Twitch’s latest attempt at being politically correct has backfired severely.
The streaming platform proclaimed that March was “Womxn’s History Month,” using the term “womxn” in place of “women.” Twitch explained that this was its attempt to “stand with intersectional feminism” but ended up apologizing and removing the term after women, LGBTQ+ folks, and trans individuals all called Twitch out for the statement.
“Womxn” is a term sometimes used by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (or TERFs) to differentiate between “real women” and trans women. The term started trending on Twitter as more people expressed frustration with Twitch.
After the backlash, Twitch removed all instances of “womxn” on its blog post.
“We want to assure you that we have, and will continue to, work with the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re still learning. Our good intentions don’t always equate to positive impact, but we’re committed to growing from these experiences, doing better, and ensuring we’re inclusive to all,” Twitch said on Twitter.
While we originally wanted to use a word that acknowledges the shortcoming of gender-binary language, after hearing directly from you, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community on Twitch, we will be using the spelling “women” moving forward.
— Twitch (@Twitch) March 2, 2021
The statement led many to call on Twitch to hire more nonbinary, trans, and LGBTQ people and then “actually listen to them.” Twitch recently formed a Twitch Safety Advisory Council, which included trans rights activist Steph “FerociouslySteph” Loehr. It’s unclear what effect this advisory council, meant to help Twitch with the inclusion of minority groups in gaming, had on the decision. Twitch did not indicate whether the decision was made with the group’s blessing, or if it moved forward without consulting the council’s members.
Others called Twitch’s statement empty, stating that the LGBTQ community had asked for certain features and representation in the past without any answer from the streaming platform.
It’s great that you’re listening to the community, and making sure to make decisions that have positive impact for them on the platform
So, that being said, THOUSANDS of your community members asked for a trans tag, detailing why it’s important. Listen to them.
— Jeff Brutlag 🏳️🌈 (@jeffbrutlag) March 2, 2021
Trans tag when?
You aren’t truly working with the LGBTQIA+ community until you give them what they’ve been relentlessly asking for
Protect your content creators. ALL CONTENT CREATORS pic.twitter.com/WUa9zAXfZE
— SirDaddy (@SirKatelyn) March 2, 2021
Sexism in the gaming industry has led many to believe female streamers “have it easy” because they can get views simply for just being a woman or for wearing revealing clothing. When it comes to their size and hourly ratio, some women do get double the views and triple the followers versus the average male streamer. Twitch’s inconsistent policies regarding suspensions, which at times have been seen as favoring certain female streamers, have also contributed to this perspective.
But almost all of the top streamers on Twitch are men. The list of top streamers is all male except for Pokimane. This includes Gaules, Dr Lupo, Sykkuno, TimTheTatMan, summit1g, Myth, and Ninja.
As of last month, Imane “Pokimane” Anys has the most popular channel on Twitch. She has over 7.4 million followers.