The taboo topic of the sexualisation of female streamers

My Digital artefact originally took the form of a series of video essays to address the question:

“How does the female gamer experience, particularly on live streaming sites such as Twitch and Youtube differ from the male experience?”

My first video created as part of the series can be found here, although I have since chosen to switch to creating blog posts for reasons I describe in my beta pitch video below. 

 

In order to appropriately address the topic of the sexualisation of female streamers on Twitch, I’ll create 2 seperate blog posts – the first documenting some of the history behind women in gaming using a media archeology approach, and the second going into depth about the current gaming landscape.

My first blog post is already up, you can find it here, it will act as a precursor to my second blog post. 

My second blog post will have the same focus as my original DA question, that is researching the female gamer experience on sites such as Twitch. In order to appropriately research this question I have assembled a range of sources which will allow me to create a blog post which gives as much depth and insight as possible. My blog post is following an analytical framework which includes the sociocultural context, a historical context and the technical strata.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 12.12.24 pm

Sociocultural context:

  • In order to understand the current Twitch landscape and the type of content available on the platform, a number of relevant examples will be used. One of them being Quqco who was banned from the site after wearing attire that featured a low cut neckline and prominent leg slits (Kent, 2019). Quqco’s content will be used to explore the possible confusion created by the non-specific twitch community guidelines and potentially how cosplaying fits into these guidelines. 
  • D’Anastasio (2018) will be used to document cases of streamers such as Trainwreck who openly disagree with females who dress in provocative clothing. Trainwreck can be quoted saying “Sluts are coming into our community, taking the money, taking the subs”. This sort of attitude is not uncommon among the Twitch community. Such attitudes will be explored in order to showcase the opposition many female streamers face, and the potential for female streamers to be discouraged from the site due to hostile opinions such as Trainwreck’s. 
  • Twitch’s community guidelines outline that ‘Sexually suggestive’ attire is prohibited, I intend to use Abbey’s (1987) research into what exactly sexually suggestive clothing is and how opinions into what sort of clothing classifies as ‘sexually suggestive’ differs greatly dependant on gender. 
  • The audience will also be examined as having an active role in determining the meaning of content. Raessens (2005) will be used to showcase how the audience creates meaning through Stuart Halls theory of encoding and decoding, resulting in differing interpretations of the text. This is significant as specific content within Twitch tends to receive a variety of different opinions. 

Technical strata

  • Twitch’s own community guidelines will be used to examine the limits placed on content creators within their site. Their framework for deciding what is appropriate and inappropriate on the platform is fairly non-specific, creating confusion among streamers and viewers alike. Their guidelines, and in particular their dress code policy will be analysed against what they ban and choose to allow within Twitch to showcase their defiance of their own regulations.
  • In 2018, Twitch removed its IRL category (Tucker, 2018), choosing to replace it with 10 seperate non gaming categories including art, hobbies and crafts, food and drink, music and performing arts, beauty and body art, science and technology, just chatting, travel and outdoors, sports and fitness, tabletop RPGs, special events, talk shows and podcasts and ASMR. These changes drastically changed the mechanics of Twitch, allowing content creators to comfortably create non gaming content. This will be used to explore how the platform has changed since 2018, and how the introduction of one specific category – ‘just chatting’ has effected the type of content being produced on the site.  

Historical context:

  • Huhtamo (2005) ‘slots of fun, slots of trouble’ was used in my first blog post. I will continue to reference Huhtamo’s work to account for the continued trend of the stereotype that women don’t play games. Huhtamo describes that the physical spaces where games were placed limited female participation, this will be compared to Twitch and how although they have female users, they often fail to create a safe space for female content producers.
  • Laine Nooney’s (2013) research will be used as an example as to why within media archeology there is the idea that females didn’t play games. Her research shows that due to the limited number of females within the field, media attention was often on male players and producers. Because of this, many females didn’t see themselves as gamers and hence our knowledge today on female gamers during this time period is limited. This is important as today there are still limited female game producers and designers, which could be attributed to the stereotype that women don’t play games which has been formed over centuries.

The sources discussed within this blog post will be central to my digital artefact which intends to open up a conversation about female streamers on Twitch. Ive attempted to research this topic from a range of different perspectives and angles in order to form a well rounded view of the topic. By analysing the history behind gaming, the mechanics of Twitch and the current social landscape I should be able to appropriately address the topic of female Twitch streamers.


References:

A. Abbey 1987, ‘Misperceptions of Friendly Behaviour as Sexual Interest: A Survey of Naturally Occurring Incidents’ Psychology of Women Quarterly, 11(2), 173–194, accessed 14th September 2019, <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1987.tb00782.x#articleCitationDownloadContainer>

C. D’Anastasio 2018, The stereotype that women on Twitch are ‘asking for it’, Kotaku, viewed 8th September 2019 <https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/01/the-stereotype-that-women-on-twitch-are-asking-for-it/>

E. Huhtamo 2005, ‘Slots of Fun, Slots of Trouble – An Archeology of Arcade Gaming’ Handbook of Computer Games Studies,  accessed 2nd September 2019, <http://classes.dma.ucla.edu/Fall08/10/HuhtamoGame%20Culture.pdf>

J. Raessens 2005, ‘Computer games as a participatory media culture’ Handbook of Computer Game Studies, pp.373-388, accessed 14th September 2019, <https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/handbook-computer-game-studies>

K. Tucker 2018, Twitch replaces IRL and Creative with ten more specific categories, Shacknews, viewed 10th September 2019, <https://www.shacknews.com/article/106655/twitch-replaces-irl-and-creative-with-ten-more-specific-categories>

L. Nooney 2013, ‘A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History’ The international journal of computer game research, vol.13 No. 2, accessed 8 September 2019, <http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/nooney>

M. Kent 2019, Twitch streamer banned for risqué cosplay blames her viewers, Dexerto, viewed 10th September 2019, <https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/twitch-streamer-banned-for-risqu%C3%A9-cosplay-blames-viewers-927459>

Twitch 2017, Nudity, pornography, and other sexual content, accessed 2nd September 2019, <https://www.twitch.tv/p/legal/community-guidelines/sexualcontent/#nudity-and-attire>

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “The taboo topic of the sexualisation of female streamers

  1. Hi Mikayla,

    I think you moving to a blog format is probably for the best as you have such an in depth understanding and precise way of explaining the concept and getting your point across through text already. This is backed up by your pitch and already existing blog post. Furthermore, I feel like you can fit everything you want to say into a blog post as opposed to a video where your limited to time constraints and the pain of editing.

    Although you’ve already gotten your blog posts planned out – a good idea might be to research already popular female twitch streamers such as Pokimane and LilyPichu and see their perspective on the matter. It could make for an interesting blog post and help drive your point further foward.

    Here’s some examples:

    https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/pokimane-hilarious-warning-thirsty-twitch-viewers-579386
    https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/pokimane-slams-viewer-who-criticized-for-wearing-leggings-stream-346000

    Hope this helps!

    Like

  2. Hey Mikayla,

    Right off the bat I found your concept to be very interesting, but I may be a little biased due to my topic being quite similar haha.

    I think it’s imperative that you don’t let your own assumptions and values get in the way and your choice to put your own outlook to the side is something that is incredibly valuable to do.

    When hearing about your topic and the direction you are going to be taking it in, one specific source was brought to mind. Although not a Twitch streamer, the video game character Lara Croft shares some very similar patterns when it comes to sexualisation. It opens up the conversation surrounding what if females within gaming, whether that be Twitch streamers or game characters, are all there to simply increase the male fantasy and enjoyment?

    I also think Reddit is incredibly hit or miss. For some people it works magically, and for others, not really. But one thing that you should keep in mind is the bias within sub reddits. Majority of the time, the people who are viewing r/feminist posts are more likely to give you a specific outlook and opinion in comparison to someone who is viewing r/twitch posts.

    I love your work girl, keep it up!

    Regards, Em.

    https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/9kgb9v/lara-croft-feminist-hero-or-just-another-male-fantasy

    Like

  3. Hi Mikalya,

    It is great to see the density of information that you have provided to this topic, you’ve clearly put a lot of thought and effort into your research and it’s well represented through this beta and your first blog. Structurally, your DA is definitely on the right track, as with most things discussing cultural expectations of men and women, it requires a heavy emphasis on historical contexts, which you have provided. The outline of your analytical framework is very well done as well as it’s concise and gets to the point of the areas you will be focusing on very clearly. Your presentation as well is professional and follows the assessment criteria in a great way.

    However, I do have some critiques of the direction that your DA is following. Firstly, I’m not too sure what perspective you are adhering to with your critical analysis despite the information you have provided. When it comes to gender expectations, the sexualisation of women, and video game culture in contemporary society, there needs to be a mention of feminism. I feel that your critiques could be stronger because there is a lot to critique about when it comes to gender expectations in video game culture.

    Otherwise your research is very well done and your DA is heading in the right direction, I personally feel that you should be a bit more critical in your findings.

    Best of luck with the rest of your research, and I hope you do well. I also hope my critique doesn’t come off as too harsh.

    Like

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