Vtubing, or virtual YouTubing, has become a widespread phenomenon in the world of anonymous streaming. Creators film using a holographic avatar rigged to their movements using motion capture trackers and suits. The content format originated in Japan but has since been adopted worldwide. As it’s expanded, there’s also a rising wave of independent, homegrown vtubers — many of whom are women using their avatars to maintain anonymity.
Women in gaming have long been subjected to harassment on the internet. And since vtubing tends to have visuals reminiscent of anime, a form of illustration that has long been for the male gaze, characters quickly become sexualized. But many women vtubers told BuzzFeed News that they’ve been able to use the format to protect themselves from sexual harassment by redirecting it onto their characters instead.
Before vtubing, streamer Aruu would get constant criticism for her looks — either being told she was only famous “because you’re a pretty girl on the internet” or that she was desperate for wanting views. At times, her physical safety was compromised. “I’ve had to call the police to an event because it was a dangerous situation for me,” she said. “With men, I feel like everything is critiqued about me.” Vtubing offered another way.
But while anime vtube characters offer protection for women streamers, they also fuel artistic representations of Asian women’s bodies for consumption by a predominantly white, predominantly male gaze. “[Sexualization] is gonna exist in any form of anything,” said Uguubear, an independent vtuber. “That’s just how it is.”
North Korea is supplying Russian weapons, the White House says
North Korea has been covertly fueling Russia’s artillery shell supply, according to the White House. “I would guess that North Korea’s doing this to get Russia to give them some help they had previously refused them,” defense researcher Bruce W. Bennett told the Washington Post.
This news arrives as tensions between North and South Korea have been escalating for months, with North Korea firing over 20 missiles into Ulleung island on Wednesday.
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We did it, Joe: Boobs are back on Tumblr. After banning adult content in 2018, Tumblr announced that it will allow nudity back on its platform — just not “explicit sex.”