Twitch Streamer Pokimane Goes Live Without Makeup, Chaos Ensues

Imane Anys, also known as Pokimane on Twitch, is a hugely popular League of Legends and variety streamer. On Tuesday, she decided to try something new with her stream: putting on makeup live in front of fans. It's not something she's done, the streamer is very particular about her public image and how her fans view her.

"I actually feel so bare," Imane says at the start of her stream. "I have no makeup on so if you think I look different, I'm sorry." She then spent the next two hours putting on makeup, doing her hair and talking with the viewers of her stream. In response, Twitch chat users spammed the usual "thicc" and what they felt might have been compliments. "Eye liner is so hot, can't wait for that part," wrote one. "I would beat u (sic) cutely)" said another.

Anys' fan base tends to skew on the younger side, with some unaware of how makeup can change a person's look. "Chat we are pokimanes boyfriend (right now) all of us," wrote WheresMyVirginity. Imagine watching the same streamer nearly every day for hours at a time. You know everything about them, but they have no idea you even exist. It's a parasocial relationship, a term adapted for the online generation to refer to the way viewers feel personally connected to streamers they've never met before.

It's unfair to judge thousands of Twitch users by the messages of a few vocal fans, but these statements seem to be echoed in tweets after the stream. Twitter user pexi_v posted two pictures of Anys: one with makeup and one without. The tweet quickly gathered steam, with dozens of commenters confused as to what they were looking at.

the right one gotta be an old pic or somethin dawg i cant believe this nah

— XWBV (@BlurryyVisions) October 23, 2018

Fellas take ur girl swimming first date

— teemo 🇫🇮 (@itsTeeemo) October 23, 2018

Others online were quick to defend Anys, like League of Legends host Sjokz.

Just wanna say @pokimanelol is one of the most beautiful people I know inside and out, and people giving her shit for putting herself out there streaming barefaced should check themselves. We love you Poki.

— Eefje Depoortere (@sjokz) October 23, 2018

The whole argument boils down to inexperience and a lack of real world knowledge. If you haven't had many interactions with women (or anyone for that matter), you might not understand why people wear makeup. Learning that your favorite streamer doesn't wake up looking the way you expected might cause a bit of confusion and potential backlash.

<s>Some Twitch users believe they are owed by a streamer for their time and admiration, which is where the parasocial relationship becomes more complicated. Anys isn't the only streamer to find herself in this kind of situation. In June, Kaitlyn Siragusa, also known as Amouranth on Twitch, chose not to talk about her private life on stream or mention that she had a husband. Some online, who had donated thousands of dollars a month to the streamer, felt betrayed. When one moderator, who had spent his free time working on his channel and donated thousands of dollars to her, found out about her life, he flipped. "Things are looking up for me (and down for you)," the mod wrote in a leaked direct message. "This is where I bid farewell to you, have fun being a liar bitchface (sic.)"

Update: Amouranth says that she has never been married and that the moderator screenshots are false.

Anys has taken the whole controversy in stride, tweeting at those that have supported her. Even so, this whole debacle offers a valuable perspective on the experiences of female streamers and the toxicity they often have to wade through.