Streaming – How Far Is Too Far?

Floaties and bikinis made their official appearance on Twitch 


Photo by Isaac Le/ SAC.Media

Besides playing video games, watching live-streams on Twitch has become my choice of entertainment and social interaction during this pandemic. The growth of Twitch was obvious because more people are staying home. There are more streamers to choose from under many categories that already exist. Depending on my mood, I can go from an always cheerful Stardew Valley journey to an epic Dungeons & Dragons adventure during any time of the day. However, when Twitch announced its newest category addition, Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches, it felt surreal.   

I remember feeling confused at first, then I began to question the reasons behind this decision. Why did Twitch make a separate and specific category for this topic? Is it because people are finally coming to their senses and practicing social distancing during the pandemic? Is it a seasonal thing since it is almost summer?

I know there was a buzz about people streaming in bikinis inside inflatable pools before this category came to life. I guess it made enough waves (no pun intended) that Twitch created a separate category specifically for it. It now has more than 110K followers and is growing by the hour. Okay, let’s be honest, sex sells. According to Lucy Tesseras’s article on sexism in advertising, “A quarter of all ads that feature women present them in a sexualised way and 85% of the women shown are slim, pretty, usually white, with clear skin and shiny hair.” I am fairly certain if someone intends to sexualize something, it is possibleeven with Tetris. (Which tile are you thinking of?! You dirty-minded person!)

I understand why it is here now but that does not mean I agree with it. I missed it when a streaming platform is all about watching a streamer playing a video game. That is not the case anymore. Sexual innuendo gets brought up here and there, but it gets brushed off casually, which I am fine with. This category makes me appreciate the streamers that stuck with playing video games even more. They are not trying to attract attention and viewers by exposing more skin. Another reason I am not fond of this idea is that female gamers already get belittled and sexualized in the gaming community. 

In an article about sexism in the gaming community, Giorgina Laurel said, “There are also common, derogatory phrases said toward female gamers during play including the term ‘dishwasher,’ telling them to ‘go back to the kitchen’ or even simply assuming just because they’re women they aren’t as skilled.” 

Female gamers are often judged based on their gender. This category would not help with raising that status, I can only wish it would not make it worse.

As far as policy goes, Twitch said, “Our intention with the Sexually Suggestive policy was to draw a line on content that is overtly or explicitly sexually suggestive, not to ban all content that could be viewed as sexually suggestive–but we acknowledge that our rules are not as clear as they could be.”

Then Twitch went on to clarify more by saying, “Sexually suggestive content–and where to draw the line–is an area that is particularly complex to assess…”

The grey area is dangerous and the definition of  “content” is being interpreted differently.

Here is the guideline for streaming under this category, so you know what to expect and what not to expect.  

I truly don’t see any meaningful “content” being created under this category, unless there are meaningful conversations that are happening that I am not hearing. All I am seeing is people in bare minimum clothing and using their “physical assets” to attract attention. Anyway, it looks like the bikinis and swimsuit stream are here to stay. I guess it is always summer somewhere, right?