A popular Twitch streamer has hit out at the livestreaming platform after a clip of her breastfeeding was removed with no warning, reigniting an eons-old debate in the process.
HeatheredEffect (AKA Heather Kent) has nearly 90,000 subscribers on YouTube and close to 16,000 on Twitch. She sees her streams as a relaxed and often educational place for viewers to hang out. Typically, she’ll host ASMR streams and hand out advice for her fans. Harmless stuff, really.
Unfortunately, during a recent Just Chatting stream (where Heather just… chats, funnily enough), she started breastfeeding her child in an attempt to further normalise breastfeeding in public – something that is still looked down and condemned in certain corners, even in 2019.
A highlight clip of the moment quickly brought in over 20,000 views before it was taken down after some viewers complained that it was in fact an NSFW violation of the Twitch terms of service, something Heather strongly disagreed with.
Taking to Twitter, she called out Twitch directly, writing:
This clip (which had over 20k views and would’ve helped tremendously with the #normalizebreastfeeding movement) was deleted by Twitch with no explanation. We obviously have a long way to go in the fight to normalize breastfeeding.
A number of Twitter users then hit back at Heather, pointing out that since the clip contained moments of “nudity”, it would be considered NSFW and against Twitch community guidelines as a result.
Not content with taking this as an explanation, Heather took the time to pull up the current Twitch terms of service, arguing that context was an important factor. She was hosting an educational stream and there was nothing sexually suggestive about the content, she reasoned, so Twitch shouldn’t have removed the clip.
Heather’s argument was met with criticism from a number of fellow streamers, including CS:GO broadcaster Mohamad ‘m0E’ Assad, who argued that his wife breast feeds in public, but uses a cover “which is normal. They make them specifically for that purpose. You are wrong here.”
*context* *intent* pic.twitter.com/mkS2xgnsws
— HeatheredEffect on Twitch & YouTube! (@HeatheredEffect) July 28, 2019
MiltonTPike1 meanwhile, chimed in to argue that Twitch was in the right, arguing that while breastfeeding is “normal and non sexual”, he feels “similarly about peeing: everyone does it and it is (generally) non-sexual, but you can’t do that on-stream either. I don’t think Twitch are the bad guys here, we agreed to their terms of service in the first place.”
I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but breastfeeding and peeing should never be compared in any way, in any context, for any reason.
Heather later told Kotaku:
I thought that I would get some creepy comments, because it’s Twitch. But I’ve honestly been shocked by the negative community reaction as a whole. It seems like there’s a lot less people coming to my defense in terms of breastfeeding, and it’s been a little shocking and a little demoralizing and kind of sad. It’s actually put me in a corner where I feel like I actually need to take a stand for this, because clearly there’s a lot of minds that need to be changed or enlightened when it comes to breastfeeding, I think there’s still a lot of things that are misunderstood.
I think breastfeeding is completely normal and non-sexual. I feel similarly about peeing: everyone does it and it is (generally) non-sexual, but you can't do that on-stream either. I don't think Twitch are the bad guys here, we agreed to their terms of service in the first place.
— MiltonTPike1 (@MiltonTPike1) July 25, 2019
While the clip remains down, HeatheredEffect has not suffered a suspension or permanent ban, and hopes that the stand she took will empower more women who are raising children and attempting to build careers via Twitch and YouTube.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.