Lately it feels like because people have a platform for free and easy (also anonymous at times) speech, they believe every fucking thought they have must be shared. Having said that, I'm going to use this platform I created to share why I think everyone needs to just shut the fuck up already about women's attire - both on Twitch and in the real world.
Conversations about what women wear and what it implies are popping up all over my feeds lately, and it's driving me a bit crazy because I keep seeing the same types of comments over and over, ESPECIALLY as it pertains to women who dare to live stream on Twitch.
Take this Tweet, for example:
Twitch Partner, makeup artist and now body-painter, Djarii decided to RT another broadcaster's screenshot and add some additional clarification as to why many women (myself included) don't find it all that complimentary when someone praises us for simply wearing clothes. As a woman who broadcasts on Twitch full-time, this is sadly a comment I see frequently.
"Wow it's so great to find a female streamer who actually respects herself."
"I'm so happy to have found a girl on Twitch who doesn't have her tits out."
"It's so great to find a real gamer girl and not an egirl."
Another thread on this topic was started late last year by Clara Sia, and reading the comments below her explanation will give any rational thinker a nosebleed. Her simple comment on why it's unkind to "compliment" in such a manner was met with a number of responses where people essentially just voiced their outrage that any non-hardcore-gaming women are on Twitch (and *gasp* making money).
So first things first, let's just be super clear. Telling me that you respect me because you found me on a day I'm wearing a hoodie, does NOT make me feel good. Here are some reasons why:
- It tells me that your respect for me is conditional & based off of something as silly as my appearance that day. If I had been wearing a tank top, would you have skipped over my stream assuming I'm just another "egirl"? It honestly makes me sad to think that I could have been one of those same girls you're belittling had you seen me on a different day. If I take off a hoodie and throw on a bikini, what about me changes? Nothing! I'm still the same person with the same overall goals, who in the end just wants to make a positive impact on the world. Being naked or wearing six layers of winter coats won't change me as a person. I'm regularly frustrated by the clothes I see in my closet and LOVE but won't wear because I just don't feel like spending the day defending my fucking soul due to an extra inch of visible cleavage. Actually, I shouldn't even specify cleavage only. I've had people come in and talk shit to me about my clothing just because I was wearing an off the shoulder top. Zero cleave, just shoulders. Super trashy, I know. *rolls eyes so hard they nearly pop out*
- It tells me that you automatically look down on any woman who shows skin - and in many cases that you also assume the intentions of the woman who is showing skin. Statements like "yeah well obviously she knows what she's doing" or "yeah but look at her camera angle, she's clearly trying to use her tits to get ahead" are wayyyy too close to the kind of victim blaming bullshit that women hear when they are assaulted. "Yeah, she says that she told him no, but look what she was wearing. She's obviously a slut. She knew what she was doing. She was asking for it." I realize these are two very different things, but the idea is the same for me - you looked at a person, saw what she was wearing and then decided that you knew what her goals were when she got dressed that day. This, in my opinion, is WRONG. A woman showing skin does NOT mean she is doing so strictly to gain attention or capitalize on her physical appearance. It does NOT mean she is a slut. By the way, I am so over the word slut being used to describe women in general. This double standard has got to go, men who fuck around get to be "players" but women who love sex and/or dare to have it frequently get called sluts. Even women who don't have sex frequently but dress in a certain manner are deemed sluts. It's unfair and ignorant.
- It makes me sad because what you're doing is insulting people I love on this platform. I have a ton of friends on Twitch and many of them are women. It does not make me happy to hear them insulted based on something as stupid as what they're wearing. Don't expect to be welcomed into communities with open arms if you're close minded. Don't talk shit about my friends and expect me to want to hear about your day or invite you to play a game. Not gonna happen.
Think before you speak.
Now, trust me, I know what some of you are already thinking because I have these conversations damn near every day.
"But there ARE e-girls/camgirls/titty streamers on Twitch!"
Yep, you're right. There are ARE women on Twitch who do use their bodies and/or their sexuality to gain traction or who use it to make money.
Does this upset me? NOPE. Don't fuckin' care.
Generally, after saying something like this, I'm met with this response:
"Yeah but doesn't it bother you that they are:
- Basically prostitutes
- Stealing viewers / money from other broadcasters who work hard and deserve it more
- The reason why women aren't respected on Twitch
- Ruining a platform that's meant for gamers "
To cover each of these briefly:
- I disagree about the idea that they're prostituting themselves, but even if they were - don't care. Sex workers are people too. It's ok for a woman to love sex or her body and it's also ok with me if she wants to use it to make money. Frankly, I don't give a shit how anybody makes their paper as long as they're not hurting or putting down others to do it. I don't see how any of this hurts me or anyone else, so it doesn't bother me. I say it all the time: I don't care if you're a porn star or a doctor, I respect you the same at the start. It's the same level of respect I feel all humans deserve. Everyone's fighting their own battle, so why add to someone's struggles? Why be another negative voice in the world? What do you gain from that?
- People like to act as though there's a finite amount of viewers on Twitch. If one streamer is blowing up it means someone else is losing out. This is not the case. New people join this site daily and they rarely find just one stream and stay there. They browse. No one is being stolen or tricked into staying in streams. There are audiences for all kinds of content on Twitch. If one of them sees success, it doesn't mean that another will fail because of it. Plus, it's not as easy as people think to just show skin and make money. I have a great deal of respect for so many of the women who are seeing success on Twitch. Even if you're showing skin, there is no guarantee people will find your stream. There is still work to be done - and lots of it. I have seen countless streams fail that attempted to rely on sex appeal alone (both men's and women's streams), because they neglected to put work into the quality of the stream, the content within it and the external aspects of growing a stream (networking & social media).
- This one is tough, because this and the previous point seem to be the ones I see most from women as well as men. I must admit, I used to be one of the people who thought this way. I honestly believed that somehow women like Kaceytron (who is one of those people I have immense respect for now, btw - especially after reading this article) were the reason I was subjected to constant harassment on Twitch despite my relatively conservative appearance. I stumbled into her chat early into my Twitch career and was blown away by how many people were in there AND by how vulgar they were being towards her. I concluded that she (and other streamers "like her") were essentially stealing viewers that may have otherwise found their way into my stream and seen what a "real gamer girl" looked like. I also decided that it was her fault that men were coming into my stream and trying to talk to me like I was walkin' the streets looking for a John, even though I was just chilling, minding my own business and playing video games. Obviously, I was a fucking idiot.
It never occurred to me that it wasn't her fault that men were being disgusting towards me, even if she permitted that kind of nonsense in her chat. It's still the fault of the men who can't see clearly that we're two different people, and as such I may not prefer to be addressed in the same manner in which she was. If you, as a super cool stand-up dude, meet a woman who loves dirty talk or enjoys vulgarity - do you automatically assume that ALL women you meet are down for the same conversations? Probably not, you're probably able to acknowledge that each woman you meet out in the world is different, and therefore may want to be treated differently than other women you know. For some reason, this idea doesn't go far on Twitch. We're all constantly lumped into one large group and just labeled "egirls". To me, this is fucking stupid. Please, for fuck's sake open your eyes and acknowledge that we're all different. I have tons of girl friends who I'm super comfortable with so we're really vulgar with each other. Calling each other bitches and cunts is a common occurrence. This doesn't mean that whenever I meet a new woman I expect her to find this type of behavior acceptable. We are all different.
- Twitch may have started out as a gaming site, but if you can't see that it's SO much more than that now it's time to do some browsing. Check it out dudes: there's an IRL directory, a Music directory, a Talk Shows directory, a Creative directory and more. This isn't just about gaming anymore. So, if you don't like the content in any one of those directories because all you want is gaming, GO TO A FUCKING GAMING DIRECTORY. Don't go harassing women who are doing squats for subs in the IRL directory, claiming they're ruining the site by not gaming. Just don't go in those streams if you don't like them. If you find a stream that has violated TOS, report it and move on. It's not hurting you or anyone else so just shhhhhh now. Shhhhh.
I know at least one of you is thinking "yeah but they ARE hurting someone because they're preying on kids with their parents credit cards or on lonely men with money". No, just no. First of all, stop assuming that the only people who might want to support some of these lovely lady streamers are either kids or lonely dudes. This isn't the case. Next, if you're really concerned about kids seeing this stuff and then running off to get credit cards to tip, please remember that you can basically put ANY word in front of "Tube.com" and find free ACTUAL porn. If youngsters (or these "lonely males") are really dying to find some titties, I'm certain they know where to go to find them without having to steal from their parents or bankrupt themselves. Also, before you go blaming any broadcaster for the content they put out in channels usually rated for mature audiences, please take a moment to ask yourself "where are their parents?" I don't see people getting upset over the vulgar conversations or content in many male-run streams, but you see the top part of a tit in a woman's stream and suddenly you're screaming for the safety of our little future leaders. Bottom line, to me, it's the parent's job to police their children's internet activity. Not ours.
So, to summarize, if you don't have anything nice to say, just shut the fuck up.
Go meditate, get some exercise, smoke some weed, whatever - I don't care, just do anything that doesn't involve bringing others down.
Have a dope day and remember to keep an open mind.
(Photo Credit: Kristina Flour on Unsplash)