So, hot tub streams on Twitch is a thing now.
I know talking about this topic may come off as a little too late as most of the hoopla over it has already died down. It’s been just over a month since the uproar over Twitch allowing women to start going live on their site just in their bikinis while wading in some kind of inflatable pool or a hot tub. I meant to talk about this while it was all happening and give my reaction but I wanted to *ahem* study the topic in-depth before I give my snap judgement on the entire Twitch hot tub debacle.
Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a brief summary of the entire Twitch hot tub “meme” situation. Twitch started out as a streaming site where gamers could play games and everyone could watch them play. Think of it like backseat gaming but on a global level. Twitch then slowly allowed other things to be shown on their site other than games. One of these offshoots is the Just Chatting category. Just as the category says, this is just a channel where a streamer can just go online and talk to people from all over the world via the chat. This led to some gamers switching over to this category from time to time as they were comfortable to shoot the breeze with their fans. Very innocent so far.
But the wholesomeness couldn’t last for long.
There were some female streamers who, in an attempt to get more viewers, would start wearing skimpy outfits on the stream. Twitch did crack down on them for a while but things changed when Twitch changed their rules to allow streamers to wear swimsuits provided it was appropriate for the situation. This meant it was okay for bikini clad women to stream as long as they were on the beach or in pool. Basically, as long as it made sense for that person to wear a swimsuit and he or she wasn’t just pandering to the lowest common denominator, Twitch said it was fine.
This led to a huge loophole and female streamers like Amouranth and IndieFoxx started doing their Just Chatting streams while either near a pool or an inflatable kiddie pool. As it was technically okay to wear a skimpy bikini during those situations, they managed to continue streaming while in their skimpy bikinis and they eventually got a loyal fanbase. There were times when they would get banned or not allowed to show ads but things would usually resolve themselves and they would be back to to their old tricks.
Because more and more female streamers were copying the strategy Amouranth was using, things were getting a little too much for the regular Just Chatting category as this was the only place you could find them in! Twitch decided to take the odd approach of creating a totally new category, separate from the Just Chatting folks. This new category would be suitable for the bikini-wearing streamer crowd Twitch unintentionally created. They made the Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches category.
It was obvious not many people were going to be happy with this development. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly pleased by it myself… but not for the reason you may think. My initial take on the new category was how Twitch was abandoning their gaming roots! The reason why Twitch became a thing in the first place was because they created a platform for gamers to broadcast their gameplay as well as get other gamers from all over the world to watch them play. A woman wearing a skimpy bikini is so far and away what Twitch originally was!
However, that was just my knee-jerk reaction. That was also my reaction to the entire Just Chatting thing as well. I did eventually catch myself as almost being a hypocrite as I was overjoyed when Twitch started streaming the Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting series. Watching Bob Ross start from a blank canvas and create beautiful works of art while encouraging viewers to follow along felt satisfying. So, if I was okay with Bob Ross painting, an endeavor that had nothing to do with gaming whatsoever, why would I be so upset if the Just Chatting crowd and the bikini babes by the pool are also not gaming?
The issue is a little more deep than just Twitch not focusing on gaming content, though. A lot of the controversy revolves around the sexual nature of women frolicking around in their bikinis on a site that used to be all about gaming. This, for the most part, I understand why some people are riled up about the Hot Tub meme. There’s a decidedly sexual tone with the Hot Tub streams as the women can do suggestive things that are somehow still within Twitch’s Terms of Service. I’ve seen much worse on other social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, to be honest. I haven’t even mentioned TikTok, the king of propagating suggestive videos! This is why I don’t have an issue with this because, compared to things like TikTok, Amouranth’s streams are tame.
Weirdly enough, this isn’t what a lot of other fellow streamers are up in arms about. What a lot of them are complaining is how this contributes to the pressure of other female streamers to jump on the Hot Tub meme. It also makes the Hot Tub streamers a target for sexual harassment. It is these two points where most streamers have been more vocal about. On the surface, I understand this. There’s always going to be the fear of becoming irrelevant all of a sudden and the social concept to be taken more seriously than just a flesh bag with breasts.
However, if you only go with that line of thinking, it’s obviously going to be a one-sided conversation as you have to take into account the female streamers who already do the Hot Tub streams and *gasp* actually enjoy doing it! Why would it be the business of other streamers how the Hot Tub streamers handle their business? They’re very comfortable with it and they’re making money from it. Why should that be a problem? I also don’t think the argument of getting pressured into doing a Hot Tub stream holds any water because, well, you don’t have to do it. Your fans, if they’re really your fans, won’t require you to do such a thing. They’ll be happy to let you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, whether it be playing video games or just chatting with them. They would want you to be who you are.
Do I personally think the Hot Tub streams are inappropriate, especially while it’s on Twitch? Not really. Like I said, I’ve seen much worse on other video sites which are supposed to feature wholesome content. I do get why people are upset by it as it just comes off as incompatible for a video game streaming site. In the long run, though, who am I to tell streamers what they want to do on their streams? The channel’s been running for a month now so I guess all the rage and fury over it has died down by now anyway. Bikini away, people!
What’s your take on the entire Hot Tub channel on Twitch? Let me know in the comments section below!