercial is currently having. It goes deeper than 60 seconds of images the ad promotes. When you actually think of it and say it straight out, it is pathetic and very sad. Disrespecting women. Cheapening the value of precious things. Sending a message of: it's all about my fun, my pleasure, self-centered gratification - throwing the value of true love and meaningful relationships out the window. Treating a piece of meat between two stale buns like a man you go on a date with to a drive-in movie. Turning women against women, as one quick scene in the ad shows a woman turning her boyfriend's eyes away from the model's little "show".
This ad made me think. About more than a 60-second commercial that will someday be off the air. It made me think about the influence media has on our minds. Caused me to wonder what the future of our culture looks like for our children, our grandchildren. Made me question my own heart and my values - reminding me of precious truths I hold dear, ones I don't want to ever be careless with or fail to protect.
The truth is, we must be on our guard. And the reason I'm sharing this with you is because I want to remind you and me of truths my mom and dad taught me as I was growing up: that purity is a gem. A woman is not a piece of meat. Sex is precious. And that we must fight to guard what comes into our homes, our family's eyes, and our own minds.
I'm reminding myself that the things we listen to, read, see and watch ...one ad here, a billboard there, a radio single, a racy commercial we're "ok" with - they all slowly erode and shift the way we think... like a hillside in the rainy season. And if we are not careful, vigilant... the "hillside" of our heart and mind will oh so helplessly come crumbling down.
So, please, do not be careless with your mind. Don't let your soul be influenced by someone else's agenda. Be on your guard, aware, alert. Don't fall into monotony. Don't be shifted like a house built on sand. Don't let a tolerance be built up in your heart, unawares, that cannot discern what is good and what is evil. Your heart is precious. Your mind is like a canvas, who are you letting paint it? Are we filling our minds with God's word and truth or sleazy commercials, billboards, radio singles?
Please, my friends - don't let Satan rip you off. Don't let him steal, kill, and destroy in the lives of your loved ones, your children.
I think about the impact that media like this has on precious ones we love. Our future. Moms, you're with me on this right? Just think of your little, impressionable children. The men you love who are fighting to stay faithful to their wives. The women looking for value. Ads like this one are not to be taken lightly. They're not cute, fun, or harmless. They are damaging to our minds, our families, our children. This ad (and many other forms of media in our culture) are dangerously teetering on the edge of full-on pornography. Let's not play with fire.
You just don't mess around with airing ads like this when current statistics state:
-The largest consumer of Internet pornography is the 12-17 age group.
-The average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
- 70% of 18 to 24 year old men visit pornographic sites every month. 66% of men in their 20's & 30's report being regular users of pornography.
-1 out of every 6 women grapples with addiction to pornography.
-For every 10 men in church, 5 are struggling with pornography.
-30% of adults surveyed said their partner's use of pornography made them feel like a sexual object.
-51% of adults surveyed believe that pornography raises men's expectation of how women should look and changes men's expectations of how women should behave.
I gathered all statistics via http://www.purehope.net/stat.asp
Tonight, my heart is breaking. And I pray you take a few minutes along with me to think about the value of purity, the slippery slope our culture is taking us on through media, and the things you can do in your own life to change your world.
My heart is breaking for...
the woman... comparing herself to a model's painted-on, airbrushed "beauty", her value diminished as every second rolls on, every time the commercial airs. Effecting the way she acts, thinks, eats, relates with men. The way she is treated. Her worth, her intrinsic God-given beauty, her inner soul - cheapened, compared with a nasty $3 burger in a stinky paper bag. The young wife, cringing every time she must endure those awful 60 seconds it's on, as she sits with the love her life just watching the evening news, secretly longing for her new husband's eyes to be saved just for her alone. Images of lust threaten precious vows, a sacred covenant, luring her husband's loving eyes, threatening to rock the foundation of a new marriage. Unnecessary insecurity surfaces in her heart, shakes her.
the man... he's desperately fighting for purity in his mind... failing, falling short with every screen shot. It shapes how he views the women he dates, the girls he interacts with at church, the ladies he works with, the female classmates he studies with in the college library. It reminds him of past failures, images he saw in teenagehood, triggering thoughts of things he forgave himself for long ago, luring him back to what he's fought hard to overcome. A hurdle thrown in his already rocky path, tripping him up on the road to becoming a man of integrity, strength and honor. The young husband...committed to be faithful to his precious new love, his new family. Desiring to be a man of purity, to be faithful in his actions, heart and mind. Yet, as he sits watching a typical news program, he's confronted with images. Distracting his focus, damaging the resolve in his heart. Another hit on the battlefield of his mind as he strives to love a real life woman with feelings and emotions, while messages in the commercial scream "women are things to play with" rather than cherished treasures to guard and love. (Remember strong men - what Job in the Bible told the Lord- "I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes." -Job 31:1)
the little girl...impressionable and sweet - learning what womanhood looks like, understanding the definition of beauty, worth, value. Learning how to act, how to dress, how to relate to men in this world. Her wide eyes taking in every shot as the commercial rolls on, gazing at images that won't soon be forgotten. She's like a little sponge, the beauty and sacredness of true womanhood demeaned in her eyes.
the little boy...innocent and curious, learning how to view the women in his future. Images cast into his little mind that shape his thinking forever, somewhere down the road effecting how he treats females...his future wife, his daughters, his co-workers. Shaping his mind, causing far-reaching consequences. Planting seeds of addiction, watered well by a sex-saturated culture and media. Addiction that could torture his entire adult life.
and for the model in the ad, Kate Upton... I know you're like 19 and don't really get it yet - being famous and rich is fun right now I'm sure, but pleeease I beg of you - have respect for yourself and the rest of us women. Not only is making out with food just plain gross but you're making every woman in the world feel like they have no value. And hun, that's just not worth it. Trust me. You're a pretty girl and so am I - please stop making us look and feel like pieces of meat. I don't know about you, but I choose respect from men over money and fame - and you'll see when you grow up a little how meaningless the attention you're getting is. My heart breaks for you, girl.
PS - A few Scriptures to encourage you in purity: