The Public Relations BlogPR TrendsOnline SubculturesDoes Female VTubers Count As Women?

Does Female VTubers Count As Women?

Perhaps not a W for female gamers, but a burgeoning age of avatarism.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


VTubers are on the rise, but is it empower­ing for women?

Men have primar­ily dom­in­ated YouTube game stream­ing. However, female gamers have been gain­ing pop­ular­ity on the plat­form for a long time.

However, only one of the ten most fol­lowed female game stream­ers is human. What does this mean?

Here we go:

Most Watched Female YouTube Streamers

StreamsCharts pub­lished this rank­ing on X (Twitter):

StreamsCharts tweet on August 29, 2023, showcasing the most-watched female YouTube Gaming streamers
StreamsCharts tweet on August 29, 2023, show­cas­ing the most-watched female YouTube Gaming stream­ers (image via X/​Twitter).

Japan dom­in­ates the chart.

The “odd-one-out” is, of course, the stream­er Valkyrae. When see­ing the list on X (Twitter), she said:

I saw on Twitter there was this graph that said, ‘Top female stream­ers,’ of a cer­tain week on YouTube. And, I’m like, in the middle. And, I’m the only one from America and every­one else is a VTuber.”
— Valkyrae (via sports​keeda​.com)

So, all the oth­er females on the list are vtubers.

That’s worth know­ing a little more about, right?

The Avatar Puppetry of VTubers

What’s a vtuber? A VTuber is a vir­tu­al you­tuber.

Despite all the talk of AI clones and deep­fakes, the vtuber avatar is dir­ectly oper­ated by a human. For now, at least.

The vir­tu­al on-screen avatar is con­trolled by a human using facial track­ing hard­ware and a micro­phone. The hard­ware registers your facial expres­sions and voice to anim­ate the avatar in real time.

In many ways, vtubing is a form of social media puppetry.

And who are these game-stream­ing pup­pets? They are, almost without excep­tion, vari­ous animé characters.

So, is vtubing Sesame Street for “thirsty” animé fans?

Japanese Culture is Strange Sometimes

Combining girls, school uni­forms, animé, game stream­ing, and large online audi­ences look­ing for enter­tain­ment has been a recipe for suc­cess in Japan — and many oth­er places where animé vtubers are popular.

How much of this phe­nomen­on is an online mod­ern art install­a­tion — and how much is a Japanese “weird sex thing?” 

Sex is where the weird­ness of the Japanese cul­ture peaks. I should start by say­ing that the widely held belief that you can buy soiled school­girls’ knick­ers from vend­ing machines is apo­cryph­al, but it cer­tainly could be true. It would hardly be out of char­ac­ter.”
— “Mad in Japan” by A.A. Gill

For con­text, it’s import­ant to point out that animé is a recog­nised art form with mil­lions of fans glob­ally. And Japanese fans are no strangers to “real-life” animé characters.

This is Hatsune Miku from 2016: 

Enter: Hololive Production

So, who are the people behind these vtube avatars? Most are run by a Japanese “vir­tu­al tal­ent agency,” Hololive Production.

Hololive Production (Japanese: ホロライブプロダクション) (styl­ized in lower­case) is a vir­tu­al YouTuber agency owned by Japanese tech enter­tain­ment com­pany Cover Corporation. In addi­tion to act­ing as a multi-chan­nel net­work, Hololive Production also handles mer­chand­ising espe­cially in music pro­duc­tion and con­cert organ­iz­a­tion. As of January 2023, the agency man­ages 75 VTubers in three tar­get lan­guages (Japanese, Indonesian and English), totalling over 50 mil­lion sub­scribers, includ­ing sev­er­al of the most sub­scribed VTubers on YouTube.”
— Wikipedia 1Hololive Production. (2023, October 9). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​H​o​l​o​l​i​v​e​_​P​r​o​d​u​c​t​ion

So, it’s busi­ness.
And that’s fine.

However, we should be mind­ful of por­tray­ing vtubers as an empower­ing aspect of the grow­ing sub-cul­ture of female gamers.

On the oth­er hand, not hav­ing to show your face online might be the lib­er­at­ing force the online world of influ­en­cers (both male and female) needs. 

Perhaps anonym­ity and “free­dom from phys­ic­al appear­ance” will unleash the next social media revolu­tion of human expression.

The Top 20 most popular VTubers as of October 10, 2023, calculated by adding up their follower and subscriber counts across Twitch and YouTube (
The Top 20 most pop­u­lar VTubers as of October 10, 2023, were cal­cu­lated by adding up their fol­low­er and sub­scriber counts across Twitch and YouTube (dex​erto​.com).

The Future of Online Avatarism

We knew life­like avatars were com­ing, but Mark Zuckerberg still amazed most of us when he show­cased Meta’s tech­no­logy via Lex Friedman’s podcast.

Your avatar can do many things you can’t (or won’t) do. Whether it resembles you exactly, a bet­ter ver­sion of you, or not, the future of avatar­ism seems to be com­ing. 2Anubhav. (2023, October 9). Meta is reportedly pay­ing celebrit­ies mil­lions of dol­lars to use their per­son­al­ity as AI Chatbots. Gizmochina. … Continue read­ing

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has



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