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Food Porn on Tumblr: A Mediated Cornucopia of Fantasies, Desires, and Excesses

by Ethan Tussey

by Carlnita P. Greene for IN MEDIA RES

If food was once considered merely as sustenance, today it is a fetish object driving visual, literal, and, especially, simulational hyper-consumption. From Twitter to Instagram to Tumblr, perhaps nowhere does this convergence between food and media become most apparent, or more titillating, than within food porn. As the highly aesthetic, spectacular, and often sensual ways that food is displayed within media and popular culture, food porn is constituted by “the erotic” at the intersection of desires, pleasures, and fantasies. For example, this series of images taken from the Tumblr blog Kiyoaki not only illustrates the participatory nature of food porn—because today many of us upload, curate, reblog, or simply peruse images of food and dining on Tumblr—but moreover it demonstrates how food porn functions as a heady form of seduction. In other words, as we are being tantalized by glancing through the accompanying, aesthetically-pleasing images of honey drizzling in yogurt, chicken sizzling away in a pan, or the colorful bounty of fruits and vegetables, we are being drawn further into this experience since we are also voyeuristically participating in imaginary, idealized foodie lifestyles, which most likely will never come to fruition. In this sense, I propose that along with these vicarious, simulational fantasies, food porn subtly promotes a rhetoric of excess because it frequently fuels our foodie desires through the use of aesthetics and pleasure. By encouraging us to continually seek out these kinds of experiences in our daily lives, whether it is through uploading photos of our lunches to Instagram or gazing at countless food blogs on our lunch breaks, food porn creates and reinforces perpetual longing and desires that are simultaneously driven by the pleasures of food, yet extend well beyond food itself into other forms of conspicuous consumption. Therefore, as a cornucopia of mediated foodie delights, food porn also demonstrates wider cultural meanings about the nature of our desires, fantasies, and obsessions with excess in all of its myriad forms.

Food Porn on Tumblr

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User created presentation on YouTube

from Food Porn on Tumblr (2013)
Creator: Carlnita Greene
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey
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