Debate has sparked among Twitch streamers and fans over the rise in ‘hot tub’ streams, where broadcasters literally stream from a hot tub, usually wearing a swimsuit. The platform’s rules have been criticized as unclear, leading to a grey area for potentially suggestive content.
Hot tub streams aren’t exactly a new thing on Twitch, and were somewhat common after Twitch updated their attire guidelines in 2019.
Twitch said that certain clothing was appropriate depending on the location, and so swimwear at a beach or pool was permitted. Twitch has since updated these rules, and no longer specifically mentions locations, but does have rules about swimwear.
In 2021, hot tub streams are all the rage once again, an issue that was brought to light in a number of viral social media posts, many criticizing both the streamers and the platform.
Controversy over Twitch hot tub streams
Twitch streamer MsBananas posted images of four streams, writing “Went on Twitch and seriously got confused as to what app I was actually on… What in the actual f**k happened to Twitch…?!”
Two of the images posted were of hot tub streams, while another was a pole dancing stream.
Went on twitch and seriously got confused as too what app I was actually on….
What in the actual fuck happened to twitch…?!
I really wanna know…. 🤢🤮 pic.twitter.com/gs6LDjRpey
— Nannersssss 🌿🌞🌿 (@MsBananasTS) March 27, 2021
The Tweet sparked debate, as a number of content creators weighed in, some who strongly disagreed. Streamer Pokket replied: “If you think someone is breaking ToS report them and move on…”
Im not insecure. I just dont feel it appropriate for a platform like this. but yeah im a woman hater cause im not a feminist who accepts this sexualization and has morals. I love women. i just feel like streaming should be more than sexualization and money. Bute that MY opinion.
— Nannersssss 🌿🌞🌿 (@MsBananasTS) March 28, 2021
Twitch’s rules to blame?
39daph, a streamer with over 800,000 followers, said that it was Twitch who should face criticism, not the individual broadcasters.
“I don’t think it’s fair to hate on women doing the hot tub meta,” Daph said. “Twitch has the power to do something about it but chooses not to. Their inconsistent enforcement of rules is definitely strange.”
also i should note female korean streamers have been banned for less btw
— daphne (@39daph) March 30, 2021
Twitch’s rules state: “Swimwear is permitted as long as it completely covers the genitals, and those who present as women must also cover their nipples. Full coverage of buttocks is not required, but camera focus around them is still subject to our sexually suggestive content policy. Coverage must be fully opaque, even when wet. Sheer or partially see-through swimwear or other clothing does not constitute coverage.”
Pink Sparkles, another popular streamer, thinks Twitch has become much more relaxed about their enforcement: “It seems they’ve loosened up their approach a lot more recently.”
They used to be on my ass about basically everything a couple of years ago, closely monitoring my stream, and it seems like they’ve loosened up their approach a lot more recently. I’ve gained too much quarantine weight to feel comfortable in a hot tub on stream anyway ahah 🥲
— Izzy G ⭐ (@Twitch_Pink) March 30, 2021
So far, only one streamer has been banned following a hot tub stream, but KiaraaKitty says it was actually due to one of her guests having a “wardrobe malfunction”, rather than simply for the stream itself.
Twitch’s rules, and enforcement of said rules, are under constant scrutiny from the community, as bans are meted out, and can make or break a streamer’s career. It remains to be seen if Twitch makes any updates specifically to address the growing trend of hot tub streams.