Chloe, 23, and Kevin, 25, who initiated the anti-hunger Facebook food selfie campaign #yumforhunger are sitting down to a sumptuous meal in a fancy restaurant in London’s West End. Both have huge plates in front of them with beautifully presented large steaks with tobacco onions and all the trimmings. As soon as the food arrived they were taking countless close-up photos on their Iphones of the dishes from different angles and discussing which were the best shots to share on Facebook for their anti-hunger campaign #yumforhunger.
I ask Kevin and Chloe, ‘Are you sharing these food selfies in an ironic way, to demonstrate a moral outrage at global inequities between the casual over-consumption of post-industrialist western societies and the developing world where many still suffer from malnourishment?’
Kevin, ‘I’m not sure I get you. But look at this meal, its yum. Whats the point in just eating such an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant without any of our mates seeing it? But if we just show it on Facebook as it is with no cause attached, then people might call me a big show off or attention seeker or something else spiteful.
Then the other night when we was in another fancy restaurant with epic meals that I really wanted to show off, Chloe asked me about why those black babies with big stomachs and flies and everything on the News have such fat stomachs when they is so starving. Just the thought of it almost made me puke up my garlic wedges. But then it was like a light bulb in my head went off, link food selfies with a hunger campaign, that’s it, genius.
There is a connection you see, food and hunger. More of a connection than no slap and cancer. I think with that campaign people have a herd mentality and many women wanted to copy Cheryl Cole or some other celebrity who do no makeup selfies, but were afraid of being accused of being vain by their friends for posting carefully posed, poorly lit and bit fuzzy by design, no make up selfies.
Then the same way I did with hunger and food selfies, someone comes up with the bright idea of bundling the desire to share these no makeup selfies with the big ‘C’, and bingo, Likes and ‘Ah, you still look gorgeous babe xx’ comments and in addition you get brownie points for the vague cancer connection as well, win win. Also you can’t criticise anything associated with raising money for cancer no matter how tenuous the link may be, so you are protected from spiteful feedback.
But think about it, our campaign #yumforhunger is so much more important. If you starve from hunger you can’t even reach the cancer stage, can you? Or if you have cancer but no food, you would die of starvation first before the cancer got you.’
I ask Kevin and Chloe, ‘If they care so much about hunger, why don’t they help out at the food bank around the corner? Also it is great to raise awareness and money for hunger but charity causes often have complex messages that can’t be shared in a short hashtag with a selfie, so maybe more populist messages and campaigns will soak up everyone’s goodwill and money.
This might also set a social media trend where charity causes become a convenient and flimsy excuse for insecure people seeking reassurance, or thinly veiled self promotion and one-upmanship. Next might be #mynewbigflatscreenTVforchildpoverty or #ourfabulouscocktailsforthehomeless or #pleaselikemystatustofixAfrica. Do they see any risks with #yumforhunger or do they have any ethical qualms about the mixed motivations for sharing their meal based photos that might help set a bad precedent for the future?’
Chloe, ‘How dare you criticise us for trying to help hungry starving babies you uncaring cynical b**tard! If Kevin’s mouth wasn’t so full of his delicious £23 steak, he would give you a right earful. If posting pictures of our meals in fancy resturants gets money to those starving black babies, then that can only be a good thing, even if they have big stomachs already, which Kevin says is mainly air.
Why do people like you have to put a downer on young people when they are going so far out of their way to do something so awesome to change the world? Hunger is something we both care so deeply about we spend minutes each time we have a restaurant meal getting the best picture of our food to upload onto Facebook to raise hunger awareness. You should be applauding us not criticising us for our campaign. Dying of hunger is not a very nice experience and its about time that more people were made aware of this.’