r u a grl?
It used to be the most frequently asked question I've received while playing online games, followed closely by:
why can't i see ur boobs
Being an avid League of Legends player, I've always wanted my own Twitch channel. It would be a lot of fun to show off my Teemo support style, discuss strategy, and have fun conversations about the game. Unfortunately, on the internet, you're a person until they find out you're a girl. On Twitch, they can hear my voice and I can't hide who I am.
I've put that dream on the shelf for now until I feel like I can come up with a better way of dealing with harassment. Unlike the subtlety of person-to-person interactions (which can be irksome, but very manageable for the most part), harassment in your own stream is as raw as it gets. Imagine seeing the comment "let me see ur boobs" hundreds of times. Nobody really cares about your strategy or skills as a girl streamer because you're not really a person to them.
Motherboard had a great article review on this issue recently, which shows how much of a widespread issue this is for female streamers on Twitch. Granted, the data is from 2014, but I (personally) don't feel like anything has changed since then. Basically, the paper reveals that there is indeed a huge gender disparity between the comments on male and female streams. A quote from Nakandala et al:
Here we analyze more than one billion chat messages from Twitch, a social game-streaming platform, to study how the gender of streamers is associated with the nature of conversation. Using a combination of computational text analysis methods, we show that gendered conversation and objectification is prevalent in chats. Female streamers receive significantly more objectifying comments while male streamers receive more game-related comments. This difference is more pronounced for popular streamers.
At least I feed validated and am happy that Twitch has a neat anti-harassment toolkit, but it still doesn't mean female gamers get the same respect as their male counterparts. And although this is a wide-spread issue, I'm more concerned about what it means for me and how I can adapt.
My favorite way to deal with things I dislike (AHEMMM POLITICS) is humor! Make it funny, make it laughable. Troll the ever-loving shit out of them. As a start, I've made myself a nice bingo sheet for the comments I receive! I thought other female gamers could appreciate using it too.