When the gamergate scandal exploded and hit the mainstream media convo in 2014, what emerged was a much more widespread awareness of the misogyny, racism and harassment many women face simply for being part of an industry that some think is male-dominated. The statistics actually show that women make up at least half of the gaming community among some demographics, and outnumber men in others.
What has to change is the visual representation of what a typical “gamer” looks like, so that the culture can recognize that gender does not determine whether you belong in the industry.
One woman who is passionate about increasing the representation of women in the gaming world is viral Youtuber and content creator Brianna Arsement. Boasting over 6 million subscribers on Youtube (and 14 million+ across all her platforms) and more than 1.2 billion channels views to date, Brianna has quickly solidified her role as one of the internet’s premiere female streamers by challenging perceptions of women in gaming.
Best known for her ultra-viral, family friendly vlogs, challenges and gaming videos, Brianna first came to prominence after appearing in her husband Preston’s massively popular YouTube channel (Recently Preston was listed as YouTube’s 6th highest earning creator according to Forbes Magazine). After being introduced to the world of YouTube and gaming, Brianna quickly learned the ropes and rapidly expanded the growth of her channel, surpassing over 5 million subscribers in just over 1 year.
Prior to YouTube, Brianna worked as a registered emergency room nurse at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Because of this experience, Brianna developed a particular empathy for children and geriatric populations, and has demonstrated her commitment to helping others through her numerous philanthropic efforts with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Toys For Tots and more.
Recently, Brianna organized several gaming live streams with today’s top female gamers to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation. She is currently planning her next Starlight Stream which will feature other top female gamers. In anticipation of this, we had the chance to speak with Brianna about all things gaming, the representation of women, philanthropy, and what it’s like to collaborate with her husband!
How did you first get into the world of vlogging and decide to become a content creator?
As a little girl and still to this day, performing has been one of my biggest passions. Whether it is singing, dancing, acting, or public speaking, these things have always been something I’ve been in love with from an early age. However, I’ve also always loved helping others, so I decided to start my career as a registered nurse. During my nursing career, a coworker set me up on a blind date, which turned out to be my husband, Preston!
Preston had been vlogging since he was around 17 years old. He knew I had a passion for performing and being a light to others and began to integrate me into his own Youtube channel. From there, I found that this career was precisely where I was destined to be. I now manage three channels and my own team.
You are passionate about the representation of women in gaming. Can you share more about this?
I want to show people that gaming is not just for men. Unfortunately, not many games are marketed nor cater to women. Still, there are so many female influencers that are leading the way to make a change. Many girls don’t feel like there’s a space for them in gaming and esports. However, that is currently changing and evolving. If anyone has a passion for gaming professionally or for fun, do it. Don’t let your gender determine what’s destined for you. If you believe in yourself and have fun with it, that’s what people will see.
Why do you think there is still so much sexism and pushback toward women in the gaming space? And what would you say to men who feel threatened?
The biggest misconception is that women in gaming are not as good as their male counterparts, and with my platform, I want to provide a voice for girls in gaming. I know so many incredible women who are changing how people think about female gamers, and people are evolving. I may not be the best gamer in the world but it’s something that I love and brings me joy. In regards to feeling threatened, gaming isn’t a gendered thing. People should do what they love because they love it.
Your videos have tens of millions of views, often go viral, and are super fun to watch! And you often collab with your husband Preston. What is it like to have a partner in the same world as you? Is it competitive?
Working with my spouse is a huge blessing. We work in an industry that, at times, can be challenging for people to understand if they’re not involved with it. Both of us love what we do so much that we often come home and talk about new and exciting video ideas, how a vlog shoot went etc. I don’t find working with my husband to be competitive. I find it to be a benefit. Preston and I are both very creative, and by working together, we can help bounce ideas off of each other, as well as challenge each other to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone for our business to grow.
What are some of the perceptions of female gamers you like to challenge with your content?
I want to show girls that they can do anything boys can do and not let what others think hold them back from their dreams.
Can you tell us about your recent live gaming stream to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation?
Recently I started doing live charity streams with this incredible organization called Starlight Children’s Foundation. They are an incredible organization that provides hospital wear, entertainment, games, and deliveries to hospitalized and seriously ill children. I love doing these streams because it’s not only an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for this organization, but it’s also to create a safe space for female gamers to play and compete with each other. In the past, I have had amazing creators join alongside me to promote Starlight, such as MsMunchie, Azzyland, and Lizzy Capri. I think there will be quite a few familiar faces in our next stream!
Why is philanthropy important to you personally, and how does your previous career in the medical field tie into this?
I have loved partnering with Starlight Children’s Foundation because its mission is to bring joy, clothes, toys, and games to medically ill children. These ideals significantly align with my own. In my NICU (newborn intensive care unit) rotation in nursing school, I saw many cases of babies and families who were hurting, and it broke my heart. I love to give back a little bit of joy whenever I am able.
What games are you currently playing and can’t get enough of?
Right now, my two favorite games to play on my gaming channel are Minecraft and Roblox. These games are also a fun way to connect with friends because they have many customizable features to make the players’ gaming experience their own. From playing premade games and maps to customizing your own world, the options are endless.
Has the representation of women within games become more positive and less objectified as the conversations about this issue continue?
Yes, I believe with the rise of extraordinary female gamers taking to youtube, streaming, esports, and other platforms, the message of female representation is beginning to grow. There is an increasing number of female gamers collaborating with male gamers, showing that males and females are equal. I definitely find that we’re moving in a positive direction in gaming. We are seeing female gamers join the platform more than ever before.
If you could design your ideal game, what would it look like and what would the objectives for players be?
One of my favorite things about gaming is that it gives you the ability to connect with people all over the world. One of my favorite games is The Sims because of their character customization, house building, and character development. Creating a game in a similar style where other players can join in would be a blast. This type of game already allows AI character interaction, so interacting with real players would be a fantastic way to connect with people everywhere.
You can follow all of Brianna’s escapades by subscribing to her channel, and be sure to keep an eye out for an announcement about the date of her next Starlight Stream.