This week key words are: Aestheticisation of Poverty, Poverty porn, Empathy, and mediated suffering. … These have confused me a little bit because I never heard of “Poverty porn” in my life. According to Aidthoughts and The Canberra Times Poverty porn is any type of media such as; film, photograph, or written which are show poor’s condition/suffering in any type. In order for the publisher to gain/ create the necessary sympathy or empathy either to make political move [e.g. support charity, rising donation] or increasing in sell number [e.g. newspaper, viewer number].poverty-porn

In this fast changing world, people in the society have different perspective and opinion on the poverty porn. In the past year [2016] there are many controversies on the documentary TV show called “Struggle Street” From SBS network. The show is setting in Western Sydney area during the show the audiences will see how bad the properties and neighborhoods are, the show also presenting how people in the region lives their life [negative]. There are many people debating about the show. Some [e.g. resident in Western Sydney, mayor of Blacktown] say it is a bad idea from the TV channel to show the problem or issue about the area as it is creating a bad reputation that will resulting in the local economic sector. Some [e.g. journalists, television critics] say that people are overstated and public should have the right to know the information and the media just doing their job by presenting the information needed [media can’t always show the bright side].

Now I will look into some negative aspect of poverty porn, according to CNN 1. The poverty porn can misrepresents of poverty/ the poor. From the book “When Helping Hurts” the writer explain that people are seeing poverty porn differently, most of the western society audiences would look at the physical suffering, lack of resources and material. Where as the eastern society will look in to emotionally and condition psychologically. For example if you look at the photo below [a picture of a family in northern Thailand].


Most of the people in western society or developed countries probably say that this family needs a better shelter, lack of education, etc. but for me as I come from developing country [Thailand] and other in the society would see this as a joyful family, they get to lives together, they have shelter, they have water, they support each other. All of this resulting as people in developed countries thinks that the issue or the problems in undeveloped countries are complicated experiences and hard to understand. 2. I am disappointing in many organizations that using poverty porn as a tool to generate/increase donations.


When you look the picture above, perhaps you feel sympathy or guilty toward children that show in the picture therefore you feeling like you need to help them out somehow, and what organization tell you is you can donate to “help” these children. Please don’t look at me like a bad person who doesn’t consider helping the poor. The question here is how many percent of the total donation actually gone to help the poor? If you look up employees at those non-profit organizations, you will find that their CEO has salaries in a wide range from 850 000 USD to 2.5 M USD [people have to live right?]. Also think about other employees in the organizations together with marketing budget. According to charities navigator in most organizations nearly 50 percent spending on else where. And this is why I don’t like those organizations poverty porn to increase their donation.

I’m sure that everyone and myself have been in contact with poverty porn somehow in our lives. Some people might feel that it is not appropriate for the public to consume/people in the picture; some might feel normal and okay toward it because they have been exposed to poverty porn in different platform. I have to admit that I’m fine with poverty porn [probably used to it]. I also find that it is still an effective tool in the charity as it is allow organizations to achieve their goals [get people to donate]. This is a complicate topic, what I said earlier in the post is analyzing and put together from what I learned / research / what I have been exposed in the past. If I said something that offended someone, I am apologize.


Corbett, S. and Fikkert, B. (n.d.). When helping hurts.

Aid Thoughts. (2017). What is ‘poverty porn’ and why does it matter for development?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Charity Navigator. (2017). 10 Charities with the Most Giving Basket Donations : Charity Navigator. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Cooke, R. (2017). It’s a bit rich moaning about poverty porn | Rachel Cooke. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Middendorp, C. (2017). Poverty porn: look at these vulnerable people. [online] Canberra Times. Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Nathalie Dortonne, S. (2017). Poverty porn is dangerous. [online] CNN. Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

NewsComAu. (2017). Nine defends controversial US ‘poverty porn’ show. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

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