In today’s society, there are a lot of political and moral topics that can really get people’s blood boiling. One of these major contentions is beginning to blow up in the gaming community in a big way: female gamers. With so many loud opinions and accusations of sexism flying left and right, I wanted to offer up my viewpoint as a female gamer and streamer myself. I understand that this viewpoint may not be the most popular one, and that’s okay; I just wanted to put my two cents in on the matter to show that there are genuine differences in opinion amongst the female gaming community, it’s just that some have a tendency to yell louder than the others. One of the leading issues in this conflict is that people are operating under the assumption that all female gamers/streamers desire the same things and all want to be interacted with in the same manner. On the contrary, that’s not the case. For this particular article I’m going to specifically be addressing female streamers, and in that community I’ve found that there are two main groups: entertainers and gamers.
In order to talk about this topic effectively, I need to be completely transparent with where I stand on this spectrum and my journey to this point. I have been streaming since March of 2016 and I currently have roughly 1200 followers on Twitch. Obviously, I by no means consider myself a big voice in the streaming community. I know my own personal reality: I’m a small streamer, trying to connect with others just as many streamers are. Over this time period, I’ve seen so many female streamers have their communities explode in numbers practically overnight. I’ll be real here, I’ve definitely had moments of jealousy. I was happy for them, but also tried to analyze why the same wasn’t happening for me as well. When I took a closer look, I came to realize that trying to compare my community growth to someone else’s was a completely misguided notion, not only because everyone has their own unique draw and way of doing things, but also due to another simple aspect: a difference in priorities. This difference in priorities is the main deciding factor categorizing female streamers into either entertainers or gamers. For the record, I’m not talking about the general title of “gamer”, as far as I’m concerned if you have a passion for video games then that makes you a gamer no matter who you are. I’m using the term “gamer” to help differentiate specifically for this particular discussion.
Personally, I had to step back and take a look at my own priorities. In some self reflection, I came to the conclusion that I specifically wanted to meet and connect with people who share my love for video games and want to hang out together. The people I want my community filled with are those who want to be a family and respect one another: people who are brought together by shared passion and form friendships out of those similarities. The focus of my stream and community isn’t specifically supposed to be on me as a person, but rather the building of a group with shared interests and support as a whole. When streamers have those sorts of goals it takes a lot longer to build that foundation. I personally consider myself to fall under the gamer section of the streaming community. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the entertainment side of streaming, I’m just saying that’s not my focus. In general, there is a greater call and draw for the female entertainers of Twitch/Youtube/ect due to the fact that they are entertainment platforms first, and gaming community resources second. Because of this fact, the entertainers of these platforms are going to have a much easier time finding quick success and growth of their personal communities.
Let me give a little bit more explanation on the entertainment side for those who may not quite understand what I’m referencing. Please don’t in any way take this as me bashing anyone. Just because I may not agree with these methods for myself doesn’t mean that I am looking down on anyone else or saying that their influence is illegitimate. In the streaming industry, being a girl automatically gives you more of a draw because you’re the more unique commodity. However with that being said, not all female streamers are going to be the same in the type of attention that they’re looking for. Some are specifically looking to draw in sexual attention, to be flirtatious with their community, and use their body as a streaming tool. I’m not saying that women on the other side of the streaming spectrum don’t have pride in how they look. My hope is for every girl to be comfortable in her own skin and be proud of herself. But women on the entertainment side of streaming use their body to draw in a crowd and maintain interest. When you hop on their channel you know the type of attention being sought after. You can see where the priorities of these streams lie when you see their patreon accounts advertising for naked or lingerie-clad photos and videos of themselves for their supporters. There’s a fine line between entertaining gamers and entertainers who happen to play video games. Now before you try to execute me for this statement here, let me break this down a little bit more. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing streamers out there who have beautiful hearts, amazing personalities, and are talented cosplayers as well, some of which I even personally watch. But they have built their community around getting attention from their bodies. They may be good at gaming as well, but they fall under the category of entertainer who happens to play video games due to the fact that their main draw, priority of attention, and source of support is through the showcasing of themselves specifically. That’s fine, that’s their choice on how they want to interact with their community and the sort of attention that they want to bring to themselves. But when you decide to have the focus be on your looks rather than the games and shared passion for those games, you’ve become an entertainer who plays video games, rather than an entertaining gamer.
With all of that being said, we’re at a time where the issue of sexism is coming up more and more for gamers as a whole. We have companies trying to desperately make everyone feel included, but in doing so they’re ending up getting a lot of backlash from the gaming community. I can see why this would be very confusing because they’re honestly just trying to help the community as best they can. The issue here is this, these companies have been focusing more on the input of the females on the entertainment side of this industry rather than the females on the gaming side. The females on the gaming side have ideas and desires that are more in line with the other gamers that these companies have as their main customers and community members. So my suggestion to these companies would be that if they genuinely want to bring everyone together and make everyone feel included, to go out of their way to try and find input from the gaming females rather than the entertainment females. I know it’s a little more of a challenge due to the fact that we don’t necessarily try to draw extra attention to ourselves, but I promise you we also have things to say and opinions to give. I mean no disrespect with this statement, but when you look at the streaming community as a whole and look at what the priorities are between the two sides, the entertainers are generally seeking personal attention and attention for their own community while the gamers are the ones focused on the video games themselves and on improving the gaming community as a whole. When we’re running into these issues of sexism in the gaming world, it’s normally due to stereotypes perpetuated by the entertainers, that people then transfer onto and expect from the gamers. So when these companies are looking to help bridge that gap, they really need to keep these differences in mind. We as female gamers are not looking for special treatment. We’re not looking to be given extra, we’re just looking for a way to be included with everyone else and be taken seriously.
All of my love to all of the streamers out there, entertainers and gamers alike. We’re all in this crazy adventure together and I’m so proud of everything we as a collective has accomplished.