What Is The Twitch ASMR Meta And Is It A Problem?
The Twitch meta has once again evolved, and ASMR has stomped far ahead of hot tubs, and just about everything else on the platform. Hot tubs and swimwear have been replaced with the popular “TikTok leggings”, a Binaural Microphone, and a bed. It turns out that the new ASMR meta is incredibly popular on Twitch, with over 9.7M hours viewed as of today. It has overtaken the hot tub streams and is steadily climbing. There are clearly people watching, but is it really a problem? That’s hard to say. Quite a few streamers made huge leaps in popularity off of the hot tub meta and have now shifted to the ASMR meta, such as Amouranth and IndieFoxx.
What Is ASMR, and Is This Meta Problematic?
ASMR as a concept is confusing or alien to many. Not everyone gets it, or gets the “tingles” that come from it. ASMR is defined as, “a feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck, as experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, often a particular sound.” Paper tearing, soft, whispered voices, scratching nails to simulate scratching someone’s scalp, or eating. There are a plethora of sounds that come from it to help people relax.
This writer has listened to a few ASMR artists who produce soothing content to help with sleep. On Twitch, it’s being used to simulate licking in people’s ears. It makes a very wet, clear sound, and can be a turn-on to viewers/listeners. Hot tubs are going down, and ASMR’s going up. We’ve traded in bikinis for the famous/infamous TikTok leggings, laying in front of a camera and whispering/licking an ASMR microphone. This is often used to gain more donations and subs, as in the case of Amouranth.
She offers 30 seconds of licking into the mic for every sub and has a goal to change outfits in her streams. Now, we’re not shaming people who are comfortable with themselves to do these kinds of streams, and technically, it doesn’t go against Twitch’s ToS. They do come across as incredibly sexually suggestive though, which leads to the problem.
Twitch made the decision to not punish people for “perceived attractiveness” and has done little to moderate content that is considered controversial. In particular, they made the following statement:
“While we have guidelines about sexually suggestive content, being found to be sexy by others is not against our rules, and Twitch will not take enforcement action against women, or anyone on our service, for their perceived attractiveness.”
It feels like it might be a little too late to fix these kinds of problems that are coming up. At the end of the day, it’s just another IRL stream, which is allowed on Twitch. Some of these streamers also offer “eye contact” as a reward for their fans, since many of them don’t even look at the camera to begin with. Instead, the focus is on the body/leggings of the streamer – though they’re careful to make sure the whole body is in shot.
Is It Too Late For a Solution?
The problem is that Twitch isn’t big on moderation. They just let the viewers mass report things they don’t like. According to Twitch’s rules, streamers aren’t supposed to focus the camera on their backsides, but that seems very much the crux of this new Twitch meta. So the problem is a little of the rules and the enforcement of them.
One of the curious things about these streams is that the VODs tend to get deleted after it goes off the air. This is likely to protect themselves, and also to make sure people can’t just watch the things they donated for again and again. ASMR streams aren’t new to Twitch either, but this particular style of them has only recently come to the spotlight.
Some have spoken out about this trend though. Asmongold, on his secondary account, ZackRawrr made a statement:
“Twitch wrote themselves into a corner by playing into the intellectually dishonest rhetoric that they won’t punish “perceived attractiveness” of streamers who make obviously sexual content. If they do something, they side with incels, if they don’t, they’re SJWs. Ideology > Reality”
Is this all Twitch’s fault? Perhaps if they had moderated or stopped the hot tub streams earlier, this new Twitch ASMR meta may have not shown up. No matter what they do now, they’re going to offend or upset one group of people or another. They let it go on too long. Some people say these streams need to be banned, and others simply call for more moderation. For now, we’ll have to see what, if anything, Twitch decides to do about the new TikTok leggings meta. At this point, if the ASMR meta is banned or penalized, the meta will simply shift again. Perhaps Twitch did let it go on too long.
Just to be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ASMR. In and of itself, it’s a fine way to relax and listen. But when it’s purposely being used in a sexual manner on a platform that is supposed to not allow sexually themed streams, then it becomes a problem. There was already such a thing as Yoga ASMR. Its goal is to help with meditation, exercise, and relaxation. These streams however are not done with the same purpose in mind. We will have to see if Twitch makes a statement or takes action.
It does feel like Twitch let this go on too long though.