Don't Be a Simp: Parasocial Relationships Aren't Relationships

(David Aliaga/LAUREL Photo Services via AP)

We live in a bizarre time where someone can turn on a camera in their own home and entertain thousands of people in real-time. Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube make quite a bit of money by providing people a way to perform various activities live, including playing video games, carving sculptures, or just chatting about anything.

What’s more, these viewers can communicate with these performers and even give them money through subscriptions. As I write this, I’m watching the popular gaming streamer Dr. Disrespect play Bioshock and he’s getting a new subscriber almost every other minute. It’s both lucrative for the streamer and the platform.

For the most part, people understand that the streamer they’re watching isn’t actually their friend. What they’re engaging in is a very fancy business transaction. They do something entertaining, chat with various people watching, and you give them money for it if you so choose. Entire communities can form around a streamer that breeds friendships and social hubs, but it’s generally understood that it’s not a friendship between viewers and the streamer.

But for some reason, this logic breaks down when you enter the realm of erotic streaming. Cam girls have been a thing since the internet existed but Twitch brought about a new breed of them. Since Twitch has rules against full-on nudity or intense sexual displays, these girls appeared in clothing that promoted their God-given assets be they low-cut shirts and pushup bras or just straight-up bikinis.

These women would bring in viewers by the thousands and they would use that leverage to create off-shoot accounts on platforms where people could subscribe for more risque content, or just flat-out porn starring the streamer.

One of these erotic streamers is Kaitlyn Siragusa, more popularly known as “Amouranth.” She is one of the — if not the most — influential erotic streamers on Twitch and even posts harder content on subscriber platforms. Allegedly, all of it together nets Amouranth $1 million a month.

Over the weekend, Amouranth went live and broadcast her husband saying very abusive and horrific things to her during a phone call, such as threatening to kill her dogs. As things progressed it became clearer and clearer that her husband was in control of almost every aspect of her life and that even her career as an erotic celebrity may have been partly forced on her.

At one point, she comments through sobs that he used her body to build his “empire,” hinting that it was her husband pulling all the strings and forcing her to do things she might not have wanted. It’s incredibly difficult to watch as it shows a person in the midst of spousal abuse and possibly sex trafficking, but Charlie White (a.k.a. Cr1tikal) broke the entire thing down in his own video.

Amouranth going live amidst her husband screaming threats at her over the phone was clearly a cry for help. For those who have never been in an abusive relationship, it can feel like you’re in a mental prison and sometimes it takes drastic measures to free yourself. Amouranth’s move seems to fall into that category.

We can conclude it was a desperation-fueled move for two reasons. For one, very few people knew Amouranth was married, and two, women in her field of work typically benefit nothing from being in a known committed relationship.

Disgustingly, this event caused a great deal of anger to erupt from within her fanbase. While many were absolutely concerned about her well-being, many others became furious that they had given her money for years only to find out she has a husband.

What makes it worse is that this wasn’t just a small group of people. This was a lot of people. Many, many men felt betrayed upon the revelation that the woman who streamed to thousands of men while sitting around in a bikini actually had a real relationship with another man.

It’s obvious that these people are foolish for thinking they were anything but pay pigs. It’s the equivalent of thinking the stripper is actually into you. The relationship between any streamer and their audience is purely business, even when intimate parts of themselves are what’s being sold as the product.

It begs the question, though. How did so many men get to the point where they’d become convinced that the streamer owed them some sort of romantic attachment? How many men are so desperate that their entire romantic life boils down to gifting $5 to the streamer and hearing them simply read out their screen name?

It’s worth exploring. Given today’s state of men in society, the increased amounts of depression, suicide, and mental instability, I can’t help but think this is a symptom of something else more than it is its own problem.

But the bottom line is that a relationship that is only beneficial to one side isn’t a relationship. Like every other kind of streamer, you’re voluntarily paying for entertainment, not a relationship. The feelings they experience aren’t real, and they should never be confused as such. It’ll only break the bank and you’ll still be alone at the end of the day.

The only person to get mad at when you find out the streamer you’ve been fawning over is in a relationship is the person foolish enough to believe that being one of many handing over money made them special in the eyes of the streamer.

In short…



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