Who enjoys eating food? Most of us I expect. Yet who else knows that it is rather unhealthy to binge on half your weight of chocolate in one sitting. As tempting as it may be. Because come on! Most of us do like to think about food, many of us quite a lot. It is the topic of many conversations. Thinking about it from this point of view, it almost makes the thought of hundreds of thousands of people choosing to watch people consuming enormous amounts of food in one sitting, pretty understandable. But we all know that this is not at all normal…
What is Mukbang?
If you are wondering what Mukbang actually is, then don’t worry, because I wasn’t actually aware of it as a term until recently. Although I am sure most of us are at least familiar with eating challenges or contests, generally posted on youtube. And before the internet, then people would (and still do) challenge themselves on eating a certain amount of food under a certain time constriction. Yet Mukbang originated in South Korea, and has spread globally.
“Mukja,” means “let’s eat”; and “bang song,” means “broadcast.” It isn’t common for people to eat alone in South Korea, when people are unable to eat with others, so the watching someone eat while eating seems to replicate this experience. Meanwhile I am sure that many choose to watch these videos due to pure curiosity or interest.
What’s in it for the eaters?
Anyone who is familiar with the internet will know that just because someone is doing something which seems rather ridiculous and unhealthy, it doesn’t mean that this goes undervalued. Instead it is the opposite, with many crazy, and rather wasteful (in my view) “challenges”, gaining a lot of attention. Therefore money. Mukbangs are no exception, with top broadcasters to earn as much as $10,000 a month, not including sponsorship. An example of a well known Mkbang would be Trisha Paytas, who describes herself as the “Queen of Mukbang.” Across her two channels, she has ramped up over 6 million followers, by consuming vast amounts off food including in-N-Out Burger, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and KFC.
We all know that eating vast amounts of junk food cannot be good for us. Although it is interesting to find that many of these Mukbangs actually chose to live super healthy lifestyles, aside from the time they spent filming themselves eating for entertainment. This could be partly why many seem to maintain a “healthy” weight, due to eating healthy foods the rest of the time, and exercising. Nevertheless, as healthy as someone may be between these videos, it is still likely that as a result of what they are still putting their bodies through, their health will still face drastic consequences.
Also this kind off eating, can encourage viewers to try similar things at home, or potentially encourage viewers to even develop eating disorders. However it was strange to see that for many who were already suffering with an eating disorder, it actually prevented them from engaging in the dangerous behaviors associated with them, such as binging in some cases. Or restrictive eating behaviors. However while it might help some, it is also true that it can encourage others to engage in unhealthy behaviors, due to the potential for the videos to encourage things like overeating.
My View on it
So I think it is reasonable to say that for most casual viewers, it is probably out of curiosity rather than anything else. Although in some cases, I feel that it can encourage unhealthy behaviors. While it is bizzare, once again it is not surprising considering that this is the internet we are talking about!