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Twitch chat research shows how women streamers face objectification

Analysis reveals comments differ across genders

Streamer Itshafu playing League of Legends

A new study of comments on Twitch streams has been released, showing sharp differences between the way viewers interact with streamers, depending on their gender.

The Indiana University Network Science Institute study analyzed more than 70 million messages posted across 400 channels: 200 from men and 200 from women.

Titled "Gendered Conversation in a Social Game-Streaming Platform, and reported by Motherboard, the study found that women streamers were far more likely to attract commenters who referenced their physical appearance. Comments on male streams were more likely to be about the actual game content.

"Female channels are characterized by words about physical appearance, the body, relationships, and greetings while male channels are characterized by game-related words," states the report. It adds that "the content in female channels share common words that signal objectification."

Commenters on streams by women were more likely to use words like "boobs," "babe," and "cute," while male streamer comments stuck to game terms like "melee," "leaderboards," and "glitch."

"Our analysis on both streamers and viewers shows that the conversation in Twitch is strongly gendered," states the report, which is currently under peer review. "The streamer’s gender is significantly associated with the types of messages that they receive. Male streamers receive more game-related messages while female streamers receive more objectifying messages."

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