Park Seo-Yeon used to work for a consulting firm — until the Korean woman started making money by eating in front of a webcam. Did you just go "Huh?" Yea, me too. Every night between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., Seo-Yeon eats in front of her webcam while thousands of lonely and hungry fans watch. This trend, called "Meok Bang," allows Seo-Yeon to make a nice $9,000 a month.
"Meok Bang," which roughly translates to "eating room," has nothing sexual to it. Unlike American "feeder porn" (maybe don't Google that), there's no sex or nudity involved. Park, who goes by The Diva online, prepares disproportionately huge meals which she can spend up to three hours eating.
“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show when they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet,” Park told Reuters. "My fans tell me that they really love watching me eat because I do so with so much gusto and make everything look so delicious."
"My fans tell me that they really love watching me eat because I do so with so much gusto and make everything look so delicious." -Park Seo-Yeon
South Korea has one of the highest increases in single households in the world, which explains a lot of the fascination with "Meok Bang." Watching other people eat is a way to gain a sense of community for the many people who usually eat alone. After Park finishes eating, she stays on camera to chat to her viewers for a few hours.
"For Koreans, eating is an extremely social, communal activity, which is why even the Korean word 'family' means 'those who eat together,'" says Professor Sung-hee Park of Ewha University's Division of Media Studies.
But you might not want to think of changing careers just yet. Park has a crazy appetite and an insane metabolism which allows her to eat the equivalent of two medium pizzas in a sitting. When asked about the lack of a social life that comes with broadcasting all night, Park replies, "This is a lot more fun."
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