Tyler Blevins aka Ninja, one of the most popular Fortnite streamers on Twitch right now has recently been in the news for his somewhat controversial decision to not play with female streamers.
Naturally, a lot of people had an opinion about this and not all of them were in Ninja’s favour. Many people called his decision sexist, misogynistic and even described what he’s doing as a form of bullying via exclusion. And whilst what he’s chosen to do could be interpreted as all of those things, there is more to the story than just a simple “no girls allowed” rule.
The main reason behind Ninja’s choice was actually to protect his wife, who also streams on Twitch, from potential drama and rumours that could have been damaging to their relationship. During an interview with Polygon he stated, “If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever.”
I understand why Ninja may have thought his decision was in his wife’s best interest as well as the potential streamers that would of been on his channel. To protect them from the influx of online badgering and rumours is noble, but decisions like that can be harmful. It encourages a mindset that the streamers themselves are the issue here and not the people in the community who are blowing things out of proportion. Making a blatant decision to not include women on his channel is putting the power right into those people’s hands instead of taking it away.
I don’t think Ninja’s decision was a sexist one despite what a lot of people are saying and it’s completely understandable that his approach to dealing with the beast that is online harassment was to eliminate the thing people are making such a big deal out of. I just think there were so many other ways to go about it that wouldn’t of been as harmful.
It’s already hard enough for women in the Twitch community. They’re subject to constant harassment and abuse from ignorant viewers simply for being women. It’s honestly a big reason I personally stay away from online multiplayer games, the harassment just isn’t worth it. In fact, popular streamer Annemunition even put out a video not too long ago on Twitter that brought to light all of the nasty, misogynistic comments she’s had to face on a regular basis while playing games. I highly recommend checking it out, even if it is hard to resist the urge to throw your laptop across the room.
The point is, female streamers are not the problem here. The problem is the toxicity and naivety within the community that make it harder for those women to enjoy what they do and have the freedom to play a game with someone of any gender without being subject to so much scrutiny.
I’m not a Twitch streamer, I don’t know what it’s like to experience problems like this first hand and I realise it’s not an easy one to solve. All I’m saying is that, more focus should be put on making the Twitch community and the gaming industry as a whole feel safer and more welcoming for women instead of doing things that further exclude them from opportunities.
I hope you found this article somewhat insightful and I’d love to hear your opinions on the story as well, in the comments below.