Mukbang, #EatWithMe and eating disorders on TikTok: why online food consumption videos could fuel food fixations
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You may need come throughout #EatWithMe movies on TikTok, which generally characteristic younger ladies consuming meals whereas encouraging viewers to eat together with them. Many such content material creators say they purpose to assist individuals with consuming issues overcome their worry of meals.

However some movies tagged #EatWithMe additionally characteristic the hashtag “mukbang” (that are movies exhibiting individuals consuming an usually huge quantity of meals).

So, what is the connection between #EatWithMe movies and mukbang? And what are we to make of claims #EatWithMe movies might assist individuals overcome a worry of consuming?

#EatWithMe movies

The #EatWithMe movies on TikTok symbolize a comparatively latest style that emerged throughout the pandemic.

The creators of TikTok #EatWithMe movies normally declare to positively affect viewers’ relationship with meals. They encourage viewers to eat together with them, as a option to overcome urges to keep away from meals. Many say they’re themselves in restoration from an .

As an professional in consuming I (Vivienne Lewis) can inform you these movies are not possible to help individuals of their restoration. Actually, a fascination with consuming and watching others eat is usually a symptom of a restrictive consuming dysfunction. Watching #eatwithme and mukbang content material might even gas the consuming dysfunction.

Firstly, consuming dysfunction restoration is about extra than simply consuming. It’s about an individual’s notion of their physique and themselves, their , how they cope with feelings and emotions of self value.

The consuming a part of restoration from an consuming dysfunction entails 5 levels referred to as the RAVES mannequin. This stands for regular consuming, adequate consuming, consuming a variety of meals, eating socially and spontaneous consuming.

It usually takes an individual many months, if not years, to realize this. It requires encouragement and assist from an accredited practising dietitian, an accredited psychologist and household and pals. It can’t be achieved by merely watching movies of individuals consuming. If that was the case, an individual would get better merely from watching pals eat.

Consuming issues are critical psychological well being situations that require specialist therapy and care. Turning to untrained influencers for recommendation or therapy methods comes with critical threat.

Mukbang: ‘broadcast consuming’

It is noteworthy that many #EatWithMe movies embody “#mukbang” among the many accompanying hashtags. The movies that characteristic each hashtags have a tendency to not centre on consuming dysfunction restoration however somewhat on the spectacle of seeing an individual heartily, and infrequently noisily, eat a big meal.

Nonetheless, the very fact many movies characteristic each hashtags means it will be straightforward for individuals with consuming issues to come back throughout mukbang movies.

Mukbang movies—a phenomenon I (Sijun Shen) have studied—characteristic individuals consuming huge quantities of meals, reminiscent of 10,000 calorie meals or virtually 50 items of KFC in a single sitting.

Mukbang originated in Korea in round 2008, and is a phonetic translation of the Korean phrases 먹방 (먹다 means eat and 방송 means broadcast)—it actually means broadcast consuming. Mukbang movies, which have been described as “gastronomic voyeurism”, quickly turned a world pattern.

As anthropologist and ethnographer Crystal Abidin has noticed, the flexibility to eat a big amount of meals whereas trying slim has been a common theme or promoting level for mukbang movies.

Many mukbang celebrities are bodily slim. Their movies, whereas not all the time explicitly claiming to be therapeutic, usually ship the unstated message one can discover launch by overeating, all whereas staying slim. Many components of Asia have punishingly tough magnificence requirements that elevate slimness as a bodily perfect value pursuing at any price. For individuals ravenous themselves in pursuit of this aim, there could also be one thing cathartic in watching one other particular person eat freely and with gusto.

As I (Sijun Shen) discovered by my analysis of mubkang tradition, sure mukbang and “eat-streaming” communities in some nations (reminiscent of China) have been fashioned by followers who’re additionally lively in on-line consuming dysfunction communities. Much less mentioned are reviews of mukbang influencers being hospitalised, fainting or dropping enamel throughout dwell eat-streaming periods.

Mukbang and #EatWithMe movies share some widespread visible themes. Each normally (however not all the time) use the picture of a comparatively slim lady consuming meals as a type of visible leisure and launch.

It’s not arduous to see how individuals with consuming issues might begin by watching #EatWithMe movies centred round consuming dysfunction restoration however find yourself watching mukbang movies.

Given the hyperlink between mukbang communities and on-line consuming dysfunction communities, it appears unlikely publicity to those movies is useful for an individual recovering from an consuming dysfunction.

Consuming issues are complicated

Consuming issues are complicated and require evidence-based therapy. This therapy might be costly and arduous to entry, so it could be no shock individuals are turning to TikTok for assist.

However on-line influencers are typically not skilled professionals.

Whereas many content material creators might imply effectively there’s scant proof watching TikTok #EatWithMe or mukbang movies can efficiently deal with consuming issues—they usually might find yourself fuelling fixation in individuals with consuming issues.

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Mukbang, #EatWithMe and consuming issues on TikTok: why on-line meals consumption movies might gas meals fixations (2022, November 25)
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