Food Porn, the Child Edition

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A very unusual website, Human Stupidity, deals with food porn as applied to children. The terminology is a bit strange, defining “food porn” as junk food itself (which is equated with poison) and “child food porn” as pictures of stuff that deceptively poses as true food, pictures of substances that are worthless and unhealthy despite their attractive appearance, enhanced by computer graphics programs. Child food porn includes depictions meant to entice children to consume junk food, and depictions of cartoon characters or kids that especially appeal to kids.

The writer states in no uncertain terms that food porn and child food porn are the worst health threats of the century because of their effect on childhood obesity. The spirit of indignation is so over-the-top, it could be mistaken for satire. This is some strong rhetoric:

Adults are the only ones to blame for the intentional perversion of children’s mind, for creating habits that will condemn them to a life of obesity and ill health… Instead of teaching children wise choices, instead of making children into future healthy citizens, they systematically get turned into fat unhealthy monsters. Greedy marketers and spineless mis-informed parents create a public health disaster. I call this a crime against humanity. We knowingly destroy the lives of our children.

On another page, child food porn is related to the other, seriously criminal kind:

Child food porn is more dangerous then child porn. The former really kills children and reduces life expectancy of millions, while the latter is mainly hysteria. So draconian measures against anything that seduces our innocent and ignorant children to acquire bad eating and exercising habits should be banned and punished.

But it seems that a kind of psychological bargaining or haggling is in play because the writer then takes a mellower approach and suggests:

Well, at least it should be counter-acted by strong health-positive propaganda.

The reader feels relief. A minute ago, the talk was of “draconian measures.” The reader thinks, “Let’s have the strong health-positive propaganda instead, please.” And maybe even one reader in 10 or one in 100 will take that seriously, and get on the health-positive propaganda bandwagon. Which is not a bad thing.

Except for, once again, that pesky old nuisance called human nature, or, rather, childhood nature and adolescent nature. Those who have lived through previous health-positive eras, like the Kennedy years, remember how much enjoyment rebellious youth could derive from doing unhealthful things.

And that is why it is so important for parents to take control not just from the day of birth, but from conception. For a few precious months a child’s well-being is totally under parental control, and for a few short years the parents have almost total dominion. But not for long, so it behooves us to make the most of that very truncated span of time, and provide the optimum diet while helping to form beneficial tastes and healthful habits.

The author also offers an analogy to the legal age of consent:

A 17 year-old cannot consent to sex (hence consensual sex with a minor is rape). A 3 year old obese child REALLY does not have the capacity to consent to overeating on junk food. Without valid consent, a child is ‘seduced’ to ingest substances that causes disease and premature death… Knowingly destroying the health of an innocent trusting infant is a heinous felony, perpetrated by junk food advertisers, vendors, and parents.

There is also very cogent explanation of how inherent traits that were once helpful to our survival in the hunter-gatherer days have become maladaptive. It’s kind of like the appendix. An inborn taste for sweets and fats may not be vestigial, or totally useless, but if allowed to get out of control it can be as destructive as an infected appendix.

Here is a sobering thought. Stick the words “fat porn” into Google and you get almost 4,000,000 results, which is about 3,999,999 more fat-porn sites than the world actually needs. It’s time to think about whether we want our kids starring on any of them.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “’Child Food-Porn‘ (Junk food advertising) makes our children obese & unhealthy,” undated
Source: “Disney retools obesity exhibit,” Human Stupidity, March 2012
Image by Like_the_Grand_Canyon, used under its Creative Commons license.

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