Women On Twitch Go Without Makeup To Support A Fellow Streamer

Photo: Pokimane

Last weekend, one of the most followed streamers on Twitch, Pokimane, surprised viewers by kicking off her stream sans makeup. The Fortnite player, podcaster, and IRL streamer decided she’d walk her fans through what it takes to do her makeup for one of those streams. It ended up touching off a wide conversation about women, makeup, and unrealistic expectations.

Early on in the stream, Pokimane even predicted that there might be backlash to her showing her naked face, but she still felt like this was an important thing for her to do.

“I know not having makeup on is unusual, and some people might meme me for it, or say whatever,” she said. “But I think it’s good to not always just be promoting ‘I look like this naturally.’ Because girls just don’t. When you have makeup on, you look like you have makeup on.”

What happened next was, given the nature of the internet, inevitable: a barrage of insults pointed Pokimane’s way from men and teenage boys. Fortunately, this was quickly followed up by a wave of support for Pokimane, as fans and other streamers rallied behind her to point out that that people’s expectations were unreasonable, and that nobody’s face is naturally up to society’s absurd standards all the time.

“Hate to break it to you, but if you think you’re going to find a girl who looks flawless with and without makeup, you’re going to have a hard time,” said Omen community manager and streamer Sloane. “Also you have to be really insecure to make fun of someone else’s looks. Time to grow up.”

“People shocked about how Pokimane looks w/o makeup just outing that they probably haven’t had a girlfriend. Even worse outing that they’ve never had a female friend consider them close enough to hang out with no makeup on. Big yikes,” said League of Legends analyst Mark Zimmerman.

“If all these internet kids are surprised that Pokimane looks different without makeup, they’re going to be really surprised what I look like when I have yet to feast upon the blood of innocents to preserve my eternal life that day,” said game designer and streamer Brian Kibler.

Other women streamers even began posting pictures of themselves without makeup, in order to demonstrate how much effort goes into it and that- shock horror - they, like Pokimane, look different with and without makeup!

“This is gonna sound crazy but...did you KNOW that girls aren’t born with black lines on their eyes, their skin isn’t flawless, and get this, their hair isn’t perfect when they wake up either???? WOW THIS IS SUCH CRAZY NEW INFO FASCINATING DISCOVERY,” said Twitch and Discord partner Girlwithyellowspoon in a tweet accompanying makeup-free pictures of herself.

“For Pokimane and every girl in the world: Rock the bare look, or a face full of makeup,” tweeted Miisty, another streamer who posted a picture of herself.

“Rock your hair all messy, or completely done up. You’re beautiful no matter what you decide to do. If you judge someone for ‘too much makeup’ or lack thereof, you can frick off dudes.”

Men having unrealistic expectations of women’s appearances is hardly a new thing, but one of the central selling points of Twitch is the perceived accessibility of streamers. Viewers can, in theory, spend whole mornings, afternoons, or even days with their favourite streamers, getting a front-row seat to intimate spaces like their homes and bedrooms.

That does not mean, however, that streamers can just let their hair down on stream. It may seem like they’re your virtual pal kicking back, having a laugh, and playing video games, but it’s a performance - one that can take a toll over time.

This goes double for women, who are expected to look all at once flawless and natural, so as not to break the illusion that they’re just regular people chilling out.

“When it comes to online personalities, especially popular ones, they’re often held to the same standard as your typical entertainment celebrity. In short, all perfect all the time,” Miisty told Kotaku in a DM.

Pokimane, other streamers say, is very good at makeup, which may have added to viewers’ surprise at seeing her without it. “Her makeup is super clean and natural looking,” streamer and cosplayer Tiger Lily, who also posted pictures of herself in support of Pokimane, told Kotaku in a DM. “It accentuates her natural features rather than adding unnecessary focal points (like dark lipstick on a mouth or dark eyeshadow on the eyes, etc).”

“If you don’t know anything about how makeup works, you might think she barely wears makeup at all,” Tiger Lily said.

“So I think people were shocked when their perfect image of her was shattered by the fact that she doesn’t look like that all the time. They were shocked to the point that they thought they had been ‘duped,’ when in reality they were just ignorant about the ways makeup works and also ignorant to the pressures women face to look beautiful all the time.”

Both Miisty and Tiger Lily decided to post pictures of themselves because, among other reasons, they didn’t want Pokimane to feel like she was staring down the inconsolable hordes all by herself.

“I just wanted to call out the fact that Pokimane chose to be brave, vulnerable and human with her fans, and that it was met with immaturity,” said Tiger Lily. “Even though I don’t know her personally, I didn’t want her to be alone facing all that criticism.”

“To be honest I’ve never posted a picture with zero makeup and zero photo editing,” said Miisty. “For years the thought never crossed my mind, it was to always look Instagram/Twitter perfect. Makeup, no blemishes, filters, etc. I still look at the tweet I posted, and my stomach starts aching all over again. But I’m happy that I did it. To show support for Poki, women who are struggling with self image issues, and myself.”

Though the experience can’t have been pleasant, Pokimane seems to be taking things in stride, reacting to a comment from a pro Halo player about how she’s “hoarding the world’s greatest skin care routine from the rest of us” by posting her whole skincare routine and thanking her supporters.

“I’m at peace with myself, my body & my imperfections, and I wish the same someday for anyone who feels the need to hate on someone else for such shallow reasons,” she tweeted yesterday.

This week, she posted a series of no-makeup selfies to “conclude” the saga. “No one looks good 24/7, and a lot of different things can affect someone’s appearance!” she wrote. “We’re all only human, so let’s be kind to one another.”


    A good as supporting people is, some of those no make up selfies have make up

    Oh man, I feel bad for that commenter quoted at the end, complaining about withholding skin care secrets.

    Mostly because if you're in a situation where your skin isn't bad, you probably don't even know you need to do anything about it, and if your skin IS bad, there's not a lot you can easily do about it. Had a few family members struggle with this, and learn the hard way that the only real solutions are staying clean (REASONABLY clean - not constantly scrubbed clean/chemical-burned or irritating your skin with constant contact), keeping up fluids and a healthy diet, getting good exercise while also avoiding excessive sweat, growing older, avoiding triggers for skin conditions like eczema, and - ironically - avoid wearing the make-up that you're probably caking on to cover up bad skin, even if it claims to be 'specially treated' to assist with bad skin.

    It's like that joke:

    "You have a terrible disease."
    "Oh no!"
    "It can be cured with healthy diet and regular exercise."
    "OH NO!"

      Also don't forget "Stop touching your face, FFS, and, yes, that especially means no picking, clawing or popping stuff".

    Pokimane is cute as hell. Havent seen her with makeup on. Why on earth would there be any backlash?

    Last edited 26/10/18 6:08 pm

    My manager at work has a healthy attitude towards it. She’s never worn makeup at work and never will. Zero cares were given.

    I do wonder if all the critics were male, as I’ve seen women being absolutely vicious to each other in regards to appearances.

    Either way, the response is disgusting from what was shared. It’s good that she had some support for taking off the mask.

    I asked my sister once why she wore so much makeup and told her guys like a more natural look. She told me girls don't wear makeup to attract guys but to compete with other girls.

      That's the patriarchy for ya!

        I know that you are trying to be sarcastic here but you're, in fact, right. Women can be indeed competitive in this regard, even vicious, and that's not something we should condone. However, who do you think established the system that made them have to compete in this way? This is a genuine question, not trying to be flippant.

    How do we know the gender of the negative commenters in twitch?

      Because 81.5% of twitch viewers are male

      So more than likely they are males.

        Or the other 18.5% were the ones complaining. She is cute as hell no makeup so why would guys complain? Havent actually seen her with makeup on so cant comment on that.

          You've clearly never spent time on twitch or the Internet in general.

            Twitch no, never bothered. Internet only the last 20 or so years. Dont see your point. Unless you mean people on the internet just like to complain about shit. Yeah never got that either. Tend to find dickheads on the net are dickheads in life to.

              Unfortunately, the internet generally makes dickheads worse.

          Because of course they're men.

          If you have sent any time listening to the way men speak about women to each otger, then add anonymity to the mix, its going to be men whining that she dared take off her makeup in front of them.

          Last edited 27/10/18 11:23 am

            Don't know what men you hang around with, but I rarely talk about people's appearances and nor do the men I hang around.

            Believe it or not, we aren't all standing around chatting about someone's skin imperfections or lack or eye-liner.

    I would like to know who and where all these men are who are forcing women to wear make up with our society's expectations?

    Because I have NEVER heard a man tell a woman to put make up on.

      i caught some of her stream on youtube channel frizen

      she says something along the lines of "everybody looks like an egg without make up" made me laugh I like poki

      Because we have come to the point where they don't have to say anything, because it is expected. Not to mention guys who will look at a "natural look" woman and think "wow she looks great without makeup"

      Because I have NEVER heard a man tell a woman to put make up on.

      Really? You've never heard a man say, "Darling, I need you to colour your face in cause it is bland af".

      In real life I imagine that we don't say it like that, but we probably unintentionally promote it when we say, "You look amazing/incredible" When they're all dolled up, leaving her with, "Hey this look is really working, he likes it. I shall do it more often".

        because if you don't, you're in the shit.

        But they put effort into it. Of course I'm going to say it looks nice. Within reason. I don't like the over heavy make up look that's in vogue now.

        But me saying something looks nice does NOT equate me forcing someone to do that thing.

        For example. I have an ok body. I work out. Ppl sometimes compliment me on my body. Which i really like. I've worked hard, it's nice to be recognised. I would never then turn around and say "it's ppl like you who are forcing me to work out". No one forces me to exercise. It's a free country. I can do what I like. I work out because I choose to and at the end of the day, that's the case with women's make up too. They wear it because they want to. They don't have to. And crying fowl about it seems crazy ignorant when you think about how ppl less fortunate than us in 3rd world countries live every single day.

      It's less about words from individuals and more about general attitudes from the whole demographic across time. I invite you to amuse yourself by googling some of the copy in magazine ads for beauty products from 40-60 years ago, most of which were written by men, for a candid example.

        Where is your basis that they're written by men?

        And I would invite you to also view the ads in magazines marketed to men to see that this is not something specify to women.

        If your argument truly is "general attitudes from the whole demographic across time" then I think you need to get a lot more specific if you're interested in actually understanding the issue. I know just blaming it on "general attitudes from the whole demographic across time" is easier though. But it's over simplistic to say the least.

          Uh? Do you have to ask that? The Advertising Industry was infamously male-dominated until a few decades ago. Though... maybe that's just not as well known outside of the industry? (which, btw, I belong to). I thought that with the success of Mad Men it had become public knowledge.

          And yes, you are right to say that such archetype-defining advertising also affected men. The fact that men were also affected (both positively and negatively) by advertising establishing the roles that modern humans should fall into doesn't mean that we can wave away the fact that women were also affected (mostly negatively).

          Finally not really sure how can you argue that taking a holistic and historical view is easier and overly simplistic. Are you suggesting that we should disregard historical trends and verifiable paths of a given mentality's evolution in favour of isolated readings of single instances? "Today I didn't tell my wife to put makeup on; hell, I don't think I've ever done so and I don't think that my friends have done it either. There, I just proved that men don't tell and never would tell women to put on makeup".

            It's not a 'holistic historical view', it's your opinion. If you have no evidence then what are we doing? I'm sure you're not wrong, but I'm more interested in facts. Surely if this is as widespread and well known as you claim, then there must be many studies proving the mostly negative effects of advertising on women, right?

            So yes. I do have to ask that. If you operate on 'everybody knows' then you're just part of a mob. The same kind of human behaviour that burns witches. I prefer to work on facts and judgment.

            If you really think women wear makeup because men and society told them to, then I think you're doing an entire sex a massive disservice. We have a choice. We choose to do things. To blame our personal choices on 'society' is ridiculous. No one holds a gun to your head and makes you put on make up. We live in a world where in certain regions women can be subjected to inhumane abuses for not wearing a religious garment. Feeling 'forced by society' to wear make up is, in my opinion, the wrong place to draw the line.

              Sorry, I'm not sure what you think is my opinion? The fact that advertising was a famously male-dominated industry? You could have given me the benefit of the doubt when I told you that I work in it so I know what I'm talking about and make a quick google check. A simple search of advertising+male+dominates returns a ton of discussion and analysis, and many of them include the word "still"--because it's such a well-established and long-standing conversation. As for studies specifically trying to measure the effects of advertising on women... I don't think there are as many as studies simply proving that advertising works and can be a powerful influencer. Here's one, though: http://www.mindlab.org/images/d/DOC828.pdf

              It is interesting to me that you bring up witch burning, another campaign by a male-dominated institution that targeted specifically women. I'll leave you to consider the implications.

              Lastly, you seem to believe that I'm talking about the removal of choice? Nah man. That is seldom tried because people lash back violently against any form of perceived tyranny. What I'm talking about is the more insidious and usually more successful /narrowing/ of choice. If I present you with two bad choices, but one of them is patently worse than the other, you'll make the "smart" choice even if there's a cost attached and feel pretty happy with yourself and your ability to make the best out of a bad situation; however, in doing so you may blind yourself to the possibility that having to pick the best of two choices is bullshit and the people offering you the choices are manipulating you.

              Case in point: An economy controlled by men which discouraged women from seeking education and subsequently, from attempting to compete against men in industries dominated by them gave women the following fallacious choice: "Since you can't earn bread yourself, you must procure yourself a bread-earner, and since this gives the power of choice to men, it is in your best interests to be as attractive to men as possible. The prettiest will become top picks among the most eligible bachelors, so you have to improve your chances! Here, buy these products sold by men-owned companies that guarantee to give you an edge! Or, I mean you could not even try and end alone and poor... it's up to you!" And later, "hey, congratulations, we see you scored a man! Here, by buying these products from other men-owned companies, you'll ensure to keep your house clean and your cooking delicious so you can make sure of keeping your man! Hell, we're making them super convenient and easy to use so you'll have extra time to gossip or whatever it is you ladies do when you're not spending your time in making yourself the pleasant, useful dolls that we men want as wives! Or again, you may choose not to, pay an ear to that silly talk of emancipation and the such, but hey, we cannot guarantee that your man would not leave you for a better, more womanly woman. You could hardly blame him!"

              So it's not so much as that people are "being forced", but rather that such are the "playing rules" that people hear from the time they are growing up as kids.

                Hey man. I'm gonna be honest. I'm just not going to read all that. You obvious can't back up any of your points with facts or evidence and I'm just not interested in your opinion.

                Opinions that are felt strongly should be backed up by facts, or you're just another internet wanker, standing on your soapbox, preaching to the ignorant.

                Last edited 30/10/18 11:32 am

                  You could have at least read the first paragraph to find out that I was asking for clarification on what exactly you were looking sources for? I even threw one link regarding what I thought it would be the most likely thing you'd be answering evidence for.

                  I also invite you to consider that there is no measurement or studies regarding every single issue under the sun--or at least not a body big enough not to be dismissed as anecdotal or targeted sampling. Some issues can only be boarded dialectically, facts and evidence being provided where possible, sure... but you cannot immediately dismiss anything that is not a graph or whatever you were expecting (again, I'm still not sure).

                Getting uncomfortably conspiratorial, particularly with the "men-owned companies" bits.
                It should be obvious that makeup is simply an emergent artefact from natural human sexual behaviour. Women naturally want to attract a partner, and this didn't begin 60 years ago. Someone invented makeup, and it was found to give some women advantages over others when it came to attracting men. There's no corporate brainwashing of the kind you're imagining.

                  "Conspiratorial"? That's a strange word to use for "factual"; unless, of course, you can provide evidence that a significant percentage of companies pre-1970s were in fact owned by women.

                  It should be obvious... naturally Nice attempt to passing your biased assumptions of biology and anthropology as facts. Nevertheless, note that the fact that "women want to attract a partner" is not in dispute: I myself say as much in my post. Indeed, women have wanted to enhance their chances to attract a partner since history was first recorded. I'm simply stating that such behaviour is the result of a disbalance in power: if women were historically able to make a living outside of the influence or dominion of men (fathers, husbands, or lovers/clients) they would not necessitate competing against each other solely with their physical appeal (to males) nor developing tools to aid such goal. It is a natural development, yes, in the same way that any survival-ensuring behavioural adaptation evolving under artificial conditions is. That doesn't mean that such behaviour is inherent to the organism in question.

                  Similarly, "brainwashing" is your word (who is "conspiratorial" now?) I'm not proposing that women were brainwashed by advertising. As agreed, such conditioning happened throughout history. Advertising merely made such behaviour immensely profitable for men (that is, men-owned corporations). (Note that up until the XIX Century, make-up was pretty much a women-owned instruction passed orally from mother to daughter or as trade secrets of the women who made their profession to attract men for short-term income).

                  If I am complaining of anything is the immense cynism, if not cruelty, of men brainstorming ad campaigns in which the goal was to proclaim loudly the previously only implied reality that is women's chief responsibility and reason d'être to look pretty for men, that most women are by nature physically inadequate for such task, and that only by giving their money to other men they could achieve such vital mission.

                Huh. I read it. Thanks, that's a fascinating perspective. Thank you.

    I honestly think most women look better without makeup. My wife never wears makeup and I think she's beautiful that way, makeup just hides the face I'd rather see.

    I also hate that we're in a society where it's considered brave when women DON'T wear makeup.

    Wondering how many of those men (and guessing some woman) actually care about what they are saying and not understanding why it is appalling OR how many of them are just saying all kinds of that rubbish for 'fun' and from 'boredom' and knowing it is appalling but doing anyway. See i dont know which is worse, the former or the later? For me, some how the later, seems worse.

      it's the latter my friend they post some random crap they don't even believe for the purpose of "triggering the snowflakes" and while poki can see it for what it is and you can't bait her it doesn't matter where you post this kind of thing it will make it back to reddit or whatever then spread everywhere, and the outrage machine which is at least partly responsible for this happening in the first place will blow it all completely out of proportion welcome to 2018.

    Women should have the right to choose whether they wear make up just as much as a man should have the right to choose to wear it. I don't necessarily mean in a feminine way either. With just some foundation and a bit of extra touching up you can smooth out your complexion and stop those shiny spots from appearing on camera. I've done it before for stage plays and photo shoots.

      I agree but the problem is society expects women to wear copious amounts of make up at all times. By society, I mean other women.

      I don't think that men really care all that much away from the internet.

    My wife tells me she wears make up so she feels better when in front of the pretty girls at work.

    So don’t blame this shit on men.

    In any case that Pokimane chick is hot.

      Ask her why, deep down, she feels that she's at disadvantage compared to the other girls. I mean, what's the scale, why women value being pretty so much?

    Whereas men must simply go through life with the bare face they were given and hope for the best.

    I imagine the pressure to conform from both guys and girls is pretty horrible. I probably prefer less/no makeup. But my opinion on someone else's appearance doesn't mean shit really. Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

    How is it known that she was trolled by "...men and boys..."? The internet is anonymous. That's a rather discriminatory generalisation. Perhaps though, if true, it shows that her supporter base as an influencer is not what it seems.

    I think she's really beautiful. Naturally beautiful.

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