Home Gender & Sexuality Study Reveals Gender Disparities in Twitch.tv’s Sexualised Content

Study Reveals Gender Disparities in Twitch.tv’s Sexualised Content

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Twitch.tv has rapidly grown into one of the internet’s most popular livestreaming platforms, attracting over 3 million daily viewers internationally. On the site, “streamers” broadcast live content spanning gaming, music, sports, and digital culture and entertainment. But amid rising concerns about sexualized representations on social media, questions persist surrounding the prevalence of sexualised imagery on Twitch.

A recent study sheds light on the sexualised culture prevalent on Twitch.tv, a popular livestreaming platform. This comprehensive analysis delves into the gendered dimensions of sexualization in livestreaming, revealing stark differences in how male and female streamers present themselves and are perceived by the audience.

The study, based on a sample of 1920 Twitch.tv livestreams, categorises content into three levels of intensity: non-sexualized, sexualised, and hypersexualised. Researchers developed an ad-hoc scale to quantify the frequency and intensity of sexualization, considering variables such as clothing, posture, and the evocation of sexual acts. The results indicate a significant disparity in the level of sexualisation between male and female streamers, with women exhibiting higher levels of self-sexualisation.

The findings were published in the journal Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.

According to the researchers, female streamers are more likely to engage in self-sexualization practices. This is evident in the choice of clothing, body posture, and context of their livestreams. Women are often represented in more sexualized roles, a trend influenced by societal norms and media portrayals. This disparity not only shapes gender attitudes but also contributes to the dehumanisation of women and legitimises violence against them.

The study emphasises the potential consequences of exposure to sexualized content on social media, especially for adolescents and young viewers. It highlights the role of digital platforms in perpetuating gender stereotypes and impacting the mental health of young individuals. The sexualized representation of women, often for commercial gain, reinforces gender biases and can lead to harmful perceptions and behaviours among youth.

The research underscores the need for more responsible content management on digital platforms. It calls for stricter guidelines to regulate the portrayal of sexualized content, aiming to foster a healthier digital environment. This includes addressing the subjective and sometimes contradictory guidelines on Twitch.tv regarding clothing and body displays. The study advocates for a collective effort to combat gender-based discrimination and promote equality in digital spaces.

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