Olivia R. May 20, 2020
If there's anyone who may be marginalized due to their voice in a video game, it's a female gamer with tourrette's syndrome.
Popular Twitch streamer Sweet Anita isn't only known for her skills in a variety of games like Overwatch, but also her random and often naughty outbursts. Due to tourrette's syndrome, Sweet Anita sometimes doesn't have control of the phrases and insults that can fly out of her mouth. While this can be entertaining for viewers, Sweet Anita has also used her platform as a way to educate others about her condition.
Recently, Sweet Anita decided to weigh in on the ongoing controversy surrounding Twitch's newly formed Safety Advisory Council. Meant to guide the streaming platform in future decisions regarding streamer well-being and matters of diversity and acceptance, the council is already become a possible threat to many gamers due to the recent rantings of council member Steph "FerociouslySteph" Loehr.
A trans rights activist who hepled pave the way for trans individuals on Twitch, FerociouslySteph has been continuously riling people up with her opinion on voice chat in games, especially competitive titles. Her take on voice chat is that it's "unfair." While individuals with "marginalized voices" often do face consequences for talking during a game, the majority of the gaming and streaming community fired back immediately, calling her "mentally ill" and a "nutcase," among othe things.
In response to the hate, FerociouslySteph reported that it was people with "cis white male-sounding voices" that didn't agree with her, since they usually aren't the target of discrimination based on their voice.
This statement got FerociouslySteph even more backlash, with many popular streamers claiming that she was "discriminating" against white men. People called for her to be not only banned from Twitch for hate speech, but dropped from the Twitch Safety Advisory Council, since many felt she was prejudiced against the majority of the platform's users. So far, Twitch has stuck by FerociouslySteph, stating that her safety is their top priority.
With the knowledge that she was not going to be banned from Twitch, FerociouslySteph seemingly taunted those who opposed her, telling them she has "power" they can't take away from her, advising that some who oppose her should be afraid, and calling some gamers "white supremacists."
Streaming community continues to weigh in on FerociouslySteph
As both sides of the voice chat argument continue to rile each other up on Twitter and Reddit, Sweet Anita decided to also give her opinion on the original subject that has since started quite the drama.
In a recent live stream, she explained that you hurt way more people by taking voice chat away than that action would help.
"There are so many people who are too nervous to interact in person, who have anxiety disorders, who have disabilities and can't go down to the pubs... So they play games instead and that's how they make friends. There are for more people who rely on voice chat who are marginalized than those who can't use it," Sweet Anita explained.
She then stated that there are "plenty of things" she can't use or do, but she would feel "arrogant and selfish" if she wanted them taken away from others because of that.
"I don't feel good about trying to take things away from people if I personally struggle to use it," Sweet Anita said.
The short rant on voice chat was met with a lot of support from the Twitch community. Many people on social media even suggested that Sweet Anita should be on the Twitch Safety Advisory Council instead of FerociouslySteph. Despite having uncontrollable outbursts, many felt that Sweet Anita is well spoken and might be a bit more level-headed and thus better suited for the position than FerociouslySteph.
Some people stood up for FerociouslySteph, arguing that she isn't "mentally ill" for being a furry or for her opinion on voice chat, but so far there's been a primarily response to FerociouslySteph and her takes. The sentiment from many isn't that they're worried voice chat will get banned, but that FerociouslySteph might have "too much power" for someone who seems to be purposely upsetting and antagonizing the majority of Twitch's users.