Eating, Caring, and Filming

By: Hirra Baseer  

In this study, I explore the Mukbang subculture in the US which is primarily engaged in by women. Through participant observation in the digital space of YouTube, and semi-structured interviews with four female Mukbangers, I have shown that this is a visual subculture that hinges on providing relief and care to its viewers. Moreover, I have shown that the boundary of shame and secrecy surrounding this subculture is an indicator that the care being provided and consumed deviates from the norm. This sense of secrecy and shame also determine which bodies and people have access to the Mukbang subculture. This study moves away from media research that pathologizes media fans and producers and instead posits that the relationship between the Mukbangers and their fans is not one-sided or imaginary. This research adds to studies on digital subcultures and female youth subcultures. It moves away from media representations of the Mukbang phenomenon as being sexual and bizarre, arguing instead that this is a complex subculture with its own conventions, genres, and aesthetic standards.

Mukbang, Shame, Secrecy, Relief, Gender, Subculture
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Hirra Baseer

Project Manager, Healthcare, Sehat Kahani (Story of Health), Pakistan