Twitch Relaxes Sexual Content Policy Following Backlash To Predatory Female Streamers; “Twerking, Grinding, And Pole Dancing” Now Freely Allowed With No Content Labels

Twitch.tv official logo / Twitch streamer Morgpie dances after receiving a donation
Twitch.tv official logo / Twitch streamer Morgpie dances after receiving a donation

If a site with a primarily teenage user base were to receive a bevy of complaints against an invasion of unrelated users preying on those same users with their sexuality, one would expect them to take some action to retain the integrity of the operation.

That is, unless the site were Twitch, as rather than respond to a new round of complaints against their continued compromising of their sexual content policies in favor of cashing in on the behavior of predatory female streamers by fairly enforcing their own rules, the purported video game streaming platform has instead heavily relaxed them.

Juliet (Tara Strong) gets a phone call in Lollipop Chainsaw (2012), Kadokawa Games
Juliet (Tara Strong) gets a phone call in Lollipop Chainsaw (2012), Kadokawa Games

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The current round of criticism against Twitch was sparked after a number of users took notice of the fact that, in a natural progression of the platform’s already egregious allowance of hot tub and bikini streams, some female streamers had taken to streaming – or at least appearing to stream – completely topless.

While many such streamers have been highlighted as engaging in this practice, three in particular have found themselves as the ‘face’ of this latest backlash: Asianbunnyx, whose account Twitch has reportedly begun promoting to more and more users who don’t regularly engage with this sort of content , Strawberrytabby, whose engagement in this practice was particularly blatant, and MorganPie, a video of her shaking her seemingly bare breasts for tips serving as the main lightning rod for users’ criticism.

Following nearly a week of users calling for action against this blatant exploitation of Twitch’s primarily teenage male user base, the streaming platform’s administration finally decided to take action – However, rather than choose to actually implement their own sexual content policies, they instead chose to heavily, heavily relax them.

Officially updating said policies on December 13th, Twitch explained that, in the main divergence from their previous rules, “some types of content that were prohibited will now be allowed on Twitch, if appropriately labeled.”

Official art of Swimsuit Layer as she appears in Mega Man X DiVE (2020), Capcom
Official art of Swimsuit Layer as she appears in Mega Man X DiVE (2020), Capcom

Per Twitch, previously banned content now allowed with an explicit ‘Sexual Content’ Label includes:

  • “Content that ‘deliberately highlighted breasts, buttocks or pelvic region,’ even when fully clothed” (this change specifically made because the site found that “the former Sexually Suggestive Content policy was out of line with industry standards and resulted in female-presenting streamers being disproportionately penalized.”)
  • “Body writing on female-presenting breasts and/or buttocks regardless of gender”
  • “Fictionalized (drawn, animated, or sculpted) fully exposed female-presenting breasts and/or genitals or buttocks regardless of gender” – though “fictionalized sexual acts or masturbation remain prohibited”
  • And “Erotic dances that involve disrobing or disrobing gestures, such as strip teases.”
Eliza steps out in Skullgirls: 2nd Encore (2013), Autumn Games
Eliza steps out in Skullgirls: 2nd Encore (2013), Autumn Games

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Further – in a particular boon to the platform’s golden geese – labels are no longer needed for streams featuring “popular dances, such as twerking, grinding, and pole dancing.”

“Previously some dances were prohibited and others were allowed with a label,” recalled Twitch. “Enforcing on dances regardless of context meant our policy prohibited twerking at a wedding or taking a pole dancing exercise class, for example. The policy now takes context into consideration, and only prohibits streaming inside of an adult entertainment establishment.”

Terry Bogard (Chiaki Takahashi) has questions for Mai Shiranu (Ami Koshimizu) about his new appearance in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (2018), SNK
Terry Bogard (Chiaki Takahashi) has questions for Mai Shiranu (Ami Koshimizu) about his new appearance in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (2018), SNK

In terms of video games, the sites administration affirmed that they would “handle nudity in games in two ways.”

“First,” they began, “games featuring nudity, pornography, sex, or sexual violence as a core focus or feature are entirely prohibited. Custom gameplay or visual modifications that include nudity or sex content, including uncensored patches, in otherwise allowed games are prohibited.”

“Second,” they continued, “for games where nudity is not the core focus or feature, the Mature-rated Games Content Classification Label is sufficient for incidental nudity. However, the Sexual Themes Label must be applied to gameplay that focuses on nudity.”

To this end, Twitch additionally warned that “users may not engage in simulated sexual activity or erotic roleplay with other players in online games,” adding, “Games that primarily consist of user-generated content, in-game roleplay, or interactions in virtual reality are not exempt from this policy.”

A mod restores R. Mika's original 'butt slap' Super Arts in Street Fighter V (2016), Capcom
A mod restores R. Mika’s original ‘butt slap’ Super Arts in Street Fighter V (2016), Capcom

Finally, in terms of the platform’s recommendation algorithm, Twitch confirmed that while the application of a Content Classification Label would prevent a stream from being recommended on the site’s front page – excluding the lighter labels of ‘Mature-Rated Games’ (those being games such as Grand Theft Auto V or Persona 5 rather than anything that would classify as solely pornographic) and ‘Profanity’ – they would “not prevent streams from being recommended in the left bar of the homepage, as stream thumbnails are not shown in that section.”

“Viewers can still search for, or go directly to channels they follow that are streaming labeled content via the left bar of the home page, but streams using these labels will not be surfaced in homepage recommendations shelves,” said Twitch. “Making this change helps ensure that viewers will not see content they haven’t consented to seeing.”

Maya (Miyuki Sawashiro) goes on the offensive in Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (2015), Square Enix
Maya (Miyuki Sawashiro) goes on the offensive in Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below (2015), Square Enix

Admittedly, these changes will have positive effects for both art and video game streamers, as it will both allow them more freedom to market and monetize their content – no more fearing that a play through of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash or an ecchi drawing of Street Fighter‘s Cammy White will result in their stream being suddenly struck, for example.

However, given the circumstances that led to their implementation, it’s impossible to not see this move for what it truly is: an excuse for Twitch to continue making money off of its users by way of sexually predatory content.

The series' signature ninjas are ready for some Summertime fun in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (2017), Marvelous Inc.
The series’ signature ninjas are ready for some Summertime fun in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (2017), Marvelous Inc.

And sadly, it appears that won’t be changing any time soon.

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