@Lady_Goggles, 34 – FUNDED

Joan who goes by @Lady_Goggles on Twitch originally started streaming to keep her husband company; he works third shift and their schedules were often difficult to organize together. In so doing, this BroadcastHER Grant winner discovered a whole lot more than she bargained for — including the fulfilling impact of connecting and streaming with many wonderful people on Twitch. In addition to role-playing games and narrative-heavy games, she also hosts a monthly community podcast, monthly tarot card readings, and occasional community nights. Read on to learn more about this broadcaster and her bits of valuable advice.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

First, I want to expand what it means to be a broadcaster; gaming is fantastic, but gaming with a purpose to teach or illustrate principles is one of my big goals. I want to incorporate lessons about media theory — and eventually art concepts and techniques — and to use my eventual Master’s degree to teach on Twitch by using games. My second dream, like many others, is to make Twitch Partner. Once I’ve sorted out my niche and improve my content, I feel that I’ll be a good fit with the other folks in the Partner program. This, in turn, will help support my first dream, which is to teach media and analyze games together.

How will the BroadcastHER Grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

I normally cannot afford gaming hardware because I would have to choose between purchasing games and systems or paying rent, buying groceries, making sure my lights are on, and the like. This grant will help me to purchase new hardware; I’m so excited to get a Playstation 4! This will really open up a variety of titles to me that are locked to particular systems, which I know my audience is looking forward to. In turn, we’ll be able to analyze and review more games, which provides more teaching content. I’m stoked!

What does being the recipient of the BroadcastHER Grant mean to you?

At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m still shocked and completely humbled. I can’t imagine how many other women have applied who are equally as qualified to receive this grant, and the fact that I was chosen is something I’m still in the ‘WOW, WHAT?!’ stage of! It also provides me with a sense of validation for my work. Being able to join the roster of previous, current, and future recipients is an absolute gift. There’s so much talent and passion in these women and I’m so grateful to be part of this.

Women are underrepresented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports. What can we do to change this?

Firstly, we need solidarity from the gaming companies. We need gaming developers and publishers to stop tiptoeing around these and other related social issues and take a firm stance in addressing them. For example, companies can invest in diversity training, hire underrepresented people to let them be an active part in game development, and provide better moderation tools to weed out harassers and trolls, among other things.

Secondly, we need solidarity from men. It’s time for them to stop being afraid of being called a ‘white knight’ (or worse) when they witness toxicity happening to women and other players. They need to step up and say something. I’ve heard so many stories of women walking away because they were being harassed and nobody spoke up. Of course the onus isn’t just on men here — everyone should do this — but it’s something that men especially should keep in mind.

Thirdly, we need solidarity from each other. Encourage people to watch streamers who are women, PoC, LGBTQ+, and so on. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; try games that are heavily female-focused, queer-focused, or PoC-focused. Play tiny indie games. Tweet about your favorite female e-sports players, streamers, or game developers — or blog about them and make YouTube videos. Make more integrated e-sports teams. Call out toxic behavior when you see it.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I believe that these are all steps in the right direction.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

I’ve experienced harassment firsthand for my gender, my weight, my appearance, and my gaming skills. Additionally, trying to convince people that gaming can be serious art worth critiquing and analyzing is often a uphill battle. None of this is easy, but it’s worth doing.

What advice do you have for women who want to start broadcasting?

Like many others, I’m going to first say: Just start doing it. Don’t wait until you have the perfect hardware, mic, graphics card, mouse, etc. Pick your platform of choice, have an idea in mind, and jump in. Even if that’s just playing a video game and talking about it. Even if your webcam is terrible. Equipment can be upgraded gradually over time. You will get better the more you stream. Just go for it.

Second, if you plan on doing this as a side gig or more, consider what will make you different from the tens of thousands of other people broadcasting. What is something unique that you can bring to the table? What spin on gaming can you spice up and make interesting? Exercise your creativity here.

Thirdly, if you’re very lucky, you won’t have to deal with this. But the truth of the matter is that you’re going to get harassers — especially if you decide to use a webcam. The block/ban buttons are there for a reason, and do NOT feel bad about using them. Understand the difference between constructive critique, which some people might give you, and people being trolls. You are not obligated to give anybody your time or energy, especially if they’re abusing you. Many people suggest growing a thick skin, but we’re not all capable of this. Have friends come into your stream to chat with, and/or make people you trust moderators if you have a hard time dealing with jerks. These people can make all the difference.

Fourth: You don’t have to stream every day. Really. Truly. Now you’re going to be ‘competing’ with people who do that, but your health is more important than any stream. This is especially true if you’re juggling streaming, school, a social life, family, and work. This all adds up. Burnout is a real problem in the broadcasting community and many people don’t realize this until they’re knee-deep in problems. Sort out a schedule that includes time for all your non-broadcasting obligations AND some free time for yourself. Use the days you’re not streaming to network with other broadcasters, improve your stream, and come up with ideas. Don’t hurt yourself over streaming.

Fifth: Have fun!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I’m old-school and use a paper planner for my schedule, priorities, and goals. I try to break down tasks into what I can get done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this quarter, this year. Having a visual ‘map’ of what I have to do helps me immensely. I’m not perfect at this yet, but I’m getting there!

For motivation: This is a tough one, since I struggle with it. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve only got one life to live and that I need to define my own purpose in it. I’ve struggled with a lot of hardships in my life and sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the hope that I could chart my own path in life. I stay motivated for my husband who has been such a solid, loving means of support to me. I stay motivated for my grandmother, long since passed, who pushed me to be better than the circumstances of my birth. I stay motivated for me. I have to keep going for my own happiness and self-satisfaction, so that I can look back with no regrets. It’s so much better to try and fail than to never try at all. Keeping all this in mind drives me forward.