I don’t consider myself a culture warrior—that is, someone who fights to change our spiritually sick culture with worldly weapons such as boycotts and smash-mouth politics.
As Christians, we’re understandably concerned about the downward spiral of our politics and pop culture, and we have every right and responsibility to get involved, to serve our society as salt and light. But too often in recent decades, in the pursuit of godly ends, we’ve resorted to ungodly, bare-knuckle means—thereby giving ourselves an unnecessary black eye in the wider cultural conversation.
Maybe we’ve forgotten that the Apostle Paul said that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal—so maybe we should just pray more. That would certainly help.
All that said, today I’m going to step out of character to let you know that I have decided that when I get a craving for a burger and fries, I will not be heading to Burger King for a fix.
For me it’s a matter of conscience. As the father of a beautiful daughter, and, I might add, the son of a beautiful mother and the husband of a beautiful wife, I have to refuse to participate in what can only be called a disgusting, evil denigration of women. Once you know the details, I expect that you too may consider buying your burgers and fries elsewhere. Here’s the story:
In Singapore, an independent Burger King franchise released an advertisement in 2009 featuring a young woman and a picture of a new kind of sandwich. Because this is a family show, the most I can do is tell you that the ad was incredibly sexually suggestive in the crudest way, visually and in the ad copy itself.
I imagine the folks at Burger King thought maybe it was hip and funny. Only the model isn’t laughing.
The anonymous woman says she just found out how Burger King used her image, and it was definitely without her permission. “Burger King found my photo online from a series I did,” she says, “and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their … sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process. Friends, family, coworkers, prospective employers who saw it assume I was a willing player.”
Mark Duffy, a copywriter at a New York City advertising firm, said, “I’ve seen a lot of sexual innuendo ads, and this is about the worst, especially for something as mainstream as Burger King. I was a little repulsed by it. It’s really misogynistic to women, and it’s also unappetizing.” To say the least.
So what does Burger King have to say for itself? Well, listen to the corporate response and tell me if you hear an apology. Burger King says, “Respect for customers and employees is a top priority at Burger King restaurants around the world. This advert was created by an independent franchise in Singapore in conjunction with a local promotional offer. This ad was not released in any other markets.”
Okay, well I guess if you put it that way, then the ad—and the abuse of this woman’s image and reputation—is okay, right? No. There’s a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ these days about a supposed “war on women,” but this incredibly cynical objectification of women has drawn almost no notice.
So let’s change that. To me, eating at Burger King is a great way to show your support for those who denigrate women.
I do hope Burger King changes its mind and apologizes. They’d certainly change my mind about eating there.
And while I know that my speaking out on this may not change the corporation’s behavior, it may change a few minds about what’s acceptable public discourse.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: August 22, 2014