The dark side of Twitch: Harassing female streamers

This morning I hopped onto Twitch while enjoying a coffee and bagel and popped into one of the top streams this morning, which of course was a League of Legends stream. I don’t particularly find League of Legends streams interesting, but I put it on just for something in the background.

This morning I witnessed first hand one of the most horrid and disgusting aspects of the Twitch community, and the internet connected gamer community. The streamer was showing cleavage, but it wasn’t anything extreme. She just happened to be larger than average, but she wasn’t wearing anything you wouldn’t see out on the town or in the mall.

The users in the Twitch chat, however, seemed to see the fact that this woman was attracting a large audience as something to take extreme offense too. They spammed the chat with insults like “You suck at gaming, slut”, “kill yourself slut”, “you’re a whore”, “no one cares about you, only your boobs”, etc. There were also those trying to rally everyone to either spam the channel or leave the channel, because apparently the female body is just too offensive to handle while watching a video game.

Now, I know that Twitch recently adjusted its guidelines to try to prevent ‘sexually suggestive’ streams, but I don’t think this particular streamer was trying to take advantage of the system. Even if they were, the chat reaction was entirely unnecessary and completely offensive. It’s something I expect to see on 4Chan, and it’s sickening even there, but not something I ever expected to see in something more mainstream such as Twitch.

I know this stuff happens all the time on Twitch, YouTube, Tumblr and elsewhere on the internet, but this morning was the first time I watched something like this happen live. It was appalling. I tried ignoring and reporting as many users as I could for spam and harassment but for every 10 I ignored 20 took their places.

I’m not quite sure what can be done to prevent these things from happening. The internet is a place where all kinds of terrible things are said on a daily basis and people don’t realize that these blurbs of text can and often do have real world consequences for those on the receiving end. This sort of behavior needs to stop. It’s not okay. We all need to appreciate each other and respect each other, whether it’s on Xbox Live, Twitch or anywhere else. It’s the human thing to do, and we all are human even if there’s a machine in between us. Act like it.