InvaderVie (real name unknown), an influencer found on the livestreaming service Twitch.tv came under fire recently for the ‘shocking’ suggestion that content consumers should pay for what they watch.
On the 14th of April, InvaderVie went on to chastise her viewers after experiencing low ‘subs’ and donations (subs or subscriptions are a way for viewers to create an ongoing financial commitment for their favourite content creators). In a clip which has now amassed over 750,000 views InvaderVie goes on to say that viewers who are unable to afford a $5-10 donation should not be watching twitch, and instead should be busy getting a job. She also responds to critics stating that viewers who had jobs and spent everything on necessities such as rent and food were “irresponsible”. What many people don’t realize is that she’s right, there is an issue to address and a lesson to learn here.
While twitch has allowed people all over the world to share the video game experience to a global audience, it has also sadly exploited its streamers by creating an environment where financial support is seen as optional instead of mandatory. This is seen as merely a symptom of a wider problem – women are not seen as equals in the content creation space.
An analysis of top streamers found on the twitch platform we can see that the top 10 is completely dominated by males. This sentiment is echoed in YouTubes top 10 earners list with a Forbes estimate placing just a single woman (A 6-year-old Anastasia Radzinskaya) on its list.
Part of this blame can be put on online content hosting platforms such as Twitch and YouTube for not doing enough to promote female creators more than their male counterparts as compensation for decades of male dominated content.
Controversy has already existed over Youtube’s almighty ‘Algorithm’ that dictates what content will live or die for years now, with recent evidence showing that YouTube has been slowly pushing alt right content as MIT reports – content traditionally associated with white supremacy and incelish women hating ideologies. Twitch, YouTube and other content creation platforms must do their part for equality and promote women to end this wage gap. It’s 2020, this new decade gives us the opportunity to make online systematic oppression of females a thing of the past.
However, despite platform owners having the ultimate responsibility to fix these issues, part of the blame is with the audience itself. Twitch viewers have historically been associated with large scale harassment campaigns especially against women and persons of colour, taking advantage of racist twitch exclusive emojis to drive creators off their platform. This behaviour is nothing new for gamers sadly and part of the reason why women are not earning the full amount they should be entitled to. The issue InvaderVie and other female streamers suffer from stem from the fact their main audience is made of gamers – with racism and sexism so deeply ingrained in their culture it’s no surprise that it is difficult to find enough financial support.
Gamers have not only the responsibility but the obligation to get a job. With the economy in a downturn and a recession all but guaranteed, gamers can no longer rely on parents to support their unhealthy deadbeat lifestyle. Like other entertainment media such as movies and books, there must be an expectation that content needs to be paid for you, otherwise you really can be considered a leech.