This all started with the moment I glanced over at my boyfriend’s laptop screen and watched him watch a famous competitive eater devour an unhealthy amount of food in about 5 minutes. I immediately looked at him with disappointment and asked him why he was watching the video, then proceeded to tell him something that he already knew very well. I asked him “do you know how many hungry people this could feed?” It was because I couldn’t help but criticize the fact that he was making money off of the fact that he had the ability to eat beyond what the human body should be capable of; worst of all, is the fact that he was able to do so because viewers like my boyfriend were watching his videos.
And then, my boyfriend told me something that made me furious, yet inspired. My boyfriend, who wasn’t taking me very seriously, pointed out that there are way worse things happening in that industry than competitive eating. It hurt to admit that in many ways that statement could be true. But, it also made me furious that we have to accept that this is the way things are.
According to Influencer Market Hub, on average YouTubers get paid $0.18 per view in addition to an average of $18 per 1000 ad views. While that may not seem like much, we need to consider that Youtubers such as Logan Paul who have 18 million followers, can earn up to $14.5 million (Forbes). Another example is PewDiePie, the Swedish gamer who earned $15.5 million in 2018 with over 90 million followers according to Forbes. It is clear that making videos for YouTube has become a viable career option. Now the question is whether or not this is a good idea. Because the fact that YouTubers can make so much money off of the website, gives them the ability to continue to make the same videos.
The first results that show up on Google when you search ‘Competitive Eating on YouTube’ are videos of people sitting behind piles of burgers. Besides all the food that is going to waste which really does not need to be consumed by one person, I can’t help but think about all the money that is being spent on buying that food that could have instead gone towards helping those that are in desperate need of basic necessities of life.
I’m not arguing that YouTube should stop paying their ‘employees’, but I am arguing that there needs to be some sort of balance or moral system of what is deemed as an acceptable career option or not. For instance, girls who love to display their artistic sides by creating makeup videos, don’t cause any harm. Whereas videos of Logan Paul doing destructive pranks, boyfriends and girlfriends destroying each others’ material items to buy each other new ones, as well as competitive eating, are simply robbing less fortunate people from things that could be made easily accessible to them.