Monday, October 29, 2018

Twitch and Makeup

So recently, I saw and shared an article about female streamers not wearing makeup and the ensuing drama that unfolded as a result.

I decided not to post it with any kind of caption myself. Not knowing how I really felt about it, I kinda wanted to see if any conversation ensued. 

It did. 

Opinions from women streamers who are completely conflicted. "Is this what we report about female streamers?" "Is there really no other ways for girls to support each other than to use their appearance?" Opinions from guy streamers who think this whole thing is ridiculous that it's getting this much attention. "What's the big deal?" 

I, too, am conflicted. Mostly because by the time I get home, my makeup is gone from when I applied it for work. If I were to stream or pop on to the stream with Breaky, I would probably do my makeup. Why? Well, in case you haven't heard, internet trolls are the WORST. 

We have had our fair share of trolls with Breaky's stream, and especially when he would cast for HoN or Dota 2. So much so that I don't watch chat when he's casting. If there's a WOMAN on stream? Trolls make everything about their appearance. The very few times I pop on to stream on camera on Breaky's stream, comments were made about my weight. I know, I am not a small, tiny woman. Especially now that I'm post-baby, my body is a little, well, mushy. But outside of like 2 individuals who <3 me and I <3 them on his stream chat, that was the only interaction/question/comment directed to me. Is this a fair example? Probably not, as I am not the greatest gamer, and would never claim to be good enough to get paid to do this in my free time, let alone as a full-time gig.

I asked some wonderful ladies who are better at the whole streaming thing than I am.

Current streamer Trulte from

A mom friend of mine, NaCl_Queen

A good friend and former streamer. She wishes to remain anonymous. We will call her A

And current twitch streamer, Mandy

Do you get a lot of appearance-related questions on stream?

Trulte:"I used to get it a lot more when I started streaming. I would have people come into my stream commenting how ugly I supposedly am and I would have people telling me how good looking I am. After streaming for quite some time, and having developed some sort of a community (even tho its very small) , I don't get more than the normal "you look good today" kinda comment."

Mandy: Every single stream there are many comments about my appearance. They range from, you/your makeup looks really pretty today, to wow you look tired, or woah your face looks so serious."

A:  "Absolutely. I think that's the nature of having a webcam involved with the stream. Though in ways it allows me to feel more connected with my viewers, it also opens the doors to commentary about my appearance (good or bad)."

Do you wear makeup on stream?:

Trulte: "I rarely wear makeup on stream to be honest" 

NaCl_Queen: "I had a dual stream with my best friend. We both wore make up. I'm not a full face kind of girl but for stream I would always wear make up. Why? Because that's the norm on twitch. If you don't look nice you get brutalized. On weekends I started streaming with my husband and we would drink and play scary games together. Again, always put on my face. I vividly remember the first time I didn't wear make up to stream, well I probably had some make up on, just not to the extent I usually did. No one said anything. We had quite a few regulars at this point and I don't think one person mentioned my face. It blew my mind. I realized it wasn't necessary for the type of stream style we had going. However, when my best friend and I would do dual streams I was always referred to as 'the ugly one' regardless of my make up so I guess it doesn't really matter in the twitch /streaming world."

Mandy: "I always wear makeup on my stream, but sometimes I wear just a little bit. I’m shy and I know that because of my fair features, bright lights make me look very different and I don’t feel as comfortable streaming that way."

A: "I usually streamed right after work, so whatever I wore to work would carry over to my stream. This meant, I usually was wearing make-up. With that said, there were days I came home and would switch to PJs to relax or weekends I would just roll out of bed and start playing. I definitely received various comments about my appearance doing this - with or without that make-up - compliments and insults. My goal of streaming was never to have people's approval though. In full sincerity, I do not care if someone finds me attractive - I simply want to create an environment where I can enjoying gaming with the community."

What kind of articles would you like to see get a lot more attention in regards to female streamers/gamers: 

Trulte: "I would love to see more articles about girls being good at the games they play, or genuinely funny girls that enjoy what they do. I don't see it as empowering to not wear makeup, not at all. Of course its not easy for everyone to not wear it as they have made it a habit and a mask, but that to me is not empowering. I loved the clip of the girl streamer that has tourettes, and just laughs at it with her viewers. That's what I love the most. Taking what you have, and make the best of it, and not taking yourself so serious all the time. 

Most of the female streamers I follow are usually really good at something. Be it cosplay or gaming. Either is amazing to watch for me and I would love to see more of it. More about the female side of esports too. Few know it exists, and all we always see are these girls using their appearance in some way to gain viewers, and so that's what girls think they have to do. And the few that work hard to actually learn and get good at the game, like myself, end up not being taken seriously which is very frustrating. "

NaCl_Queen: "I feel like if you see articles on female twitch streamers it's always about their appearance. Are they 'titty streamers' with low cut shirts or egirls that got big by screwing some big name male streamer. I wish there were more articles about interesting streams with a good community. I want to find quality female streamers I can relate to. I want articles on up and coming streamers that have sub 500 viewers and why they're interesting that DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THEY LOOK."

Mandy: "I would like to see much more focus on the streamers and their content, rather than how they look. This mostly goes for female streamers. It’s very belittling to be focusing your energy on making awesome content, only to have that content be ignored in favour of focusing on you’re appearance. It makes you feel that people don’t care about what you do, just how you look. Which isn’t right (or true) at all. I think that the more we discuss the impact of focusing on appearance rather than personality or content, the less content we’ll see that focuses on the former. "

A: "Honestly, it truly bothers me that a women choosing to go without make-up on a stream would cause such a spark. This conversation should not be about women being comfortable with or without make-up (because honestly, we should be comfortable wearing whatever we want) - it should be about how close-minded, selfish, and ultimately insecure people still are. What happened with Geguri is another great example of the sexism that exists. Media should aim to represent females roles in the gaming community and support the conversation instead of discussing stereotypes"

Overall, I think the consensus is that we would all love to see female streamers celebrated and watched for content they create and games they are good at. As with the rest of the world, female streamers are all unique and have differing opinions on makeup, which is perfectly normal. They should do what they feel comfortable doing. Should this topic be the most newsworthy when it comes to female streamers? No. I don't think so. Am I glad this article happened? Yes. Hear me out, would we have had this conversation if it hadn't? Sometimes we need a little spark to get the big conversation started. Now that it has, maybe we can start to concentrate on the quality content of all streamers.

I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to make her own decisions that if she wanted to stream her gaming skills online that she would be applauded and encouraged based on her skill level of the games she plays and the content she creates and not how she looks. I hope she looks back and is grateful that these conversations happened, but thankful she didn't have to be a part of it.

So let's go out there and support our fellow female streamers and enjoy the wonderful content they worked so hard to create.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Food Friday for Fall: Apple Picking and Apple Everything

This past weekend we went apple picking. There are many farms in the area, but the one we went to was Gull Meadow Farms, as we have for the past few years. Ironically, both Breaky and I had been, but just never together. Each year, one of us had something else going on when the picking party commenced.

I consider it the start of fall. Whether this was actually planned or not, we actually DID go the first day of fall. The weather cooperated like it was planned: sunny, but in the mid to low 60s (Fahrenheit). It was also BabyCPK's first time at a farm and apple picking. So many firsts in these past few months, it's really hard to keep track.

We got Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, and a few other kinds of apples before calling it good. Breaky and I combined got just about a half a bushel.

Tangent Alert:
I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I hear the words "bushel" and "peck" I immediately think of the song "Bushel and a Peck"

With that many apples, you can imagine I'm scrambling to find and/or create recipes with apples in them. That, and my mid-day snack has been an apple. * Insert joke about an apple a day *

A few nights ago I made a pretty decent bacon-wrapped pork chops with apples with a poor man's risotto.

Last night, I made an apple pie. My recipe for that can be found here. That, however, was for dessert.

For dinner,  I made a Chicken Apple Stir Fry.

I have to admit, I made this recipe from many different recipes on Pinterest, as is my way. Heck, that's how I created my ever-famous Jambalaya recipe.

Here's the "recipe"
(I use "Recipe" loosly, as I kind of guestimate amounts and change things halfway through making it. Aka I wing it)

- 3 carrots
- 2 small zuchinni
- 4 Snack Peppers
- 1/2 packet of mushroom
- Chicken-Cubed-1 cup
- 2 apples-chopped up
- Apple Cider or Apple juice 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- (just a sprinkling) Red Pepper flakes
- Garlic powder to taste
- Minced onion- I dunno, like, 1 tablespoon?
- Cinnamon-Very very light sprinkling.

Drizzle olive oil on skillet or wok. Cook chicken. Remove chicken. Cook carrots, peppers, zuchinni, minced onion and mushrooms until carrots are soft-ish.

In separate bowl, add apple cider/juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and cinnamon and mix.

Add chicken and apples to skillet/wok. Stir together. Add liquid mixture.

Serve over rice. You can use white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, I'm not going to discriminate. All would be really good. You do you.

Turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself. Apple pie for dessert was of course pretty good. Enough about me. Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Esports and Higher Education

So I make no secret that I am a professional in higher education. I try to separate out that part of my life from my blog and twitter, which is normally filled with esports, video games, pics of my baby, etc...

Recent events lead me to see if there was any research on esports and higher education. Surprisingly, there was not as much as I thought there would be. Obviously, the news articles and "experts" flooded the general search, but actual published, researched articles were not as numerous as I had maybe hoped. Most of what I saw related to the sports side of things; considering it a sport, which I believe it is, and how it can benefit intercollegiate sports within higher education.

Part of me now wishes I had waited to do my master's degree so I can write another paper or two about this.

Because while inserting a new sport or program of any kind is a great idea, making it thrive as a part of the university's culture is another. I'm not talking about the student side, which is still important, I'm talking about the nitty-gritty hierarchy, unwritten-rule politics that happens on the back-end.

In esports, as a profession, the political climate is way different than that of a higher education institution. I have seen this first-hand in helping BreakyCPK with his dealings, contracts, negotiations. I have said several times in several different scenarios that things would be handled differently if this was happening in a university setting. Good and bad.

Most publicly funded universities have a set of rules, regulations, processes, oversight etc... that esports just does not have. You have to be so very careful about what goes on during events and online for liability reasons. If anyone affiliated with a university said or did some of the controversial things I have seen professional esports players and streamers do, it would be an absolute nightmare for the university. Even Breaky, I find myself scolding him for things he says in certain ways, worried about potential fallout or repercussion. To which he normally replies, that's just how it is in esports.

Many well-intentioned higher education professionals jump right in to esports, with their eye on keeping up with what students want (recruitment and retention) and making a profit. They will hire either sports professionals who know a little about esports, or hire esports professionals or streamers who know little to nothing about higher education.

The former leads to an abundantly common misspelling of "esports" as "eSports" Ironically, it is the AP Style Guide, a leader in higher education writing standards that settled that argument a year ago:

Many articles I dug up that were positive in nature talked about diversity of students as a result of introducing esports as a sports program. That, plus revenue generation, number boosting and overall increase of morale sets the tone that esports within higher education is a smart move.

Overall, my opinion is, that a well managed esports program at a higher education institution is a fantastic idea. With the proper amount of care, it can be a huge boon to the university. Like a very good football team, it can put the college or university on the map.

Sorry for rambling. I have all these thoughts that I have to stick somewhere. I have a unique insight to both worlds, and to see it become a possibility to merge the two is absolutely fascinating to me at the "data-loving-research geek" level.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When He's Here....But Not "Here"

I was chatting to someone who, I had assumed, I explained everything about what my husband does.

Me-"He's working from 12pm-9pm from this past Sunday to Thursday, so it's been a struggle"

Person-"Oh, he works nights then? Where? Is this a second job?"


Then I forgot that, while she know about the very basics about what my husband does, I obviously hadn't explained what he does when he is not actually traveling for work.

I have made many, many, many, many blog posts about what life's like while Breaky travels for work.

I don't believe (correct me if I'm wrong) I have ever written about what life is like while he's working from home.

So, for those of you who may be new: My husband, BreakyCPK, is an "Esports Broadcaster" or "caster". Meaning, he does play-by-play for online video game tournaments and games. About 16% of that job involves big events to which he has to travel, often internationally. The rest is done at home, in our office, at his computer.

If you've never listened to one of these broadcasts, take a listen:

Now imagine that coming from your basement for hours on end.

I think our baby who is ALMOST 7 MONTHS OLD THE TIME IS GOING BY TOO FAST, is probably used to hearing that from downstairs by now. Honestly, it's probably just white noise to her now.

A gamer in the making!

Some things that people don't realize when I tell them he "casts" from home:

1. Like our daughter, I don't hear the casting from the basement anymore 

It's all just background noise to me now. People who visit? Yeah they notice.

2. Unless there is a life-altering emergency, he cannot stop what he is doing

He can come visit on breaks and stuff, but when those would be? We never really know, and he could be unreachable for 3-4 hours at a time.

3. I prepare meals that can be eaten at anytime.

As mentioned before, he never knows when his breaks are. So neither do I, which means I eat by myself, leaving enough for him to nuke and take downstairs.

4. I will often pop onto the twitch channel to see where they are in the match to get a good idea of how the night will go.

I know enough about the game to know how much longer it could possibly take. Like who's winning, did it just start, am I going to be giving BabyCPK a bath by myself? Am I going to be able to shower today?

5. I get lonely

It's weird. Missing someone who is in the same house as you. I do have BabyCPK, but conversational abilities are a little limited. Although it would be three times more lonely if I didn't have her.