When you think of ladies and webcam financial success, you would not be wrong to imagine it involving lewd conduct upon themselves: it’s the internet after all. But in South Korea, mok-bang, or “eating broadcast” is an actual thing that some make actual money doing.
Americans love food. We also love exhibitionism, and God and food, and technology and eating. So why is it that when I hear about a woman making $9000 a month eating in front of a webcam for hours on end, it’s coming out of South Korea? Wait, that sort of answers itself…
“Mok-bang” (roughly translated to “Eating Broadcast”) super-star: Park Seo-yeon, does things you wouldn’t BELIEVE on her webcam: like get paid to eat elaborate home made meals. I didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it’s a six figure income kind of thing in South Korea. And before we start throwing our American filth minds at this whole thing, she does it fully clothed, with no hint of depravity (I mean, besides gluttony, which certainly does it for some). But while, (like American webcam watchers) she’s watched by lonely shut-ins, the South Koreans watch partly if not mostly to alleviate the loneliness of the apparently “extremely common” one-person households prevalent in the country.
“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show,” Seo-yeon told reporters between lucrative bites. “When they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet.”
Seo-yeon earns those big voyeuristic mastication bucks on Afreeca TV, where viewers tip her using “Star Balloons” a virtual currency sold in denominations ranging from $1 to $50.
So while I might initially suggest “mok-bang” as an appetizing way for out-of-work Americans to start their own weird online business, I just know that, being Americans, we would ruin it somehow and… Wait, I’m sorry Internet, what’s that? “Feeder porn” you say? What is this “feeder porn”? — Aww, damn it America! Can you not have already ruined EVERYTHING long before I even knew it existed?! Well, there goes my appetite…
I remember when I sat down for my senior portrait, there was a choice of three muted color backgrounds, we were urged, if not required to show up in a suit and tie, and we had to somehow mask our fear of the unknown real world hurtling toward us menacingly. In South Korea though, the senior portrait is much more interesting.
If I were to ask you, “What do you think a Korean high school yearbook looks like?” You might rightly ask, “What the hell are you talking about?” Though if you were to just play along and not be such a jerk about it, you might still respond, “Filled with despair and starvation?” which would also technically be true since I wasn’t real specific and that probably describes a North Korean yearbook pretty accurately.
What I was specifically referring to though was South Korea, and more specifically still Jeonju Haesung High School. Apparently Jeonju Haesung has decided that rather than stuff all of their students into ill fitting suits and prop them up against the same dusty old backdrop (the same ones their grandparents’ dreams died in front of), they would give their students the freedom to take whatever portraits they chose, trusting that they might have some sort of individuality to share. The results of this freedom and individuality landed on the cool spectrum somewhere between “awesome” and “crazy awesome”.
The voting for this year book’s superlatives was particularly difficult since most students just responded with a drawing of the outline of their hands giving a thumbs up and a gummy bear taped to the page with an octopus sticker. Needless to say, they’re all pretty equally likely to succeed, at being totally cool.