We have previously talked about the problem with “what I eat in a day” videos. What about the growing global popularity of “mukbang”?
What is “Mukbang”?
Pronounced “mook-bong”, mukbang translate to “eating broadcast” in Korean. Originating in South Korea, mukbang is simply the act of watching strangers consume copious amounts of food in one sitting. In this trend, we see hundreds and thousands of people flock to YouTube, spending an hour or more to watch someone eat.
They even pay to watch!
Canadian blogger, Simon Stawski who co-founded Eat Your Kimchi suggests that it could replicate the feeling of eating out with friends for people who would otherwise be eating alone.
“Dining is a social activity, and you don’t sit and eat alone. For those that can’t eat with others, they’ll more than likely stay home to eat alone, but they’ll still have the urge to socialise while eating, which is what I think mukbangers replicate.”
Fans of “mukbang” or “mukbanging” have said that a big part of this phenomenon is the potential “autonomous sensory meridian response” (ASMR) that the experience generates. For example, fans have said that they derive great pleasure from watching or listening to everyday habits like whispering, hair brushing, folding clothes and more.
The hypnotic experience of watching someone eat online would be to be engrossed in sounds like slurping, chewing, crunching and many other noises emitted while eating.
How “Mukbanging” pays?
Like all of the top YouTubers with monetised videos, top “mukbangers” will take a share of the ad revenue generated by views. There are also many endorsements, e-book and product review payouts.
The more followers one has therefore, the bigger the paycheck. Successful “mukbangers” can make up to $100,000 or more per year in the US.
The Pitfalls of “Mukbang”
Given that the number of followers directly impacts how much you earn, it could lead to “mukbangers” eating outrageous quantities of unhealthy food in order to attract clicks.
Mukbangers may chow down on everything from dozens of bowls of ramen, to buckets of KFC, multiple pizzas, piles of crab legs, pails of candy and even heaping helpings of salad in just one sitting.
How healthy can this be?
On top of this, people who are watching this could be susceptible to developing bad eating habits and a negative relationship with food.
Do trends like “mukbang” normalise poor eating habits?
The deeper issues
There are clearly underlying issues that have created the phenomenon of “mukbang”. Perhaps loneliness and isolation plus the monetisation of everything?
At the end of the day, partaking in online entertainment is perfectly harmless in moderation. When one gets sucked in to the degree that it is affecting his or her health – that’s where you may need to draw the line.