Dec 14th, 2018, 01:39 PM

The Female Perspective of Streaming on Twitch

By Sami Claire
Female gamer. Image credit: Pixabay/Crazygoat
Inside peek about streaming with Little_Pandaa and LillyVinnily.

Twitch is an online live streaming and digital broadcasting platform, largely used for gaming. Streaming, is when a creator simultaneously records and broadcasts their content in real time to their audience. It is accompanied by the creator's commentary and the audience's live reactions within a chat room located on the channel. Twitch and the potential major success of streaming was recognized by Amazon and was acquired for $970 million in 2014. In the last months of 2018 Twitch has had massive growth in other content and communities such as art, music, talk shows and IRL (in real life). The gaming world has been a predominantly male dominated industry, making a large percentage of Twitch viewership come from men, yet women are continuing to break down the barriers and make their presence known. I was able to interview two streamers, Little_Pandaa, who is a Twitch Affiliate, and LillyVinnily, a partnered streamer, about their experience on Twitch and how they deal with trolls, and the "Gamer Girl" stereotype.

Twitch logo. Image credit: Wikimedia/Zziccardi

How did you get into gaming? How did you discover Twitch?

LittlePanda: "My brother was a massive influence for my love of gaming, there is a 13-year age gap between us; I grew up sitting on his bed watching him play a large variety of games. When I was finally allowed to play those games with him, it almost instantly became an obsession. I discovered Twitch when a friend mentioned it was an easier way to watch most tournaments. Twitch became my go to platform."

LillyVinnily: "I have been a gamer my entire life. I discovered Twitch through an old boyfriend of mine. He recommended the site while showing me a game he wanted to see me play. He thought it was something I would love doing and he was right. After seeing a few Twitch streamers and how much fun they were having, the connection they shared with so many others drew me in."

LillyVinnily playing Red Dead Redemption 2 live on Twitch. Image credit: Sami Claire.

People say “Streaming is so easy” what is your opinion on this?

Little_Pandaa: "I definitely had this misconception that streaming was easy before I actually started doing it. A few months down the line and, oh my, how my views have changed. As I became more involved in operating my stream, I realized it’s not just ‘playing a game while others watch’, it’s hard work. Staying upbeat and happy when you have a live audience can be exhausting, especially if you’ve had a bad day. I definitely wasn't prepared for it when I started but now after a few months I can’t  imagine life without it. I look forward to spending time with my audience at the end of my day."

LillyVinnily: "People think streaming is easy. They think playing games online is the easiest job in the in the world. “You have no deadlines, no schedule, no commitment, your just playing games” I have heard this before. As a full-time streamer, it requires work. I have deadlines on commissions, I have deadlines and events to plan. I have a schedule that I follow like any other career. I have a commitment to my community to provide the best content to play for my viewers and to keep them engaged on my site."

Little_Pandaa before going live on Twitch. Image credit: Little_Pandaa.

How have you been able to deal with trolls on the platform?

Little_Pandaa: "I have been extremely lucky with the trolls. Don’t get me wrong, they happen and they will come into your channel and try and ruin your day, but I’m very lucky to have a great set of moderators which usually deal with them as quickly as possible. There have been a few cases where said trolls have directly messaged me to try and get some kind of reaction but I’ve learnt that it’s best to ignore them."

LillyVinnily: "Trolls are nothing new to the Twitch Platform and they are evolving everyday. I have been able to deal with them by not letting their words affect me and banning them from my community forever. A troll is trying to get a rise out of you. A troll will try anything to make you feel awful. Their opinion doesn't matter to me. I know who I am at the end of the day and I am at peace with every inch of myself. But banning is an effective way to squish out any bad apples in the group. I don't need that toxic behavior in my positive community."

Little_Panda has a countdown clock on her Twitch profile, counting down to her next live stream. Image credit: Little_Panda.

Is there a lot of discrimination towards women in gaming and streaming?

Little_Pandaa: "A lot has changed in the past couple of years. There are definitely people that still don’t believe women belong in gaming but I find that most are extremely accepting of it and actually welcome us into the scene. There is still a stereotype of women in gaming, and it gets worse when looking at female streamers. Female streamers are still seen as attention seeking and unfortunately this is true in some cases, but the lovely ladies I’ve met in streaming and in gaming prove otherwise."

LillyVinnily: "I've had my fair share of discrimination in gaming and streaming, whether it be direct or indirect. There is this stigma that women have more viewers than men - which has been proven false on several occasions. “Women are stealing our viewers;” “this girl sucks at games;” “TWITCH THOTT;” “Slut” - the list can go on. We are judged from our looks (either too sexy or not sexy enough) we are judged on our gameplay (whether it be a casual play through or hardcore gaming) our personalities (either we are too boring, too excited, or too something else that doesn't fit the “gaming world”)."

"It's 2018 and it’s time to make sure the industry matches to the times."

Do you think that gaming has become more welcoming?

Little_Pandaa: "Yes and no. Yes, in the way that more females are being welcomed into the gaming industry, not just as gamers but casters, streamers, reviewers and much more. Games are now introducing strong female protagonists and are seemingly trying to invite a larger pool of people in general. However, there are still a select few that do see anything female gaming related as us seeking attention."

LillyVinnily: "I think that the gaming industry has had some minor advancement in its male dominated areas, but still has a long way to go. Yes, women are a bit more recognized for their talents in the gaming world, but there are still some questionable things going on that make me question what year it is."

LillyVinnily's page profile as she is offline. Image credit: LillyVinnily.

What changes would you like to see in the industry?

Little_Pandaa: "In all honesty this is a difficult question to answer. I do believe the industry is going in the correct direction; they are starting to address the gamers not as male gamers and female gamers, but instead just gamers."

LillyVinnily: "I want women to pursue their passions. I want women to be happy. I want an industry that sees the wonderful things women can add to gaming content - whether its streaming, becoming a game developer, game informer hosts, a competitive league and so on. I want them to feel safe and equal to any man in the industry. It's 2018 and it’s time to make sure the industry matches to the times."

LillyVinnily Playing Pokémon Go: Let's Go Eeeve live on Twitch. Image credit: Sami Claire.

What has your experience been with playing online as a woman?

Little_Pandaa: "Online anything can be either very fun or an extremely hard pill to swallow. Some days I will log on and have an absolutely fantastic night in whatever game I chose, where I am able to freely communicate and just enjoy the game. While other nights as soon as I greet my team on chat, a select few will make small comments that get under my skin, for example a guy was constantly complaining that my girlish voice ‘was making his ears bleed’ and that I please need to leave the game because I am going to drive him into an early grave."

LillyVinnily: "Honestly it really relates to what I stated earlier. I feel very discriminated being a woman and playing games, especially FPS (First Person Shooters). I get my name dragged through the mud if I did badly. I get my name dragged through the mud if I did amazing. I'm called a slut, a hacker, a bitch and whatever crude name they can think of. I physically cannot win in this scenario. I can't believe people get this upset over nothing. Sometimes I really love seeing a guy get so bent out of shape when I destroy him in an FPS. Sometimes I really love doing terrible when they are already yelling at me and they get angrier and blow up. But that depends on my mood and how they wanna start the conversation with me."

How are you working to overcome stigma in the gaming industry?

Little_Pandaa: "I’m not actively working on the said stigma. I find that I personally choose to do what I love, and what I love to do is play games and talk to groups of people I don’t know. I do my best to treat everyone equally and I never want to make a big deal whether gamers are males or females. I would love to reach a point where gender isn’t even in question."

LillyVinnily: "I continue to do the best I can everyday. I really try to not let the stigma get to me. I will continue to do the things I enjoy and I won't feel bad about it. Life is too short to let someone dictate what I should and should not be interested in. I love video games. I love streaming. I love myself and I continue to show people this type of attitude and hope that it catches on."

Little_Pandaa Playing Overwatch live on Twitch. Image credit: Sami Claire.

How do you feel your experience on Twitch/as a streamer has changed you and your perception?

Little_Pandaa: "Streaming has had such a huge impact on my life in such a small amount of time. I always used to be slightly socially awkward and extremely nervous around people, but now I feel much more confident in social environments. I feel as if for the first time in my life that I am able to start conversations, as well as hold them. I feel much more confident in myself."

LillyVinnily: "My experience on Twitch has made me a better person. I can honestly say that. I use to be very shy, sensitive and unsure of myself. Everyone has always judged me for the things I enjoy or the way I look/dress. I was always the weird girl, even throughout college. Twitch helped me get a better understanding of myself and let me be someone I love being. I don't hate myself anymore. I am comfortable in my own skin. I want everyone to experience that."

What advice would you give someone who wants to join the industry, but is intimidated?

Little_Pandaa: "Don’t be! Yes, there are a select few who will be troublesome, but at the end of the day why should we sit back and let the boys have all the fun? It is such a fantastic industry and no one should be scared to enter into the industry of their choosing. It’s an industry where it doesn't matter what your age, gender, race or anything is, it’s so accepting and where everyone can be exactly what they want to be."

LillyVinnily: "Do not be intimidated, do what you love and continue enjoying the things you like. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can't do something. Get out there and pursue your passions. For every horrible person, there are ten great people who will be there supporting you."

Little_Pandaa can be found on Twitch , YouTube and Twitter.

LillyVinnily can be found on Twitch, YouTube and Twitter.