Online eating shows’ new excessive drinking trend becomes target of criticism
Published: Apr 08, 2021 05:26 PM
A vlogger's drinking show. Photo: Sina Weibo

A vlogger's drinking show. Photo: Sina Weibo

Following the rise of livestreaming food shows called mukbang, Korean for "eating show," many streamers in China have jumped on the bandwagon to capitalize on the trend. Now this genre has developed its own "subfield" that focuses solely on alcohol consumption. However, while eating shows have received a warm welcome, these new livestreams have sparked the anger of Chinese netizens, who feel these streams are promoting self-destructive behavior and could potentially mislead underage viewers.    

Various drinking-themed videos can be found on hot social media platforms in China such as Chinese video-sharing platforms Bilibili and Douyin, the Chinese regional version of TikTok. Clicking on videos labeled "drinking challenge" reveals content such as a vlogger challenging himself to drink a whole 500 milliliter bottle of 40 to 50 degree baijiu, a type of Chinese liquor, or a woman who to tries to chug nine 600 milliliter bottles of Chinese beer without stopping. 

Some vloggers have even turned to livestreaming, using the "food show" label to disguise their real purpose of attracting more followers through insane drinking performances and in turn increase their financial income.  

Though fans of these drinking videos leave comments such as "wicked" or "terrific drinker" as they see one's ability to drink as a personal virtue, the majority netizens are asking for such videos to be taken down since they feel such contents will encourage young or underage viewers to drink excessively and also promote a distorted mentality that it is okay to sacrifice one's health to make a quick buck. 

"I'd be devastated if my kids earned extra money by doing something like this. I'd rather give him the extra he asked for," a 42-year-old woman told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"I doubt it is 100 percent real. This reminds me of those online groups I've joined that 'teach' people to become massive eaters or drinkers. For example, using video-cutting techniques and certain utensils that make the food appear bigger on screen… some other methods I actually feel a bit ashamed to say out loud," a 24-year-old former eating vlogger who did not wish to reveal her name, told the Global Times on Thursday.  

Some of these more drastic methods include the use of emetic tubes, a type of plastic tube designed to induce vomiting. These have now been banned following a scandal in which vloggers were found to be using these "fairy tubes" to enable themselves to eat huge quantities of food for a video, then vomit it all back up so they could eat more and thus produce more eating show content.   

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