Autoethnographic Analysis of K-Pop

I had initially chosen to look at the cultural phenomenon of K-Pop, through the lens of the autoethnographic research methodology. I had chosen K-Pop, because I had very minimal knowledge of it as a whole, but what I did perceive of its reputation was that K-Pop was an extremely glamorized and encouraged insane devotion from its fans.


My first encounter with K-Pop can be found at; < &gt; To summarise, my first proper encounter with the K-Pop music video Monster by EXO, was all that I expected and more, but with a bit of added shock. Unfortunately I am well accustom to the dumbed down money mad western pop, and I would describe K-Pop as western pop music on steroids. I wouldn’t say that K-Pop is dumbed down (mainly because I don’t know what they are saying, aside a few English words here and there), but it is definitely based on the laws of attraction, with money pumped in.


Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 11.37.55 AM.png


Ellis et al (2015) discuss the importance of self-discovery and experiencing epiphanies whilst undergoing autoethnographic study. Boncher at el (1984) further define epiphanies as “effects that linger—recollections, memories, images, feelings—long after a crucial incident is supposedly finished.” I encountered and identified five core epiphanies that stuck with me after watching the music video Monster, by EXO.

  • A more intense version of western pop music – globalisation
  • Attractive
  • Money
  • Sensationalism
  • Talented dancers


“K-Pop represents an effort to network global talent pools in the formerly disconnected music industry. Korea occupies a structure that exists between Western and East Asian music industries.” So from my bias and western background, I had firstly believed that newer K-Pop was ‘westernised’ and becoming globalised from western pop music, but in fact, I could have this completely backwards, Korean popular entertainment could be the influence on the western. The Korean Wave refers to the rise in the popularity of Korean pop culture in Asian countries. The world of pop entertainment and media has seen relatively strong dominance of globalization with “Hollywood as its utopia. However, Hollywood has proved to be a dystopia to the peoples of Asia” (Hyun-key Kim, H 2013). There is an undisputed connection between K-Pop and western pop music, K-Pop is globalised in a sense that “the stars follow the world trend in performance, presentation and fashion, and emulate their Western compatriots” (Hyun-key Kim, H 2013). Another definitive globalised factor is that English is frequently used throughout Monster, and other K-Pop songs. So what I can deduce from this information is that K-Pop has grown with the Korean wave but become slightly globalised by following world trends.


Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 11.37.06 AM.png


One of the epiphanies that stuck with me was the insane emphasis on the dancing and how attractive the artists were. In the music video Monster, all nine of the males in the band are covered in make up and jewellery and had insane hair (which was either doused in product or coloured). The beauty of the video clip got me thinking about the beauty regime, and as it turns out, it starts from childhood. Potential K-Pop artists are selected at around 10 years old if their ‘cute’ enough, and put through tough training camps from there. The camps are like a boarding school and for years, teach them how to be perfect K-Pop idols and train them in singing and dancing (hence the impeccably perfect choreography and dancing). From there on, cosmetic surgery is encouraged and weight control is strict. The final product of these idols and the pop music is amazing, perfectly choreographed, and very entertaining to watch and engage with, but it makes me sympathetic, why would anyone want to subject themselves to that kind of control and body image issues? It’s much more strict compared to western pop music artists, and because I’m so used to the western music industry, it makes the K-Pop industry look cruel, but then again, there are people who know this about the industry and still worship it. So the contradicting opinions of the people who worship the industry, and myself, could just be the difference of background and bias?


When I was watching the K-Pop music video Monster, it was so similar to many western songs that are so simple and kind of dumb, pumped out by money, for money. They are the catchy songs that are made purely to bring back more money, their not written by the inspired artists that sing the songs, they are just the faces that many are persuaded to love. It super similar to western pop in this sense.


Overall K-Pop is a beautiful and entertaining industry, but is shadowed by a cruel way of life. I still view K-Pop and wester pop in a very similar light, there are so many similarities that bridge the two cultures. The beginning of my autoethnographic narrative, I was pleasantly shocked at this insane kind of pop music, but through analysis and further research, I have learned that the K-Pop industry isn’t too friendly. This research has left me slightly distained from the K-Pop industry, but I think I might still find myself interested in engaging with the synthetic beauty of it all.




Bochner, Arthur P. (1984). The functions of human communication in interpersonal bonding. In Carroll C. Arnold & John W. Bowers (Eds.), Handbook of rhetorical and communication theory (pp.544-621). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. viewed 6 September 2017.


Sarah, W 2006, ‘An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Vol 5, Iss 2, Pp 146-160 (2006), no. 2, p. 146. Viewed 16 August 2017.


Ellis, Tony E., A, & Arthur P., B 2015, ‘AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: AN OVERVIEW’, Astrolabio: Nueva Época, Vol 0, Iss 14, Pp 249-273 (2015), no. 14, p. 249. Viewed 16 August 2017.


Lie, J 2012, ‘What Is the K in K-pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity’, Korea Observer, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 339-363.


Ingyu, O 2013, ‘The Globalization of K-pop: Korea’s Place in the Global Music Industry’, Korea Observer, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 389-409. viewed 6 September 2017.


Hyun-key Kim, H 2013, ‘The Korean Wave: An Asian Reaction to Western-Dominated Globalization’, Perspectives On Global Development & Technology, 12, 1/2, pp. 135-151, Computers & Applied Sciences Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 September 2017.


Cain, 2013, K-pop’s dirty secret, PRI, Available From: < > viewed 6 September 2017.


Wang, 2016, Hallyu, K-pop! Inside the weirdest, most lucrative global frenzy in music, Quartz, Available From: < > viewed 6 September 2017.


My Autoethnographic Experience With K-Pop

Autoethnography is an interesting form of research methodology for me to engage with, as it is different to what I know and have been taught. Autoethnography places much more emphasis on ones self-realization and epiphanies, it is a research narrative of personal growth and progression of self towards another cultural experience. Autoethnography can even be argued as a more compelling form of research, it focuses on storytelling linked with theories, rather than sterile facts, making its more emotionally truthful and compelling for the reader.

I have chosen to explore the Asian phenomena of K-pop; I had never really understood how popular K-pop actually was until a few years ago, which brings me to why I chose this topic. My premise for choosing this research topic was my fascination of how sheltered I was, for such a long time, that I barely knew it existed at the popularity and caliber that it does. I believe that performing this autoethnographic research will shed self-realization and understanding of the digital Asian media and culture. What I am aware of thus far is that the culture of Asian artists and the musical experience is enhanced and insanely vibrant, compared to western. I can understand that global pop music has an understandable flow through all cultures, and from said flow, each has their own perception of it. I only know K-pop from its reputation, stunning visuals combined with entertaining pop music on steroids; the K-pop reputation I have come to believe is that it is outrageous and sensational. Something that I remember that made me think like this was a video of people reacting to a K-pop music video (similar to the linked video). < >

My fundamental perception of K-pop before immersing myself into the K-pop cultural experience can be described as:

  • Sensationalism
  • Pop on steroids
  • Ascetics
  • Beauty
  • Dancing
  • Insane/Extreme
  • Colourful hair.

I shall undergo this research through the autoethnography methodology and therefore focus on my self-learning and epiphanies with experiencing K-pop and its surrounding culture. I will engage with K-pop by watching a popular music video clip, Monster, by EXO, and record my thoughts and experience with it. However, I have never really properly engaged with any kind of Popular Asian media before this, ill admit, I feel like I have grown up very westernized, and become sheltered and accustom to western culture. I have only ever seen snippets of any form of K-pop and similar YouTube reactions as linked above, so I can anticipate that this will be an interesting experience as it has such a huge following and an incredible reputation.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 1.43.05 PM.png

After watching the K-pop music video, Monster, by EXO, I could honestly only describe that with one word, sensationalism. The music video was so shocking but similar to popular western music videos, and there was still so much more effort and ascetics to it. The Monster music video was amazing and insane, but at the same time it felt like a western pop music clip, but just ten levels up, in a way incredible. Needless to say, the music video did what it had to do and most definitely entertained to the max. I found myself almost laughing at how hyped up and extreme the whole thing was. I’m so used to western pop music and I even find that far-fetched and recently just getting dumber and dumber. I feel as though I have a small bias towards popular music in general, it is as though you are making a brand out of money, not talent. What I found strange was that there were English lyrics, and even the song title was in English? So in there still, K-pop is conforming to adopt a westernized culture. Globalization, back in action once again.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 1.42.05 PM.png

What I realized after watching Monster, by EXO, was that PSY’s Gangnam Style was indeed K-pop, and as sensational at that was, I found myself comparing the music videos as experiences. The two videos were both so extreme and dominated by entertainment and the absolute wow factor, but to me, they both looked like they had come from different eras in K-pop. I felt like Monster, being the newer version of K-pop (released 2017), had adapted more of a western culture and proved to be a product of globalization, whereas Gangam Style, being just a few years older (released 2012), was more so embedded just a bit further into Asian culture and didn’t have as many similarities as western pop music videos.

 Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 1.44.29 PM.png

My experience with K-pop was honestly extreme and just something out of a weird and strange nightmare/dream; I’m still undecided and really confused about how I feel. There were just so many confused emotions and thoughts coming to me at once, I feel as though further research and reflexivity into K-pop will definitely shed light to autoethnographic experience.



Sarah, W 2006, ‘An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Vol 5, Iss 2, Pp 146-160 (2006), no. 2, p. 146. [Viewed 16 August 2017].

Carolyn, E, Tony E., A, & Arthur P., B 2015, ‘AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: AN OVERVIEW’, Astrolabio: Nueva Época, Vol 0, Iss 14, Pp 249-273 (2015), no. 14, p. 249. [Viewed 16th August 2017].

Lie, J 2012, ‘What Is the K in K-pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity’, Korea Observer, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 339-363. [Viewed 16th August 2017].

Benjamin, 2016, ‘20 Best K-Pop Songs of 2016: Critic’s Picks’, Billboard, Available From: < > [Viewed 24th August 2017].

FBE, 2013, ‘YouTubers React to K-pop’, YouTube [Video] < > [Viewed 24th August 2017].

The Medias Shot At Redemption

As described in part 1 of this case study (< >), women have previously struggled and suffered hardship in the media industry. Aside from the past sexism and gender discrimination in the media, the industry is taking a slow, but steady stride towards equality in the future. Although many commentators question the ongoing need for a feminist movement, the media industry, and many others, have proven that further action has to be taken for equality to be implemented. Many have already begun the advance towards equality in the media, like organisations such as; Alliance For Women In The Media, Women In Media (A MEAA Initiative), ESPN, and even with much surprise, Fox Sports has had a chance at redemption from all its sexual assault scandals, with its new all female panel rugby league show. With major organisations pioneering equality within the media, other organisations and individuals are sure to follow.


There are a few specific organisations that are in place to support women’s success and their rights in harsh industries environments such as media and journalism. Such organisations include; Alliance For Women In The Media and Women In Media, both organisations have stated to be “committed to supporting women across all media segments, to expand networks, educate and celebrate accomplishments” (Women In Media, 2016). These kinds of organisations show support for feminism and encourage a range of diversity and equality throughout all workplace environments. They do this by aiming to close the inequality gap, educating senior management on the need for greater support for women in the media, mentoring, and research.


In 2017 Fox Sports introduced it’s new all female rugby league show, ‘League Life’. This was considered a remarkable accomplishment for the progress of equality in the media. Fox News had previously proved to be a huge stump for gender equality within the media, as demonstrated by the many allegations, sexual assault and harassment cases. But the media giant has taken a step towards redemption with is all female sports show. What is particularly empowering about Fox Sports all female rugby league show, is that many would have anticipated that women in sports journalism would have been the one of the last steps towards equality in the media. On the panel of “‘League Life’ will have Yvonne Sampson, Lara Pitt, Jessica Yates and Hannah Hollis discuss the key issues within the game and at grassroots level”. Lara Pitt discussed the steady progress for females in the media and journalism industry as she stated, “There were no female presenters in league until I started in 2012 … now we have an increase involvement in women”.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 1.48.14 PM.png

ESPN is another sports media giant who are making significant progress on the front of gender equality in journalism. ESPN recently announced; “Samantha Ponder will officially be taking over as the hostess of the networks “Sunday NFL Countdown.” This announcement proves historical for gender equality within the media, as “no woman has ever hosted this show in its 32 years of existence until now” (Dayley, 2017). In previous years, women had been said to be “trespassing” when they would speak out in categories that are predominately male (Datta, 2016), such as sport, but Ponder’s promotion proves that a steady change is taking play. Being a successful female journalist proved already difficult enough, but ESPN have demonstrated remarkable equality in promoting a female lead in a category that has been male dominated.


Although, historically, females in the media and journalism industry have endured sexism, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination, a steady progression towards equality seems to be taking place. The discussed examples are proof that initiates have begun to support women in the media industry, this will be a useful step towards a long-term equality.




Riccio, 2017, Fox Sports new rugby league channel will boast an all-female panel show, Daily Telegraph, Available From: < > Viewed 19th August 2017

Daley, 2017, ESPN ponders the future of female sports journalism, The Stylus, Available From: < > Viewed 19th August 2017

Madkour, 2017, Women in sports media cite progress, obstacles, Sports Business Daily, Available From: < > Viewed 19th August 2017

Na., 2016, Winners announced: 2016 Freelance, Women’s Leadership, Young Journalist awards and Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship, The Walkley Foundation, Available From: < > Viewed 19th August 2017

Datta, 2016, ‘Belling the trolls: free expression, online abuse and gender’, Open Democracy, Available From: < > Viewed 19th August 2017

Endong, FC 2016, ‘The Female Media Producer as an Advocate of Women’s Empowerment in Nigeria: The Cross River State Experience’, Gender Studies (1583-980X), 15, 1, pp. 167-182, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 August 2017.

De-Miguel, R, Hanitzsch, T, Parratt, S, & Berganza, R 2017, ‘WOMEN JOURNALISTS IN SPAIN: AN ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC FEATURES OF THE GENDER GAP’, El Profesional De La Información, 26, 3, pp. 497-506, Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 August 2017.

Understanding Autoethnogrophy

As described in the text; Autoethnography: An Overview, “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (ELLIS, 2004; HOLMAN JONES, 2005). To further divulge into a deeper understanding of autoethnography and its history. I will attempt to give a reconstructed definition in my own words, and look towards how I will employ its use in my investigation into k-pop.

Autoethnography places much more emphasis on ones sense of self and personal experiences to accommodate “subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research, rather than hiding from these matters or assuming they don’t exist.” This methodology was constructed because of sterile research practices that would generally bring harm and exploitation to the culture being studied; as opposed to this ‘outsider looking in’ point of view, autoethnographic researches become apart of the research and use their personal experience to understand the culture.

Autoethnography can be argued as a more compelling form of research, as it is a form of storytelling, reading an autobiography of the ethnographic works. You follow the story of these people’s lives and explore a culture through them, a whole array of different perspectives will come into play for each who choses to engage with the works, due to personal experiences.

The idea of immersing yourself so deeply into research, that you in fact utilise your personal life and sense of self as apart of the research, is in some way concerning to me. I completely agree in the idea of a more empathetic and fragile method of research, in comparison to previous exploitive methods, but to be so involved seems as though bias would be unavoidable.

Aside the bias, I do see many more positives to autoethnographic research. In order to study a culture, which is made up of social and emotional behaviour, one has to be emotionally invested, not sterile and emotionally absent from the study. But again, does this mean that because no two people are the same in terms of emotional intelligence or personality, that if multiple autoethnographers studies were conducted on the one culture, then multiple conclusions would be drawn?

I believe that autoethnographic will be a challenging task for myself, as this is a very different type of research and all my life, have been taught differently – make observations, not by getting involved. Investigating foreign cultural norms, I would just compare them to my own, but truly, how else does one best understand a culture, if not to be immersed in it? I am interested to see how far the methodology of autoethnography will get me when I begin investigation the cultural differences between western pop, and k-pop. The differences are evident, but investigating the roots of the cultural differences and personalising the research will prove interesting.



Sarah, W 2006, ‘An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Vol 5, Iss 2, Pp 146-160 (2006), no. 2, p. 146. [16 August 2017].

Carolyn, E, Tony E., A, & Arthur P., B 2015, ‘AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: AN OVERVIEW’, Astrolabio: Nueva Época, Vol 0, Iss 14, Pp 249-273 (2015), no. 14, p. 249

Lie, J 2012, ‘What Is the K in K-pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity’, Korea Observer, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 339-363.

Gender Inequality In Journalism Media

Inequality is accurately depicted as “social or economic disparity” (Pantile et al, 2016). Inequality is demonstrated when two individuals are not seen as equals, and as a result of this, one is given opportunities that the other will not receive. Examples of such include; wealth, race, culture, religion, and gender. What this case study aims to discuss is the inequality between genders, in particularly in global journalism. Although gender inequality has come far from what it was 50 years ago, females are still “discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labour market, etc.—with negative consequences for development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice (Human Development Reports, 2016).” Specific areas where equality tends to be lacking have been identified in a study by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins (2017, Davey). The three key areas identified were; “gender economic security, leadership positions and violence against women”.


In recent years, with the uproar of feminism, many journalism outlets have been slowly restructuring to give more female workers leadership positions and other opportunities that were not always considered. But in saying this, global journalism and media is still predominately dominated by males, with females taking stereotypical roles of fashion and beauty. Females have been found to represent the majority of journalists in news about “female politicians, birth control, fertility, sterilization and abortion; family relations; and a basket of topics that include beauty contests, modelling, fashion, and cosmetic surgery, in which two thirds of the subjects depicted in media coverage were women” (Oakford, 2015).


It is impossible to discuss gender inequality and journalism, without also critiquing sexism in the media industries globally. One particular example that is disturbing is gender inequality/sexism at Fox News. The network is notorious for sexual harassment allegations, and on air sexism.


This YouTube video demonstrates the extent of sexism in the Fox News environment:


Ongoing from 2002 – 2016, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly “had paid out $13 million to five women in exchange for their silence on allegations of sexual harassment” (Ali, 2017). The sexism allegations towards members of Fox News only get worse, “just a year ago, saw former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes accused, repeatedly, of attempting to leverage his power to solicit sex from, not to mention harass and even reportedly try to assault, female co-workers” (Cheung, 2017).


An Australian journalist, Tracey Spicer discussed her difficult time as a female in the media and journalism industry, in her new book Good Girl Stripped Bare. She discussed the emphasis on appearance and essentially sexualising the news; “I was told to stick my chest out more to show the audience my best ‘assets’. Bear in mind this is when we are reading the news, we are talking about the horrific things that are happening in Syria, we are told we must look more beautiful to tell the audience that” (ABC News, 2017).


Sexism and gender inequality within the media is not discussed enough, many believe that feminism is ridiculous and a movement of the past, but it is real and present because it is something that is currently happening in our society throughout all kinds of professions.


To further demonstrate, this table shows that “there are fewer women in top roles than there are men called John, Peter or David; CEOs and chairs of ASX 200 companies” (ABC News, 2017):

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.21.09 PM.png


It is obvious that there is a problem with women’s equal access to roles across journalism and the media industries. In the post that follows, I will discuss interventions that have been made to try and address this situation, and increase the participation of women.




PANTILIE, A, & DOBRE, I 2016, ‘VULNERABILITIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MODELLING OF ROMANIA’, Quality – Access To Success, 17, p. 378, Supplemental Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 September 2017.


White, 2016, ‘Meet the boss: Justice guru Kate Jenkins’, Sydney Morning Herald, Available From: < > [Viewed 5th of September 2017]

Oakford, 2015, Gender Equality is Still a Huge Problem in the Global News Media, Vice News, Available From: < > (Viewed 7th August 2017)


Gaines-Ross, 2015, When the Media Covers Gender Inequality, the C-Suite Listens, Harvard Business Review, Available From: < > (Viewed 7th August 2017)


Morris, 2016, A balanced media? Not when it comes to gender, ABC News, Available From: < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


n.a, 2016, United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Reports, Available From: < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


Davey, 2017, Australian report finds disturbing evidence of gender inequality, The Guardian, Available From: < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


Mediamatters4america, 2015, “70 Awful Displays Of Sexism On Fox News”, [Video], Available From, < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


Ali, 2017, Scandal, sexism and the role of women at Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Available From: < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


Cheung, 2017, Who is Cleaning Up Fox News Legacy of Systemic Sexism? A Slew of Female Executives, Mediaite, Available From: < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)


n.a, 2017, ABC News, Available From, < > (Viewed 8th August 2017)

Godzilla – For The First Time

Today I watched the original 1954 Godzilla film, and it was very interesting.

To look at this film from an autoethnographic perspective, my background is very much Australian, and before that English, so it’s easy to say that this style of film isn’t the typical kind of movie that I would elect to watch. I am very used to western films and I have grown quite accustom to them, I am from a very small family and in saying that, there is not much cultural diversity. This essential background of my culture and viewing habits might shed light to why I feel the way I do about the original Japanese 1954 Godzilla film.

Honestly, I’m really just not a huge fan of the Monster genre, any of the Godzilla films are ones that I wouldn’t choose to watch.

I have only really seen snippets of the modern Godzilla remakes, so I didn’t really know a lot of the story line or the characters, but something that I didn’t expect from an older film, was a strong female protagonist. This was a pleasant surprise, and something that I really admired about the film. The original Japanese Godzilla (compared to the scenes of the western remakes that I have seen) also demonstrates much more respect between characters.

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 11.44.00 AM.png

To my surprise, I did enjoy the plot and was very captivated towards the end when solution (the ‘oxygen liquefier’) was debated. I didn’t exactly start that interested, I am very used to modern films, and the ‘special’ effects of 1954 weren’t really that ‘special’ compared to what I’m used to. Technology has come a long way, so that did really distract the initial engagement from me. But after a slow start, when the plot started to thicken, I surprisingly found myself eager to see what happened.

Something that was brought to may attention, that I didn’t entirely realise when I watched the film, was the Japanese history and controversy that was represented by Godzilla and the destruction caused by the monster. I believe that my westernised background shadowed me from connecting Japans history with the plot. Identifying Godzilla with the Hiroshima atomic bomb; to have an almost unstoppable monster portray the similar destruction that the atomic bomb caused in 1945 was very effective in terms of engagement. The film “posed deliberately inflammatory questions about the balance of postwar power and the development of nuclear energy”

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 11.43.36 AM.png

The connecting themes between the Hiroshima devastation and Godzilla were not what I was expecting, but it effectively engages the audience with the horrific events of Hiroshima 1945.



Martin, 2014, Godzilla: why the Japanese original is no joke, ‘The Telegraph’, Available From: < > [Viewed 29th July 2017]

Progress Report – #foodporn

To briefly recap my digital artefact, I will be looking into the cyber cultures of the ever-evolving online food industry and specifically looking at how the social media platform, Instagram, has impacted it.

Tandoh (2016) discusses the emerging value and relevance that food cyber culture offers and “the way in which food has become social currency thanks to how we share and discuss it online. Most of us who document our meals online are amateurs, but there exists a sizeable, and hugely profitable, industry of professional food bloggers and Instagrammers, whose pristine food styling sets the tone for a whole aesthetic movement.”

Mostly this cyber culture can be addressed as – #foodporn.

I will be analysing the seemingly most popular sub cultures of #foodporn such as:

  • Vegan/ Clean eating
  • Dessert
  • Cheesy
  • Fast Food

I intend to explore the different aspects of what makes a post popular, such as:

  • Hashtags (#foodporn)
  • Quality of visual experience (photo or video)
  • Comments

The overall goal of this research project is to determine what sub genre of #foodporn is most popular, and what aspects contribute to its popularity.

My method of research involves the creation of an Instagram page (chocolate_vegetables) that is dedicated to all sub genres of #foodporn, and create original and relevant content for the page. I will post multiple images of each of the sub genres and include relevant captions and hashtags, which would potentially generate the most attention.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 6.04.22 PM.png

I will be conducting this research project in close relation to the previous study of Mejova et al (2016), who investigated the social trend of #foodporn and what sub culture it was most closely related to. Throughout my research, included in the hashtags of each of the posts, will be #foodporn. The study by Mejova et al (2016) concluded that #foodporn “is often associated with high calorie and sugary foods such as cake and chocolate, it also often appears in a healthy context. The sentiment associated with #foodporn indicates that it is used to motivate healthy living”. I will use the previous findings as the hypothesis of my research, but my research will differ by assessing what specific aspects contribute to the popularity of specific sub genres.

So far, I have been constantly posting images about all the sub genres, in no particular order, but I have only compiled enough content necessary to make an assessment for the sub category, vegan. The research and contribution of content is continuous and swift, and the completion of the other sub categories all have their own timeline for completion, with desserts being the next in order. However, I have found it challenging to constantly produce relevant content, especially when I don’t eat all the food that I am researching. Although the time line for completion and analysis has not changed, this was an expected hurdle.

For the first part of my research into the realms of food cyber culture, has looked into the category for #vegan or #cleaneating food. This was my first choice of categories to come as it represents a part of my lifestyle and how I like to indulge in food; it was easy to create content when I eat this kind of food.

I have attempted to capture the vegan category with images of recipes that are of high quality, with occasional recipes included, and hash tags used appropriately, such as:

#vegan #veganlunch #veganfood #veganrecipes #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #vegetarianlife #vegetariano #cleaneating #food #foodporn #foodie

So far, the findings by Mejova et al (2016) only slightly correlate with the results from the digital artefact. The vegan cyber culture has been very highly followed and liked. I have slowly integrated other food genres into the Instagram account with hash tags relating to that particular genre, and so far the vegan category still prevails.

However, this cannot be deemed an informed, reliable, nor conclusive result as the experiment and research is not yet complete, only observations have been made at this stage. The study is still in the content creation stage and will not be ready for analysis until all genres of food cyber culture have been explored.

I have been looking at including different types of food among those specific sub categories. This being said, I have posted quite a large amount of other categories, particularly dessert posts, but they are so far all cookies (a favourite dessert option of mine), so until I have a large variety of foods for all sub categories, I could not count multiple posts of one type of food (cookies) as enough feedback. It is important to the reliability and validity of the experiment, that variety and consistency is employed throughout all the different sub categories.

The results so far have already enlightened me to the reality of food cyber culture; I did not expect such a following for vegan, over other sub categories. This research should determine the most appropriate and effective means by developing attention to an Instagram food post; and most importantly, which sub category of #foodporn is the most popular.



Rebecca Smithers, 2016, “Hawaiian salad and watermelon juice ‘to be 2017 food trends’”, The Guardian, Available From: < > [Viewed 27th April 2017]

Ruby Tandoh, 2016, “Click plate: how Instagram is changing the way we eat”, The Guardian, Available From: < > [Viewed 27th April 2017]

Mejova, Y, Abbar, S, & Haddadi, H 2016, ‘Fetishizing Food in Digital Age: #foodporn Around the World’, arXiv, EBSCOhost, (Viewed 20 March 2017)

Spence, C, Okajima, K, Cheok, AD, Petit, O, & Michel, C 2016, ‘Eating with our eyes: From visual hunger to digital satiation’,Brain and Cognition, vol. 110, no. Food for thought: The functional and neural mechanisms of food perception and choice, pp. 53-63. Available from: 10.1016/j.bandc.2015.08.006. (20 March 2017)

Bellevue, 2012, “Social Media Changing America’s Food Culture”, Natural Products Insider, Available From: < > (Viewed 17th March 2017)

Moreau, 2016, “What is Instagram, Anyways?”, Lifewire, Available From: < > (Viewed 18th March 2017)

n.a, 2016, “American Fast Foods Recipes You Can Make At Home”, Lifehacker, Available From: < > (Viewed 19th March 2017)