Fetishizing food in digital age: #foodporn around theworld

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

What food is so good as to be considered pornographic? Worldwide, the popular #foodporn hashtag has been used to share appetizing pictures of peoples' favorite culinary experiences. But social scientists ask whether #foodporn promotes an unhealthy relationship with food, as pornography would contribute to an unrealistic view of sexuality (Rousseau 2014). In this study, we examine nearly 10 million Instagram posts by 1.7 million users worldwide. An overwhelming (and uniform across the nations) obsession with chocolate and cake shows the domination of sugary dessert over local cuisines. Yet, we find encouraging traits in the association of emotion and health-related topics with #foodporn, suggesting food can serve as motivation for a healthy lifestyle. Social approval also favors the healthy posts, with users posting with healthy hashtags having an average of 1,000 more followers than those with unhealthy ones. Finally, we perform a demographic analysis which shows nation-wide trends of behavior, such as a strong relationship (r = 0.51) between the GDP per capita and the attention to healthiness of their favorite food. Our results expose a new facet of food "pornography", revealing potential avenues for utilizing this precarious notion for promoting healthy lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016
PublisherAAAI Press
Pages250-258
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781577357582
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016 - Cologne, Germany
Duration: 17 May 201620 May 2016

Other

Other10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016
CountryGermany
CityCologne
Period17/5/1620/5/16

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Mejova, Y., Abbar, S., & Haddadi, H. (2016). Fetishizing food in digital age: #foodporn around theworld. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016 (pp. 250-258). AAAI Press.