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.