I remember when I first started
using hashtags…

I was very unfamiliar with how they
worked and thought the idea of putting a random “#” in front of a word or phrase was just plain silly. 
Like, really? Why is this a thing? 
To showcase
my dislike (and complete ignorance) I would put long, ridiculous hashtags on
EVERYTHING! A favourite of mine was #RealLifeHungerGames in which friends and I
would discuss topics and how they relate back to one of our favourite book series. This hashtag was used during text conversations, gmail chat
sessions when we should have been working, lengthy emails, and, of course, real
life conversations (because who doesn’t let a few “hashtag, basic white girl”
or “hashtag, P-T-L” phrases slip out of their mouth every now and then).
As hashtags became more popular
(and as I figured out their real purpose and began to understand their significance) I became intrigued
with the hashtags people were choosing to use. I found myself both using hashtags when posting photos of my baking adventures on Instagram, and searching hashtags as I would browse social media. Since I was frequently looking up baking related hashtags it was
inevitable I would stumble across the raunchy and distasteful #FoodPorn.

#FoodPorn, the second highest search
related to food.

Why, internet?!

This does not make sense! Why are
glamorous and enticing images of food being categorized as equal to an industry
that ruins the lives of everyone it touches? Is it some kind of metaphor—like the
detrimental state of your health after over indulging in sweets (or too much cheesy goodness, or too much carb-filled deliciousness) will actually ruin you and make you suffer? Is it
attempting to illustrate how our gluttonous lifestyle can seem ok at first, but
then breaks you down the way porn wrecks everyone it collides with? Those are
the only connections that actually make sense in my head, but we all know the real reason
the general public has chosen to associate #FoodPorn with delicious looking
items— It’s not as a warning but as encouragement of the ecstasy which comes
from experiencing something almost too good to be true, something you know you shouldn’t.
There are many reasons this
hashtag bothers me. One of the biggest reasons is the connection between pornography
and human trafficking. The below video really nudged me forward into creating this post. Please watch it– trust me, it’s worth

In my research on how the porn
and human trafficking industries are connected, one of the most disgusting
quotes I came across is as follows:

Amateurs come
across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can
see it. They still feel strong pain.
” – Carlo Scalisi, Owner of 21 Sexury

They still feel
strong pain. Why is this ok? Why is this something
the general public is ok with watching while ignoring the deeper issues involved in the production of the film?
While researching, the below facts and quotes about the porn industry really stood out to me. Reading these insights, while thinking back to how we associate hashtags like #FoodPorn to mean something amazing, really makes me question the validity and general social acceptance of the hashtag– and why more people aren’t outraged at how porn in it’s delusional definition has become so common place.
  1. 88% of scenes in
    porn films contain acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contain
    verbal aggression.
  2. A 2005 study
    claimed that pornographers were travelling to poorer countries where they could
    use and exploit women and children with fewer risks. Budapest, Hungary was
    cited as Europe’s capital for the production of porn films because, as one
    pornography executive put it, Eastern European actors ‘cost less and do more’.
  3. “The Department of
    Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children both
    recognize that pornography is an element that adds to the serious problem of
    sex trafficking. Many traffickers are found with filming equipment and cameras
    to create and sell pornography”
  4. “[Performers]
    usually ‘consent’ to the acts only in the degraded and demented sense of the
    word (common also to the law of rape) in which a person who despairs at
    stopping what is happening, sees no escape,… is often trying to avoid being
    beaten or killed, is always economically desperate, acquiesces in being
    sexually abused for payment, even if, in most instances, it is payment to
    someone else.”

I’d share more of these horrific tidbits with you, but just reading the quotes from those formerly involved in the pornography industry, and the plain facts my mind doesn’t want to accept as true, make my stomach turn and my heart ache. Just watching the documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” on Netflix showcases how demented the pornography industry is– how those involved feel they don’t have control over the situations, how many have been taken advantage of in their past leading them to choose this lifestyle, and how degrading it is to the women involved. Pile on top of that the insane situations or ‘fantasies’ these people are ‘acting’ out for the viewers– I just can’t handle it. 

While the above information is great to share to educate how pornography negatively affects the individuals involved, those trafficked into the situations, and those
who choose to view porn, why has there been no research done on the connection
between the various forms of ‘porn’ society has become numbed to viewing on social media (#FoodPorn
#HousePorn, #CarPorn, etc)? I’ve attempted to research the connection, knowing it would present a great viewpoint for this post, and the only information I can
find is how #FoodPorn can lead you to make bad choices regarding your own
dietary needs… Surprised? Me neither.
One of the most
unsettling things about all this is seeing peers in the anti-human trafficking
space use the hashtag. What message does this send about our commitment to
seeing exploitation come to an end? It’s definitely not a good one.
I’d like you to take
a bit of time and read through some of the sources and resources available at the end
of this post. Educate yourself on what is really happening in the porn industry
and know that any reference society can get away with only encourages the pornography industry to continue what they are doing—exploiting individuals for the viewing pleasure of those whose lives will subsequently be ravaged. It’s an endless
cycle and we don’t need things like #FoodPorn to become so common place that
porn itself, without a pre-cursor word, becomes accepted until it’s too
late—the moment the downward-spiral entangles friends, family and those closest to
Sources and
Hot GirlsWanted—Documentary available on Netflix
XXX Church

**Note, as a blog, this is purely my opinion and a presentation of facts. I understand that as pornography becomes more main stream in our culture, my views can be considered ‘old school’ or ‘close minded’. I know magazines and websites promote pornography as a way to have a healthy and happy sex-life, I know pornography is promoted in innocent ways, but the facts I’ve been presented with portray the realistic, behind-the-scenes portion of the industry many people either don’t know or choose to ignore. Let us not turn a blind eye to real issues affecting the people around us.