Yesterday, Ninja announced that he was leaving Twitch to stream exclusively on Mixer, putting a lot of new eyes on Microsoft's platform. Not all of that attention has been positive: Twitch partner Emily Bello (opens in new tab) checked up on Mixer's clothing guidelines for streamers and found a set of rules that's giving me flashbacks to my days in a Catholic high school.
On its Streamer Clothing Requirements (opens in new tab) page, Mixer defines what isn't allowed at all, and what it considers "family friendly," appropriate for teenage viewers, and 18+. The streaming site makes an effort not to gender body parts, defining the bust line as "the widest area below the shoulders and above the end of the rib cage," but its ratings categories are focused almost entirely on cleavage, strapless tops, and sports bras.
Behold Mixers 'Rating Specific clothing guidelines'.Anyone else wildly uncomfortable at the idea of any visible skin not being family friendly??Crop tops or visible shoulders are always 18+. Seems archaic and backwards. pic.twitter.com/iIOKjLvdnOAugust 2, 2019
Wearing a strapless top will land a streamer in the 18+ category, while the "teen stream" category vaguely allows for "more than a hint of cleavage." Finally, "family friendly" streams can only include a tiny amount of exposed skin: "clothing must cover entire visible body from a few inches above the bust-line" with "little to no cleavage." Apparently hot days are not family friendly.
In contrast, Twitch's guidelines on attire (opens in new tab) are frustratingly vague, suggesting streamers wear clothes that they "would wear on a public street, or to a mall or restaurant." Twitch also entirely bans nudity and clothing that is intended to be sexually suggestive, and rules based on intent are hard to apply. Mixer does at least make itself clearer with more specific language, but is so restrictive that strapless tops and v-necks—what one might wear on a public street, as in Twitch's guidelines—seem to qualify as 18+.
The guidelines suggest that any streamer who has bare shoulders, visible cleavage, or a visible midriff is producing adults-only content, rather than wearing normal clothes they are comfortable in, reinforcing the idea that women should cover up in public. The rules do apply to all streamers on Mixer regardless of their body, but with comments like "no undercleavage" and "above the bust-line," it's clear which body types are primarily being discussed.
Another reason a streamer may be designated 18+ on Mixer is if they stream M-rated games. Many streamers do, so it would be hard to determine when a clothing-related or content-related guideline is being enforced.
This conversation over Mixer's rules comes in the same week that Kaceytron organized a "SlutStream" day on Twitch to combat harassment based on streamers' clothing choices. Also this week, Twitch's moderation team confirmed (opens in new tab) in a dispute with streamer HeatheredEffect that breastfeeding is non-sexual in nature and is not against its TOS.
Although Twitch has received criticism for inconsistent application of its vague rules, streamers such as Kaceytron (opens in new tab) and HeatheredEffect (opens in new tab) have been able to wear the clothing they want. Both streamers have designated their channels as being for "mature audiences" on Twitch, but that isn't because of what they wear. Twitch's rules about flagging mature content instead relate to what is discussed on stream: "Conversations about sex, nudity, and other mature topics that are intended to be educational and otherwise comply with our policies should be marked as Mature Content via the respective channel’s settings."
In contrast, on Mixer, streaming Fortnite with bare shoulders would qualify as 18+.