My name is Susan, but most online know me as Jagtress. People refer to me as a “nazimod” and, amazingly, this doesn’t bother me. I’ve been a moderator for about three and a half years and enjoy the work, even if it doesn’t pay. For my debuting article, I decided to write about my experiences being a female gamer and streamer.
My introduction to eSports and subsequently Twitch came from Starcraft 2. Because of this, I fell into an uncommon category of female gamers. You see, women who are in the RTS scene tend to thrive on extreme challenges, steep competition, and possess an above average level of determination to succeed. Not only is Starcraft dominated by Korean players, it’s dominated by men who hunger for victory. It is the hardest RTS game on the market, with virtually no competitors to rival its popularity and skill cap. The game’s high level of difficulty is why I love it. It’s not a walk in the park and it requires you to persist, regardless of how many times you are beat down. And in my opinion, it is a game that will consume your life, but will teach you about your mettle.
Because I’m a Starcraft person you can expect a few things like: I don’t back down, I don’t have issue scrapping with the guys, and I don’t take a loss as a reason to quit. When talking with others in the community, I’m actually highly regarded, but not for my game play. I have an undying devotion to the Starcraft scene as a moderator and as a volunteer for eSports events.
The community doesn’t judge me based on my skill, they know me because of my moderating ability, friendly communication, and dedication. Still, I was type casted right from the beginning. Chat made the erroneous assumptions that I fell into a category of gamers that many women fight against: the stereotyped female gamer. These stereotypes include: not being competitive enough, should sexually appeal to the audience, and branded as ‘girl gamers’ or ‘cam girl gamers’ – both being derogatory titles. In order to be classified as ‘real gamers’, women have to fight battles that shouldn’t need to be fought. Thusly, right from the beginning I decided not to fall into those categories, opting for the high road, and doing my own thing.
There are people on Twitch that believe women shouldn’t be competitive because we ‘invade’ their space. Some also believe that women should look a certain way. They have a strange concocted image of what the female streamer should look like, and they operate solely on that assumption. I don’t feel as though there is a specific look I should adopt, but I do make sure that I’m presentable beforehand. Some women will use temptation to their advantage, giving impressions that aren’t actually representative of many women who game. As a result, guys on Twitch can be hesitant to enter a stream if they know you are a female gamer. Thankfully, there are plenty of men who want quality streams, and not ‘cam girl gamers’. (This is something that has improved over time. It’s not perfect but nothing ever is.)
One time, a regular viewer insinuated that I should alter my appearance because it was better, in his opinion, for me to look sexy while having extensive video game knowledge (Because obviously, the reason women stream is get money regardless of the means). In short, my viewers and I both responded with disgust. Twitch chat did the twitch chat thing, and I never saw the guy again. Not only do I not tolerate that kind of thing but, I don’t believe in ignoring the issue either. This is part of why I have the reputation that I do, but I digress…
I’m using that situation as a segway into two major issues. The first is that harassment happens across the internet more than it should. The second is that a person can try to subvert the Terms of Service in order to make more money.
Let’s look at the second issue regarding the Terms of Service (TOS), which every streamer must abide by. Its purpose is to cover Twitch legally, as well as protect their users. As one would expect, there are terms that deal with sexually suggestive apparel. Nudity is prohibited, no surprise there, but even thinking of breaking the TOS is deplorable. I refuse to entertain the idea of a potential IP ban because of suggestive clothing. This is the type of negative stigma that many women deal with, and it needs to change – though the TOS does help.
Going back to the first point of harassment: when whispers were enabled, another form of harassment shone brightly. Before anyone had the chance to do that to me, I turned whispers off. What I’m talking about is “behind the scenes” harassment, and all of us can be subjected to it. With the internet, there is non-stop accessibility to any person, because viewers have access through Facebook, Discord, Twitter, etc… So imagine what happens when you have extremist behaviours from people. They believe themselves to be correct while everyone else is not. At some point in time, harassment crossed over the boundaries into a place that cannot be moderated. When you have direct access to a person via programs like Discord, one can still be a target. I’ve heard stories and even seen first hand situations where someone copied an insult as an excuse to avoid directly using those vulgar words. When confronted about it, the person argued in Twitch chat, instead of in private where it should have remained. It was a blatant attempt to target those involved in the situation, in this case, me. I swiftly dealt with the issue and privately explained to the streamer why I took exception. The issue was that the person disagreed with my viewpoint on the topic, and instead of taking it up with me in private, they used the streamer as a shield.
Another form of harassment comes from your peers. Fellow moderators have gone out of their way to target me because of a difference in opinion. In one scenario, the moderator complained about it in many places. To combat the issue, I voluntarily left the mod only chat so that there wouldn’t be anymore animosity. Unfortunately, a year or two later I heard that this moderator was still hung up on the past, after it had been forgotten. And for whatever reason, channel mods think that they are immune from taking responsibility for their actions. This is equally a terrible assumption, and it shows that harassment also comes from your peers.
These examples are just fractions of what I’ve encountered when dealing with harassment as a female gamer. As moderators, people expect us to “suck it up” because clearly viewers use “trolling” as their shield, and shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions.
The point is, no form of harassment is acceptable. Yet people will use whispers, social media, and streamers to bully female gamers and moderators. Trolling is usually the way they shield themselves from timeouts or bans, and they feel as though they have the right to harass anyone. Because of that, I’m regarded as a “nazimod”, when I am actually a reasonable person. I want the chat to be fun because then I can enjoy the stream too. We are on Twitch because we love gaming just as much as you do. Sometimes we are still regarded as fake, regardless of our credentials, but it’s improving. I mean, is it too much to ask to be regarded as a real gamer? Or better yet, as a human being?
Until next time,