NYT: How Streaming Stars Pay the Price of Online Fame

From the Times today: “Stars on Twitch, the video game streaming platform, invite viewers into their homes virtually. What happens when one shows up in person?”

What happens varies from the inconvenient to the deadly.

In other words, if you want the rewards of fame, you’ll have to pay the price of fame.

If you want the rewards of playing football, you’ll have to pay the price of playing football.

If you want the rewards of belonging to an Orthodox Jewish community, you’ll have to pay the price of belonging to an Orthodox Jewish community.

I grew up a Seventh-Day Adventist and after a few years as an atheist, I converted to Orthodox Judaism. It worked out well for me but it came with a huge price. Many of the people I grew up with were appalled by my choice. Friendships that I’ve wanted to continue they wanted to discontinue. I distanced myself from people close to me even though that was not what I wanted. Life in Orthodox community comes with many requirements if you want to stay in good standing. It’s particularly difficult moving from a non-ritualistic religion (Protestantism) to a ritualistic one.

I’m not the only character in my story. When I converted to Judaism, I brought my problems with me. I have not been an unadulterated joy for others.

The main character in this Times story is Twitch streamer Kaitlyn Siragusa aka Amouranth. Here is what comes up when I Google her:

The Times says:

The unwanted visitor rapped on Kaitlyn Siragusa’s front door and peered through the windows of her home on the outskirts of Houston. When she did not answer, he walked around to the back of her house and jiggled a doorknob there.

He had been sending Ms. Siragusa, 28, unsettling messages for months and said online that he had sold his home and possessions in Estonia to fly halfway around the world to find her.

“I’m sorry that it took me too long to get here. It was a hell of a challenge,” said the man, captured by Ms. Siragusa’s security cameras in June. Then, speaking to his phone, which he was using to livestream the visit, he added: “But I’m here now.”

The man was one of Ms. Siragusa’s five million followers on Twitch, where she goes by Amouranth. She called the police, who eventually came and detained him. The incident was terrifying, she said, but it wasn’t the first time she had dealt with what is increasingly going hand in hand with being a high-profile streamer on Twitch: harassment and stalking…

Famed for pushing the boundaries of the platform’s rules against sexually explicit content, Ms. Siragusa can be found donning the costumes of scantily clad video game characters or bantering with her audience while doing her exercise routine.

Though Twitch discourages streamers from wearing swimwear if they are not planning to take a dip, Ms. Siragusa is able to broadcast in a bikini: She installed an inflatable hot tub in her bedroom last year…

“In livestreams, they see into your home, into your bedroom, and it feels very personal with them,” Ms. Siragusa said. “I think that is what contributes to a lot of the stalking: They feel like they know you.”

One of the prices of having five million followers is unwanted attention. Also, the way you present yourself is going to influence how people respond to you. Amourantha makes her money by selling her sex appeal, which provokes sexual frustration among the 99.999% of men who look at her but don’t get to have sex with her. If Kaitlyn left her Amourantha persona behind and concentrated her streaming on modestly explaining Shakespeare, she’d have fewer unwanted approaches from strangers.

To whom much has sex appeal been given, much is demanded.

The live streamer sells his soul. The commercially viable content producer sells his soul. He sells his life and thinking for attention, affection and money. If you don’t like the price, don’t play the game.

Amourantha tells the Times: ““I don’t know what else to do at this point, besides build a moat with crocodiles.”

Well, she could change the way she presents herself. She could change how often and how intensely she presents herself to the public. She could get married and give up livestreaming. Traditionally, women marry young and they get protected by a husband, a community and a society in exchange for conducting herself modestly. Such women rarely get stalked.

I don’t get the sense from this article that any of these women are married or belong to traditional communities.

Life in community is challenging. You have to constantly subordinate what you want to do for the sake of the community’s health. If you pay the price of community, however, you get to reap the rewards, which include increased protection.

The less modest the woman (or man), the less safe she’s going to be. The more you flaunt it, the more you risk it.

The women in this story have a business model of attracting men. They want to profit from this (emotionally, financially, and in status) and not to pay any cost.

There’s always a cost.

An easy way to minimize unwanted male attention is to not act like a whore.

Decent man usually don’t want to marry whores. The more you whore yourself out online, the less likely it is that decent people will include in their life, which means your social circle will increasingly be composed of the dangerous and dysfunctional.

Men evolved to hunt down women who broadcast that they are sexually available. That’s why traditional societies want men and women to tone things down and to be comport themselves in a way that is not going to disrupt families.

Are you tired of attracting bad people? Get in touch with your emotions. Take the high road. Don’t be a whore. Don’t take naked photos of yourself. Don’t videotape yourself having sex. Don’t appeal to people’s worst instincts to get attention.

Stalking is not something that has bothered bloggers because blogging appeals to a different audience than livestreams. Few authors and academics have stalkers.

Another character in this story is Dizzy Kitten. A Google search reveals:

Another character in this story is BrookeAB. A Google search reveals:

Another character in this story is Sweet Anita. A Google search reveals:

These pretty women played a role in their own misery. A key part of their appeal has been the notion that they’re single and ready to mingle and that’s usually a lie (even if they are single, they rarely want to mingle with fans). Porn stars would also want to put forward the image of being single to fire up their fan base but when you fire up your fan base, that comes with some dangers.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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