Another Cultural Milestone for Social Media

April 16, 2024

Well this is an interesting report. PsyPost reports, “Researchers Uncover ‘Pornification’ Trend Among Female Streamers on Twitch.” Authored by Kristel Anciones-Anguita and Mirian Checa-Romero, the study was published in the  Humanities and Social Sciences Communications journal. The team analyzed clips from 1,920 livestreams on, a platform with a global daily viewership of 3 million. They found women streamers sexualize their presentations much more often, and more intensely, than the men. Also, the number of sexy streams depends on the category. Not surprisingly, broadcasters in categories like ASMR and “Pools, Hot Tubs & Beaches” are more self-sexualized than, say, gamer girls. Shocking, we know.

The findings are of interest because Twitch broadcasters formulate their own images, as opposed to performers on traditional media. There is a longstanding debate, even among feminists, whether using sex to sell oneself is empowering or oppressive. Or maybe both. Writer Eric W. Dolan notes:

“Studies on traditional media (such as TV and movies) have extensively documented the sexualization of women and its consequences. However, the interactive and user-driven nature of new digital platforms like presents new dynamics that warrant exploration, especially as they become integral to daily entertainment and social interaction. … This autonomy raises questions about the factors driving self-sexualization, including societal pressures, the pursuit of popularity, and the platform’s economic incentives.”

Or maybe women are making fully informed choices and framing them as victims of outside pressure is condescending. Just a thought. The issue gets more murky when the subjects, or their audiences, are underage. The write-up observes:

“These patterns of self-sexualization also have potential implications for the shaping of audience attitudes towards gender and sexuality. … ‘Our long-term goals for this line of research include deepening our understanding of how online sexualized culture affects adolescent girls and boys and how we can work to create more inclusive and healthy online communities,’ Anciones-Anguita said. ‘This study is just the beginning, and there is much more to explore in terms of the pornification of culture and its psychological impact on users.”

Indeed there is. See the article for more details on what the study considered “sexualization” and what it found.

Cynthia Murrell, April 16, 2024


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