Games News

YouTube’s ‘Skyrim’ Grandma Is Taking a Break After Reading the Comments

Her frustration is familiar to anyone who has been a woman doing anything for an audience on the internet.
May 26, 2020, 3:47pm
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The 82-year-old Shirley Curry, affectionately known as Skyrim Grandma, is taking a two week break from YouTube. I can relate.

After four years of consistently uploading videos in which she roleplays through the games' myriad quests, Curry is scaling back because she's tired of the way that her own fanbase treats her.

Here's a question I get asked a lot which has never made any sense to me: "do you play games?" It is a weird question to be asked when you tell people that you are a journalist who covers video games, but people ask me this all the time. I don't think that you'd ask a music journalist if they listen to music, or if you'd ask a movie reviewer if they watch movies. My reaction when I hear that question is less angry, than it is tired, bemused, and frustrated. It's that same mixture of emotions that I hear in Curry's voice in her video announcing that she's taking a break from the platform.

Curry went as far as to say that she's not getting any joy out of YouTube, and that she is scaling back from the platform significantly. Previously, Curry uploaded a video almost every day. Her new schedule will include a stream on the weekend, and then shorter videos on Tuesday and Thursday.

Curry said that people bother her incessantly with questions about her style of gameplay, and they talk down to her about her knowledge of the game.

"Some of the comments are stressing me out way too much," she said. "I've played Skyrim for years, and I know about the HUD, I know about the different mechanics for how to play the game, and I don't need to be reminded and told all the time. Any comments like that are going to be deleted."

It doesn't help that she's in her eighties and her blood pressure is a real concern.

"I'm not trying to be cranky, or mean or hateful," she says near the end of the video. "I've tried to explain myself before, and nobody gets it. Just recently I tried to explain myself to someone and they came back at me with more. I can't handle it. That just finished topping off my stress. My blood pressure shot right up, so, I can't do this."

"I have to care for my health, because nobody else is going to but me," she continued.

The notion that no one owes you an explanation for anything is one that people on the internet find hard to swallow, given that platforms like YouTube are beholden to a "marketplace of ideas," where everyone is supposed to debate their viewpoints all the time. Hearing that you don't have to do that, and that no one owes that to you from a grandmother might make it go down easier, especially when she describes the physical effect that stress has on her body.

A lot of content creators also experience this kind of burnout and stress, and even though younger bodies can handle it better, it's not like high blood pressure is good. It's a little sad to see that the same irritating forces of the internet got to Skyrim Grandma. Maybe we can all try to remember next time that when someone tells us "no," we don't need to ask "why."

This article originally appeared on VICE US.