Clothing and nudity has always been a controversial topic for Twitch.tv, with its policies and Terms of Service (TOS) acting as strict rules to follow, lest a streamer wants their account to be banned or reported. However, the website’s Nudity Policy has always been unfair to certain groups of streamers, especially as it’s unforgiving of different body types and mostly targeted at clothing. Furthermore, the Nudity and Attire policy has long lacked clarity regarding what is OK to wear in streams — but a revision to Twitch’s TOS aims to change that.
With the revision, Twitch hopes to lessen the gender disparity in its Nudity and Attire Policy, as well as lessen confusion and create a fairer streaming platform for all. This is a positive step forward to make the platform safer, more professional, and fair for streamers and viewers — especially younger viewers. The platform also promises to keep revising the policy as needed for its ever-growing community.
Streamers’ content can be elevated in a multitude of ways while still falling in the green of Twitch TOS. Complete nudity will likely always be prohibited, but Twitch’s TOS revision allows certain articles of clothing, even if they may be considered “revealing.” People with breasts are not allowed to show nipples or underbust, but cleavage is unrestricted.
Previously, the broader Nudity and Attire Policy meant streamers were reported as having “sexually suggestive” content on their streams, which led to sanctioning. Athletic or gym clothing, swimwear, weather-appropriate clothing, body art, and breastfeeding were all considered inappropriate under the previous iteration of Twitch’s policy. However, these rules were very vague. Bans felt inconsistent and unjustified in many cases. Of course, a lot of the streamers targeted felt this was unfair, especially when they saw others wear the same or similar articles of clothing, but weren’t reprimanded because of the fit or because of the streamer’s perceived gender or gender presentation.
Twitch’s rules heavily restricted women and people with certain body types from having the same Twitch streaming experience as others, creating an atmosphere of inequality. Luckily, all of the scenarios previously mentioned are now part of clear “Contextual Exceptions” under the revised TOS. So long as coverage requirements are met (meaning opaque clothing is used to cover genitals, buttocks, nipples, and underbust), then the streamer is not breaking the Nudity and Attire Policy. Breastfeeding is the only Contextual Exception that does not have to follow the chest coverage requirements.
Twitch also states it will investigate the context of reported content before making a judgment.
Unfortunately, male streamers — or those perceived as male — will still have more leeway when it comes to the amount of skin they can show. Twitch’s guidelines do not just affect the sort of content streamers can make, but how viewers see said content. New Contextual Exceptions give streamers room to breathe but it forces viewers to consider what is truly “inappropriate” before reporting.
Some things violate Twitch’s TOS regardless of context, including exotic dance, sex toys, and more. However, it seems Twitch is promising to treat sexually suggestive content and their Nudity and Attire Policy as two different, yet related things. These revisions help lessen the controversy within the very large and diverse Twitch.tv community and will also add some consistency to Twitch’s banning decisions. It is no doubt a step in the right direction.
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Twitch has revised its Nudity and Attire Policy with added Contextual Exceptions for streamers' benefit.