There is a new trend on YouTube called ‘mukbang’ (pronounced mook-bang), in which people literally watch a stranger eat an enormous amount of food. The Korean trend has reached the U.S. and millions are tuning in to watch strangers smack, burp and crunch on food. Why is this popular?
Mukbang started in Korea and means “eating broadcast.” The Guardian credits loneliness as the reason behind the popularity of mukbangs. This report says eating is a social activity in Korea, and mukbangs give those who eat alone someone to eat with. The Guardian reports that professional mukbangers in Korea can make up to $9,000 per month. This reports also says that a popular U.S. mukbanger can make up to $100, 000 a year.
Mukbangers are putting their health at risk. Some mukbangers, out of their own admittance, film more than one time a day. Is it worth the popularity and why do their viewers support this gluttonous behavior?
For research purposes, I visited a few mukbang channels and came across a lady whose channel is titled, Bloveslife. This U.S. mukbanger, her first name is Bethany, has admitted to filming multiple times a day. Bethany refers to herself as the “queen of seafood boils” and uses a homemade butter sauce to eat seafood, chicken, corn, potatoes and eggs. She currently has over one million subscribers on YouTube. Prior to YouTube, Bethany and her family (husband and two children) seemed to have lived a comfortable life. Mukbanging, however, has allowed her and her husband to quit their days jobs. Why is her husband allowing her to do this?
Nickocado Avocado is also a popular U.S. mukbanger. He has over one million subscribers and often has emotional meltdowns on camera. Nick has videos that have received over two million views. He was featured on a episode of Tosh. 0 , in which Tosh is seemingly making fun of Nick and possibly other mukbangers and their loyal viewers. Tosh says, “Why are so many of you watching these videos? There is good TV out there.”
Tosh says, “Mukbanging is when lonely individuals make videos of themselves eating disgusting amounts of disgusting food and even lonelier people watch them.”
He even mentions Nick’s health by saying, “Before we lose Nickacado Avacado to diabetes, I flew him to LA…”
Their viewers cheer on their behavior. They even go as far as calling people who disapprove of the mukbang lifestyle “haters.” Some of their viewers even praise them :
I am not sure what the fascination is with watching strangers eat. One thing is for sure, ‘soul selling’ is prevalent is today’s society. Are you willing to do anything for money?
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