If you haven't seen Sky's video yet, you can do so
There are 4 major issues here:
- The intent / goal of streamers
- HOW that goal is reached
- Harassment of gamers – specifically those who are female
- Streamer diversity
Let’s break this down.
The inherent goal of streamers is to make money. I suppose it may compete with the desire to entertain and provide a good experience. When it comes down to it, streaming is a business. The more money a streamer elicits the more frequently a streamer is likely to stream. This may allow a streamer to make this a full-time job or career.
Streamers reach this goal by the entertainment value of their stream – whether that’s comedy, showmanship, personality, great plays and/or… boobs. For women we have this awesome marketable feature no one else has. Those are breasts. It’s great. However, it’s also not so great. This is something that is infinitely complex because there are so many sides.
Boobs are great! The issue lies in the intent behind the marketing. As we already defined, the goal is to make money. However, does the streamer manipulate the relationship between streamer and viewer to capitalize on this? It’s when streamers exploit the already female hungry male gamers to extract more money from them, that an issue is created. Furthermore, I think this is also a huge issue for girl gamers. Why? Because we try so hard to show we’re a gamer, whether or not we’re male, female, transgender, we’re gamers. We don’t want to be treated differently.
I do think Sky stuck his foot in his mouth a little when speaking on this subject. I really do think after reading his twitter after the video was posted, that he was focused on the intent behind the marketing. However, I believe if he had simply titled his video “Dear Streamers” without focusing directly on female streamers – it would have been more accurate. To say some males don’t exploit their streamers as well is a fallacy. I do think though, that girls are simply more noticeable or at least the marketing is more noticeable – more talked about - than other streamers.
I find it incredibly ironic actually, since we spend so much time complaining and flat out, avoiding, sexual attention. Do gamers realize how many women masquerade as men in games because we don’t want the sort of attention we normally receive? Some of us refuse to talk in any kind of voice client to avoid any attention that could cause – because a lot of times it’s either sexual or hate. Some of us refuse to even join any community aside from one which is girl-only. In fact, when we ask ourselves why any gender or identity-only groups exist; it’s because we don’t feel safe.
Which leads me to my next point: Harassment. Let’s be honest – gamers are assholes. We ALL are assholes. We play to win and god forbid if we think anyone has the potential to prevent us from getting that. We have no problem telling someone where to shove it or when. This means our filter is for the most part non-existent. Not exactly a good thing. We get used to saying whatever we want – when we want. The internet is anonymous after all, who will know?
Furthermore, since gaming has been predominantly men until relatively recently, there’s still a lot of nastiness there. As soon as someone reveals she is a girl, she is friended, showered with gifts (RPGs), and harassed. The harassment can take the form of sexual predations or just plain hate. Twitch chat especially is a cesspool of filth. Regardless if she shows skin or not, she will receive hateful comments.
What does this all mean? We need more streamer diversity as a gender! We cannot change a player’s sex drive – sex marketing will always work. We may be able to alter people’s online behavior, but I believe that will take a lot of time. It will be a gradual shift. What we can do, right now, is if someone wants to stream, do it. Do it however you desire. Persevere through the hate and keep doing what you love. Just keep in mind the long term effects of your actions.
"she" is meant to be ambiguous.