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GenderSexuality and Gender

The favouritism of male streamers: Why are women left in the dust?

Twitch is a streaming website and app established in 2011, and bought by Amazon in 2014. The application is highly successful, with an average of 15 million people tuning in each day to watch livestreams on their website. In recent years, this success has only grown larger. The amount of average viewers in February 2021 was more than double when compared to January 2019. This is beneficial to Twitch and Amazon, but maybe even more beneficial to the actual streamers on the site.

Skyrocketing success

It could be said that content creators have ruled the pandemic. And this isn’t even an exaggeration. So many online streamers and youtubers have broken records and gained the attention of millions over the past year and a half. With some reaching peak viewerships of over 200,000 people, and others gaining over 40,000 subscribers in a single stream.

So with numbers like these, you’d expect the platform to have produced many successful female streamers. But in comparison to the men on the app, this is simply not the truth. Channels ran by men top the leaderboards when it comes to viewership, subscribers, and followers.

Gender imbalance

Why do men get more viewers and followers than any other gender on Twitch? Well, a study into the statistics of Twitch as a platform found that 65% of its users are male. So theoretically, if audiences are only watching the gender they identify with, then of course male streamers would be more popular. However, the actual statistics of the sites most popular channels are disproportionate when compared to this.

The top 50 most followed channels on the site are made up of only 2 women, Pokimane and Amouranth. And when it comes to viewership, Amouranth is the only female creator in the top 50 most viewed channels*. Women are simply not succeeding as much as men on Twitch. But why?

Gaming stereotypes

It may be due to societal stereotypes. Twitch is mainly used to stream video games. Most games have historically been marketed towards boys. And terms such as ‘gamer girl’ alienate women who enjoy these things. Girls are often questioned on if they play these games for themselves, or for male attention. This may mean that less women want to sign up to twitch, through fear of being judged. Also, the predominantly male audience may believe this stereotype, meaning they won’t watch female streamers.

Harassment and sexualisation

It may also be due to the stigma that comes with being a woman on a streaming service. The sexualisation and harassment of female streamers continues to be a persistent issues.

When streamers such as Pokimane prefer not to make sexual content, viewers criticise her. However, when streamers such as Amouranth embrace their sexuality and create more explicit content, they’re harassed for it.

It seems like a losing game for women on Twitch, as no matter what they do, they’ll receive significantly more hate than men.

Streamer LuLuLuvely and many other women on Twitch have also spoken out about objectification on the platform. The Apex streamer recently tweeted about the support she lost after viewers found out she was in a relationship. Fellow female creators such as Pokimane and Kruzadar responded in support, alongside many others sharing their stories.

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This further shows that women are only valued in media when they can be seen as sexual or dateable. It seems these content creators will only have the success their male counterparts do if they’re desirable to a male audience. This is a narrative that desperately needs to change.

The problem with Twitch

So how is twitch combating this problem? Well, they’re certainly trying, with banned words including derogatory terms towards women. However, these are not being enforced with a lot of strictness, and Twitch itself is not promoting respect towards their female creators.

The site received backlash in December last year when a new policy against discrimination and harassment was out in place. The policy banned streamers from saying certain words. On the surface, this seems like a great thing, however, it focused on male centric insults, such as ‘incel’ and ‘simp’.

This was criticised by many, as it was being punished a lot worse than insults against women. Some female streamers, such as Justaminx, were actually on probation from streaming after saying the words. To many this felt counterproductive, and posed as a way to further cater to male users on Twitch.

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Conclusion

So how can this change? Well, until Twitch makes actual structural changes to support and protect women, the most you can do is support your favourite female creators.

So feel free to comment your favourite female twitch streamer! And visit the channels of any that are mentioned. To start it off, I’m going to link the channels of some of my favourite female/non binary streamers below!

Nihachu: https://www.twitch.tv/nihachu

BrookeAB: https://www.twitch.tv/brookeab

TinaKitten: https://www.twitch.tv/tinakitten

Snifferish: https://www.twitch.tv/snifferish

VGumiHo: https://www.twitch.tv/vgumiho

*Statistics reflecting August 2021 only

NME.com: { https://www.nme.com/news/gaming-news/twitch-to-ban-words-like-simp-and-virgin-as-insults-2840798 }

Dextero.com: { https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/lululuvely-pokimane-blast-viewers-who-shame-twitch-streamers-relationships-1618426/ }

Twitchmetrics.net:

{ https://www.twitchmetrics.net/channels/viewership }

Twitchtracker.com: { https://twitchtracker.com/channels/most-followers }

Investopedia.com: { https://www.investopedia.com/investing/how-does-twitch-amazons-video-game-streaming-platform-make-money/#streaming-the-esports-traffic }

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