If you have been somewhat familiar with the internet space or have kept up/analysed the current trends that have stuck around on the internet for quite a while now, you should be aware of how Mukbangs are a great source of entertainment for a lot of people. Many people, who pursue this as a career or do it quite often just to make a video out of it, are known as “Mukbangers”.
For people who do not know what Mukbangs are, it is a practice where a person makes/gets a lot food (mostly unhealthy) and eats it in front of a camera, which then later, is posted on the internet.
It is a compound word that comes from the Korean words, eating (meokneun) and broadcasting (bangsong). It started off in South Korea, as a person would live stream while eating large amounts of food and interacting with their audience. But it has definitely caught the attention from youngsters all around the world. It has become extremely popular in the western world, especially America, that is already known to eat a lot.
But this internet trend has a very dark side. Many people believe that the Mukbangers eat an alarmingly high amount of food way too frequently indicating that they might be a victim of a binge eating mental disorder.
The videos are made as a way to cope-up with their eating disorder as they justify it by saying they’re making money and a career out of it. It is infact a serious career where people call themselves “professional mukbangers”. The amount of calories these people consume is unsetteling.
This video was made as a joke, but it’s definitely worrisome to see that these mukbangers eat so much unhealthy food in the name of entertainment. They are putting not only their own, but also their followers’ health at risk. Here’s how. When people watch other people eat food (unhealthy high calorie condiments like cheese and fried items), it usually sparks up a craving in the viewer’s mind that makes them want to eat it too. So then, the viewer goes and gets the food and eats it, satisfying their craving. This is fine if it’s done once every two weeks or once every month. But that’s not the case.
Mukbangs are mostly popular on the YouTube platform. We all know how YouTube recommends videos based on what you frequently watch or based on your liked videos. So, the recommended page is filled with Mukbang videos from different mukbangers with catchy, clickable thumbnails. And because of this, your Instagram’s Explore page and TikTok’s For You page is also filled with these videos. It’s almost as if its shoved down your throat. This makes them watch such videos on a loop, that inturn makes them crave the same food on a frequent basis.
The problem is, the people who watch these videos are not adults who understand the dark side to this, but kids who have not developed enough understanding for them to be able to comprehend all this.
These mukbangers are making money off of exploiting such innocent minds at the price of their own health. This should not be allowed and YouTube should age restrict these videos for viewers over the age of 18. Parents don't pay attention to what their kids watch, and even if they do, watching someone eat is harmless, on the surface of it.
Also, this other YouTuber called Trisha Paytas, who does cooking, mukbang and other videos on her channel is claimed to be quite problematic. She has gotten into a lot of controversies with the LGBTQ community, the DID community and many more, is actually celebrated for being open about her body issues.
She is very out and open about having her body modified through plastic surgeries including getting constant fillers (lip, cheek, chin) on her face.
She talks on different issues, mostly YouTube drama, but also a lot about how she’s “fat” while eating unhealthy food with over 1000s of calories in just one sitting. With around 5 million subscribers on YouTube, in my opinion, it does not promote the right message to her viewers as the message her videos portray is “eating food can make you feel better when you’re going through a tough time”. She has had a history of mental illnesses as well. But her supporters celebrate her for being “real” and being an example for a plus-sized influencer. No obese/overweight person should be allowed to influence a group of people, if they subliminally promote the wrong message, in the name of body positivity.
These things clearly glorify eating disorders and platforms like YouTube should definetely do something about it before it’s too late instead of sitting and watching the money roll in through such videos.