And y’all just need to deal with that
Boobs. Boobs! Our first source of peace in this cruel, cruel world and great on a poster or perhaps even a commemorative mug, we all know and love boobs. Well, except for when people who have them take ownership of their bodies, of course. That sentiment has been applied to women for as long as their sexuality has been vilified (read: a long time), but in the late 2010s, it started being applied to femme streamers through a very specific term: boob streamers.
Interchangeable with “titty streamer” or “Twitch thot,” it’s not difficult to guess what the term means. Most often, it’s used to refer to femme streamers who prominently display cleavage in their streams, like Amouranth and famously cat-throwing Alinity. It has been used in gross listicles with titles like “18 Hottest Female Streamers,” by mean crusties on the internet, and, according to a detailed abuse report by GamesIndustry.biz, by male employees at Twitch, who have used the term to refer to women on their platform.
It’s also been used in countless streamer-centric debates online, usually by misogynistic men who ponder why gaming has allowed a convention as supposedly evil as the titty streamer to flourish. These debates conveniently ignore how many male gamers also love to play games with sexy bikini-wearing characters, no matter how impractical said bikini might be. Male gamers have also issued death threats to developers who try to make video game women less unrealistically sexual and have uploaded Twitch streamer deepfakes to porn sites. But the gaming industry still coddles them — generally upholding the idea that men in games should be absurdly jacked (what men want to be) and that women should be obscenely sexy (what men want to have).
In other words, male gamers have created the demand for boob streamers, but when a real, human big-boobied woman uses that demand to her advantage — to get views, to cultivate a subscriber base, or to simply feel good about herself on stream — some start to see boobs as something evil. Something that takes power out of the male viewer’s hands and places it in the palm of the woman streamer. And not everyone can handle that.
“I have been sent unsolicited nude pictures on my socials by viewers, and I have also received unsolicited requests for nudes for money,” Twitch streamer and self-described booby-streamer LuminousSkye told me over email. “I know people who have been outright stalked and threatened with violence. It’s absurd.”
Skye said she was lucky to have a supportive audience that defends her when someone accuses her of “stealing views” with her body. “I display confidence in my body,” she said. “I’m completely unashamed about it, there’s nothing wrong with that. If someone chooses to give me bits or gift subs with the sole purpose of getting something in return, they’re the ones using the platform wrong. Not me. I’m choosing to dress and wear what makes me happy and feel sexy.”
Addressing how “boob streamers” is often used to minimize the work women streamers put in, Skye said that “some streamers who have been miscategorized as ‘booby streamers’ stream for up to 12 hours a day, engaging in conversations and giving pieces of themselves to other people…it’s hard work, even if it isn’t content [everyone enjoys].”
Twitch streamer Ashiirose, who wouldn’t call themselves a “boob streamer” but has received harassment on Twitch for being femme-presenting in the past, echoed the sentiment in their email to me. “I find a lot of people assume that just because someone may be pretty, that makes streaming all of a sudden super easy,” Ash said. “In reality, they’re working their asses off.”
And about misogyny on Twitch in general, Ash added, “I’ve had people come to me and be like, ‘I’m so glad you’re not a titty streamer,’ and it’s not the compliment they think it is.”
“I’ve been sexualized during streams when I’m wearing a hoodie, or no makeup,” Ash continued. “It has zero to do with how I look on any given day. I am me regardless of what I’m wearing, and I don’t believe in trying to bring other women down in order to elevate myself.”
And Twitch has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of that fact, prohibiting women-identifying users from showing underboob or nipples, which, as we know from social media content policies at large, are inherently more full of wiles than the elusive male nipple. Meanwhile, women streamers with breasts of all sizes continue to experience violence or threats on the platform, especially if they aren’t white, even after Twitch’s recently updated content policy.
It’s all the more reason why titty streamers are some of the most admirable users on streaming platforms. They’re attuned to what their audience wants, they know how to cultivate their image, and they put long hours into creating engaging content. They’re confident, they’re sure of themselves, and they live through every day of incessant online abuse with glossed lips and perfectly straightened hair. It’s pretty obvious that the best streamers also have huge titties.
[Image credit: HeiligesPannoid]