Even in 2023, women are still underrepresented on Twitch and less successful than their male counterparts. But even those who make it to the top often face numerous hurdles along the way. MeinMMO author Lydia took a closer look.
what is the situation As of December 2022, Twitch had 7.03 million active content creators. The most successful of them have millions of followers and reach tens of thousands of viewers on average.
However, a look at the Twitch top lists is always sobering, because it shows how much the streaming platform is still dominated by men.
There are many women on Twitch who are worth watching. You can see one of them in our interview:
Twitch in numbers
How does the data look? Currently there is not a single woman in the top 3, top 10 or even in the top 50 of the most watched channels worldwide (via sullygnome).
The most watched streamer right now is Abril “Ari Gameplays” Garza Alonso. It achieved a watch time of 533,886 hours in the last 7 days. For comparison, that’s about 1/7 hours watched by #1, Raúl “Auronplay” Álvarez Genes. He only streamed an hour more.
In total there are only 4 women in the top 100: Next to Ari Gameplays there are Vicky Palami, Amouranth and Kyedae. At times, Amouranth or the German streamer HoneyPuu were the only women represented.
How is the situation in German-speaking countries: Actually a little better, because HoneyPuu still makes it to 10th place, closely followed by Reved in 11th place.
A German streamer is currently the most watched woman on Twitch – even displacing Amouranth
women are underrepresented
Why is that? The question of why cannot be answered in such a general way. It is striking, however, that according to data from the StreamScheme site, 65% of Twitch users are male, only 35% are female – other categories were not recorded (streamscheme.com).
It is quite possible that male viewers identify more with male streamers and female fans more with streamers. Even then, there should be at least 35 women in the top 100, which isn’t the case.
In addition, the audience of an Amouranth should also be male.
So is it the content of the streams? It certainly cannot be said that male streamers simply produce better content and are therefore more successful. A common accusation is that women don’t show “real gaming” and are more likely to be in other categories.
But the Just Chatting category is by far the most watched category on Twitch. If only streamers were actually hanging around there, they would have to be represented more often in the leaderboards.
Instead, some of the biggest male streamers like KaiCenat, xQc, EliasN97, and MontanaBlack also frequent it (via sullygnome).
Still, category could play a role: many of the most popular games on Twitch, such as LoL, CS:GO, Fortnite, and FIFA, have a predominantly male playerbase. This also results in many male streamers and viewers. Conversely, the predominantly male viewers on Twitch ensure that these categories remain particularly popular.
Other areas, however, are dominated by women: especially in the Vtube scene, where content creators do not appear with a facecam but with an animated avatar, female avatars are more common and more successful than male ones (via dexerto).
Even beyond Twitch, women often don’t have it easy in the gaming industry.
Streamers have to overcome many hurdles
How is the situation for women? Difficult. Because women are not only underrepresented on Twitch. Once they have managed to assert themselves in the “men’s club”, they often face completely different hurdles.
Because women who appear in public often have a much higher pressure to conform to traditional beauty standards than their male counterparts: conventionally attractive, well styled and preferably smiling.
If a woman then appears without make-up, well-meaning comments quickly come up that she might need a break, that she looks a bit ailing – or spitefulness: That’s what she looks like, you like that kind of thing?
Twitch streamer Pokimane wants to fight back against haters – only makes things worse
You can’t win on Twitch as a woman
What problems are there? In addition, streamers are actually constantly being sexualized. If you look at the most popular clips of male streamers, you can see particularly cool, funny or even embarrassing moments. In the case of streamers, on the other hand, there are rows of clips in which they are standing up, leaning forward, perhaps a snippet can be seen.
There is also an endless loop of sexist comments: There are lewd comments disguised as compliments, unpleasant teasing and derogatory comments.
What’s particularly difficult is that you can’t actually win as a woman. If a streamer shows skin, comments immediately hail that she obviously wants to be sexualized. However, when the streamer, who just turned 17, recently shared a picture in which she’s wearing rather loose-fitting clothes, she was immediately accused of looking like a boy (via Twitter).
The YouTuber Gnu also recently shared in a video in which she addresses the topic: When she realized that many of her outfits and movements were sexualized, she began to wear increasingly baggy clothing such as hoodies. But then her face was simply placed on naked bodies using editing software.
In her video, she goes further into how far the sexualization of streamers goes:
Twitch streamer Gnu is disgusted by content about her on reddit – ‘There are no limits’
So there is still a long way to go before women are not only more visible on Twitch, but can also feel comfortable there without being constantly reduced to their appearance.
The subject is complex and one could endlessly say more about the situation of women in the gaming industry in general and developments over the last few years. The observations presented here are just a small sample of what it means to be a woman on Twitch in 2023.
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