Djarii Streaming Body Painting: Is It Sexual?
Sophia “Djarii” White is a body painting master on Twitch. She combines her talent for art and her interest in video games to create intricate works of art on her steam by painting her body in elaborate designs and costumes. Though her self-expression has caused a bit of controversy to come her way as some in the community believe her stream is just a loop hole through Twitch’s rules allowing illicit nudity on the site.
Streaming since 2014, White is no novice to art though, studying the subject in two different universities in England and Scotland before she became a Twitch Streamer full time. She couldn’t have predicted the backlash she would receive when she first started streaming. Her content started simple enough, like most streamers on the site she stuck to playing video games until Twitch debuted “IRL” channels in 2016, That’s when White decided to use her craft to begin painting her face as characters from her favorite video games, like World of Warcraft. It was a natural progression—makeup, she told Kotaku at TwitchCon earlier this month, has always been a core part of her identity.
“I was a very awkward-looking kid,” White said. “I found myself with a bunch of friends who listened to heavy metal and wore big, black makeup and really out-there clothing. That just made me feel like the best version of myself. Ever since then, I’ve been trying crazy makeup.”
After failing to win, once she made it to the finals of the UK’s Nyx Face Awards, she was inspired to hone her craft and she began making more elaborate designs on her Twitch stream. She began to paint large potions of her body which lead to the controversy. She compares her art to painting on a canvas but notes how it can be more difficult painting backwards in a mirror, making everything reversed. It makes the fancy scrolling of calligraphy even more difficult, but she says it’s all about training your eyes. Not to mention the mental fortitude to apply layer upon layer of paint to yourself for sessions that can sometimes last 15 hours. It can be very exhausting mentally,” she said. “Makeup and any art is an intimate and personal thing that it’s sometimes hard to share with the world. There are so many judgements and critiques, and sometimes you can’t take Jimmy in chat over there telling you that your painting style just isn’t really up to his taste.”
Even with Twitch’s expansion from just video games to creative streaming, it can cause a bit of a stir within the community when an artist makes it big on the platform, some viewers believing that its leaching off the hard-won success of gamers. Some in the community seem to be harder on the female streamers for just existing on the site, and god forbid if they happen to show any skin, so you can imagine the flack White gets for painting hers live on camera.
Body painting really seems to get under the skin of those who are especially opposed to the changes on Twitch because it was the first time the site explicitly allowed a degree of nudity boasting it as art. It remains a target for the angry keyboard warriors adding fuel to the fires of their wild conspiracy theories that Twitch has become a platform fueled by the deceptive practices of the succubus army that are half naked woman trying to squirrel men out of their money.
White seems to be at center of their attacks, with her being the most popular of the body painters on the site, she receives an increasing amount of the abuse leaving her disheartened by this response from the community.
White’s goal is to set an example that viewers and haters alike can learn from, so that things will be better on Twitch not just for her, but for the whole community of streamers who specialize in makeup and body painting.
“I prefer just to educate people on what is and isn’t sexual and why context is very important in this matter,” she said. “And also that being sexual is not a bad thing at all. If you don’t like that part of Twitch, then just don’t watch those channels.
“Not all body painting includes the entire body, nor is it only on a woman,” White said. “There are male body painters as well, and you don’t see the same comments flying toward those guys.” White will sometimes just do face painting, or paint down to her shoulders, or further down her torso. “All of them are the same as far as sexuality goes, which is non-existent in any way, shape, or form,” she said. “There are ways to get sexuality across that are much easier than spending 15 hours to paint yourself to look like something that isn’t really sexual at all.”