It’s Time To Leave Hot Tub Streamers Alone
The “Hot Tub Meta” has been a hot (tub) topic in Twitch communities for some time now, and attitudes toward it are hardly changing. The arrival of many “hot tub streamers” has of course rocked the streaming platform, introducing the platform to a new brand of entertainment that dominated the “Just Chatting” category of the site and raced to the top of the trending categories. But the criticism of the “meta” is all entirely one-note. And it’s about time it’s called out for what it is. It’s entitled, abrasive misogyny, and until it is quelled there is little hope that there can be any unity in Twitch communities.
The Flight Of The Hot Tub Streamers
The trend of women chatting from their hot tubs on Twitch arguably started in December 2020, as XOAerial switched up her regular Just Chatting content and got an inflatable hot tub, as she “really wanted to just sit in some hot water because it was winter”. Ever since, many women have followed suit and watched their numbers skyrocket as streamers tune in to ogle slack-jawed or connect directly with the streamer before them, riding inflatable lobsters or spinning activity wheels. It was a new brand of entertainment for the platform that was taking over the homepage - but many weren’t happy about it.
The Gamer Rage Rears Its Head
In the face of this new surge of Just Chatting content, many prolific streamers had a lot to say about the rise of the new category. These streamers, almost entirely in the gaming category of Twitch, dubbed the new surge of content the “Hot Tub Meta”, implying these creators were playing the “game” of Twitch against itself to dominate for viewers.
The complaints, of course, echoed across the social diaspora, as the legions of fans for these professional moaners in their millions were all too ready to reflect these ideals without much more thought.
Some of the platform’s biggest and most popular creators have spoken out about the “problem” - with the controversial xQc wasting no time in expressing his disdain for the category.
Plus, as living proof that the misogyny rearing its head in the face of hot tub streamers runs deep in the core of those who protest, Ludwig spoke out in support of the streamers’ “hustle”, but still created a plan for Twitch’s higher-ups to “do something about it” in the very same breath.
Twitch streamers are still angry at hot tub streamers for dominating their platform, and it’s telling of deep-rooted misogyny that many find such an incredible problem with the rise of women on the platform getting the views they feel entitled to, no matter how they get them. And it’s long since time we brought an end to it.
The trouble here is not that gamers who stream their gameplay on Twitch are being “stolen” from as many have thought, as there’s very little audience overlap for players. It simply isn’t an excuse that makes any genuine sense, and it ties directly into the fact that the name of the new category alone, the “hot tub meta”, implies that the system is being broken by women who wish only to entertain. The big trouble on Twitch is that gamers feel owed for creating popularity on the platform, expecting it to be a place for gamers forever. This cannot be the case for any platform that continues to grow in the way that Twitch does, and this gatekeeping holds the platform back considerably.
Many, including xQc, took great trouble with the fact that the algorithm on Twitch pushed hot tub streams to the front page, making the platform seem inundated with streamers taking a dip - but of course it did. It was popular, and its controversy among the men of the platform only pushed it further, and it took pride of place on Twitch’s digital mantelpiece because it was doing so well. Gaming streamers, despite their complaints of the system, reap its rewards while being all too willing to disparage it, taking to the front page when they stream the latest titles or newest updates to whatever battle royale is dominating that week.
Ultimately, it all comes down to misogyny. The platform’s most powerful male entertainers have expressed that this surge needs to come to an end despite it never coming close to affecting them, and a feeling that they’re entitled to viewers over women who simply make the content that works for them permeates their streams. It’s time to leave these women alone, for the good of the platform.
The only remedy that can come of this is civility at the very least. Twitch has created a “Pools, Hot Tubs & Beaches” category in solidarity with the creators, and equally to muffle the screams of those who were hotly contesting the streams’ existence as a breach of Twitch’s nudity guidelines. A middle ground has been struck - and the angry gatekeepers now need to play ball in order to keep themselves from fading into a repetitive rage that will push away attentive fans and foster furious echo chambers.
Twitch is no longer for gamers alone, and the sooner that this is accepted, the better. Hot tub streams are as curious to 'let’s players' as 'let’s plays' were to the general populous upon their introduction. It’s high time we accept and embrace hot tub streamers. Because they’re here to stay, and as Twitch will attest, sexism definitely shouldn’t be.