Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:58 pm

The prime example of that would be the Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga. Yes, it’s teen oriented, so it would make some sense. But the series and franchise have been around for over 20 years, and most of viewers from back then are all adults now.

I’m sure something like this have been covered before, but I thought I give my input on this.

It’s not just EVA though, but some of the high school eicchi comedy type of genre in anime as well. Doesn’t that sort of thing creep people out, or is it not really a big issue? And how was it allowed for localization?
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Derantor » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:31 pm

On the whole, no, I'm not. There are things like Asuka's slutsuit in 2.0 that just rub me the wrong way from time to time, and I've got no clue what the spinoffs are doing, but other than that, the series and movies are fine. They are dealing with people in puberty. Excluding sexuality from that would feel utterly wrong. And to be honest, I don't care that much if people wank to ficticious cartoon characters.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:53 pm

View Original PostDerantor wrote:And to be honest, I don't care that much if people wank to ficticious cartoon characters.

Yeah, but the EVA pilots are like 14, though. And, apparently, there are people who tend to get worked up over it.

SPOILER: Show
In one part of the Shinji Ikari Raising Project, it did showed Asuka topless, in full view. I could just imagine some people’s reaction upon seeing that.


But yeah, there’s some people who don’t think that it’s a big issue. Tumblr might be a different story, I think.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby orcot » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:26 am

doesn't Shinji knock up Asuka in the re take spin off? She's still 14 at the time right? people seem to like this spin off. Sometimes you wonder why they choose 14 and not for example 18 for the pilots. I think all the pilots would have still worked altough I've read that one of the reasons the english world dislikes Shinji more (ignoring the memes) is because Shinji is voiced by a male voice actor whilst in other languages he is voiced by a more child like voice (and also a woman). Allowing Shinji to get away with more. I wonder if it's true.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:47 am

"Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?"

I guess it depends on what said sexualization is trying to say. Like, teens are horny, dude. To create media that expects teens to be innocent, sexually sterile creatures with no hormonal urges seems insidious and straight up misinforming teens of the naturally occurring changes in their bodies. It's gaslighting them into thinking "Yeah, it's weird that you're curious about sex at your age, and even weirder if you wanna have it." Like, that scene in EoE where Shinji jacks off to the sight of Asuka's breasts isn't there because kids don't want to do those kinds of things.

On the other hand, it's also insidious to create media that exploits these natural desires, placing teens in a vulnerable position where they may be targeted for harm. Even simply creating media that's all like "Yeah, kids are horny at a certain age" without addressing it in a deeper level is unhelpful and even dangerously close to implicitly encouraging sexual exploitation of teens in this crazy time in their life. There needs to be further commentary and insight into such things. Like, that scene in EoE where Shinji jacks off to the sight of Asuka's breasts isn't there to say "Well, kids just be like that sometimes;" the scene as a whole is actually rather condemning of the sexual exploitation that just occurred.

As for who watches what, man, I dunno. That's not something anyone can enforce, and the ball is entirely in your court as to whether or not you should be watching said media. I feel parents should be entirely concerned/worried when their teen becomes sexually aware of themselves. That's a very vulnerable and sensitive time in their kid's life, and those kids need a lot of guidance from wise people in order to navigate that safely. But art can often times be a safe environment in which certain ideas or emotions can be safely explored. Like, we all want to feel safe when we become sexually aware of ourselves, but what if we don't feel safe? What if you're scared of these changes regardless of what the caring people in your life are telling you? I watched Sakuran, the live-action film adaptation of Moyoco Anno's manga of the same title. The manga was written and illustrated by a woman, detailing a rather scandalous story from her perspective as a woman, and even using flashbacks to see that same story from the perspective of a scared little girl. The film, likewise, was also directed and adapted for the screen by a woman, and her influences and perspectives are also prominent in the film. There's scenes in both iterations where the main character thinks back to her childhood and being afraid of what "becoming a woman" would mean in the context of the brothel she's been sold to. Both the manga and the movie use the character being surrounded by woman's breasts in order to convey this fear and claustrophobia. Now, I'm sure none of these artists have actually been sold to a brothel, but it's still a good framing device for expressing certain fears about a girl growing up, especially in cultures where men mostly play a dominant role in how sexuality is defined and viewed. Both artists are really good at conveying the feelings they feel as women about this sensitive subject matter, and are extremely honest about their feelings to the point of showing some rather explicit visuals. Now what do grown men do when they see those explicit scenes? Hell if I know, I just know that I only let a scant few number of my friends watch that film with me because most of them aren’t looking to watch a movie to be made uncomfortable by inconvenient truths.

I feel like Eva is a bit of a different breed of art than Sakuran, though. Like, clearly the teens in Eva are supposed to be seen as sexually appealing or cute in a certain way at first, and then the TV series proceeds to deconstruct that aesthetic until the audience feels sickened by it. The NTE films carry that to some degree (though it's deconstructions isn't nearly as pronounced as it was in NGE yet), but I'll concede that this deconstructive aspect of the narrative might be absence from some of the spin-offs. (The only Eva spin-off I've ever seen was Eva @ School, so I can't commentate on anything other than that. I have also read Sadamoto's manga, for what it's worth.) Does that deconstructive aspect of the narrative justify the preceding sexual appeal of the characters? I dunno. To me, it's that whole balance between admitting that teens are sexually curious/active without exploiting the fact that teens are sexually curious/active. Some people feel different ways about how to strike that balance than others. And honestly, sexual feelings all together or something so personal and varied that I'm not sure if we can come on a level-headed consensus on how to present the non-pro-exploitive feelings people feel other than "Pedophilia, rape, and sexual abuse are wrong." Outside of that, every artist is going to convey their feelings differently. I, personally, wouldn't show as much skin as Eva does when telling a story like that, but those are my sensibilities. (I also work in live-action film where something like that would cause an even greater level of concern than grown adults drawing pencil lines on paper. Like, I'd get all nervous about filming a scene where an infant is being bathed in the nude.)

But what happens when the field of art, the safe space in which to explore emotions and idea, becomes tainted by all of these exploitative artists trying to (or inadvertently) normalize the concept of exploiting childhood sexuality via illustrative underage porn? That's a topic I cannot speak to in this context as Hideaki Anno's Evangelion, thankfully, doesn't do that. (But, like I said, I can't speak for all of the other Evangelions out there, other than Eva @ School.) But, generally speaking, I would say that it's bad. On one hand, sure, "It's just a drawing," does apply in the sense that no actual children were harmed in the creation of the image. But, on the other hand, art is never "just a drawing." Art is meaningful and impactful, which is why artists love to create, and why audiences love experience art. Both parties need to be careful as to how they approach art.

And this last point might sound somewhat defeatist, but people will fap/shlick to whatever they want. I mean, as soon as I realized that foot fetishes were things that existed, I knew keeping the minds of other people completely out of the sexy zone was a lost cause entirely. (C'mon, Joss Whedon. Feet? Goddamn, filthy feet? WHAT IS EVEN THE APPEAL THERE????) An artist can (and should!) be as careful as possible when depicted certain sensitive topics, and there are certain boundaries that will make some viewers feel uncomfortable when pushed or crossed, but even if you create something that you think isn't anywhere near sexual, it's never gonna stop a determined viewer from touching their naughty bits as they view said artwork. Good-faith artists should never be blamed for the bad-faith actions of their audience or fan base.
Last edited by FreakyFilmFan4ever on Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:21 am

Already shared my thoughts on that:

https://forum.evageeks.org/post/897214/Motivations-behind-sexual-themes-in-NGE/#897214

I'm more invested right now in denouncing the borderline child porn that is the new Cuties movie on Netflix.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Derantor » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:54 am

Like, I'd get all nervous about filming a scene where an infant is being bathed in the nude.

Why? Being nervous to film a completely innocent act already makes the act itself lose its innocence. It equates bathing an infant with actual porn by default and draws a connection that really isn't needed, at all.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:32 am

^ The nervousness comes from weird puritans wanting to cancel everyone for everything for every reason, not from my own feelings about baby bodies. Maybe my concern is over blown, but it's still there. For every weird fetishist out there there some equally weird puritan wanting to purge the world from anything the weird fetishists would want to fetishize. Many good-faith artists have their artworks caught in the middle of these crazy people's aggressive arguments and activities.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Zusuchan » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:37 am

Derantor:
Even though you might be filming something that's totally innocent and with no perverted meaning/subtext, there will still undoubtedly be people who might find some sick pleasure in it. People like Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley are probably being masturbated to while the masturbators are replaying mental images from films where they might have played characters who for the entirety of the film didn't engage in any sexual act whatsoever and might even have been nuns. If you're watching a film with a nude infant playing in the bathroom and you happen to be a pedophile, then the fact that this is supposed to convey memories of a happier time/the innocence of the child/whatever isn't going to stop you from potentially masturbating to it. This is also why people probably feel nervous when doing this kind of stuff since they want to get the point across without doing it in such a way that it makes it potentially easier for perverted people to masturbate to it because of something that the people involved with production didn't think of. Infants also can't say whether or not they'd like to be a part of any kind of artwork, so there might be a wish to make it so that they wouldn't feel horrified over the extent of their nakedness if they happen to see the work when they get older.

Not FreakyFilmFan4ever, of course, but just wanted to give y'all my two cents. Incidentally, kuribo-04, this is also a big part of why I also dislike Cuties-it has interesting ideas, but presents them in a way that is either meant to be pandering to the pedophiles or just the director being unaware of the dangers of what she's doing. It's a shame because it's a well-directed film that tackles potentially interesting ideas, but the constant crotch/butt shots of underage girls that have no deeper meaning and are utterly pointless drag the film down.

orcot:
ReTake isn't an official spin-off, but rather a fan work. And the reason for the pilots being 14 rather of 18 is probably because 1) it's a mecha anime convention and 2) at that age they're far more confused in regards to their sexuality and are only beginning to develop and understand it and are also more uncertain about themselves and in a generally weaker state of mind, all of which is important to the plot for several reasons (the role of sex and sexuality in human relationships is a big theme in Eva and it wouldn't work so well if some of the MC's weren't in an age where those issues would start to play out-Asuka's and Shinji's relationship would be entirely different if they were both 18).

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SIRP is the only Eva spin-off I know which self-consciously and constantly sexualizes every female character with the slightest amount of attractiveness without tying it into anything resembling a larger story/themes. NGE, EoE, and NTE (and Death and Rebirth too, of course) do sexualize the characters, but all within the boundaries of what I personally consider good taste and in NGE/EoE it's all tied together in a thematic way or for plot/narrative purposes while with the Rebuilds I think it's also plot/narrative purposes with some naturality and also meta subtext, though I shall refrain from any kind of larger comments because Shin isn't out yet and that's the film that will ultimately prove just how much my theories about the meaning of fan-service in NTE are true and justified. But I have faith that Hideaki Anno, the man who has spoken out against hyper-sexualization of underage girls and stuff of the like multiple times, has a deeper meaning for installing this kind of stuff into his new big project other than the added commercial value.

And when it comes to various Eva spin-offs, then, like I said, the majority of them seem to be respectful of the characters and not sexualize them in an inappropriate and/or meaningless way (which is basically the same thing) asides from SIRP and maybe also Anima. I'm not that knowledgeable about the larger state of such things and because of that can't make accurate judgments. But for me, the most important thing will always be the meaning of the main work and that has been explained plenty of times.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Lavinius » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:48 am

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:The prime example of that would be the Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga. Yes, it’s teen oriented, so it would make some sense. But the series and franchise have been around for over 20 years, and most of viewers from back then are all adults now.

I think that the expected & proper way for an adult to self-insert with this sort of thing (as much as private sexual fantasies need to be moral, which I think they should be) is to imagine themselves as a teenager alongside them, as they probably were upon the initial viewing, just as one would look back on a teenage tryst or crush they actually had.

As I grow older- I first watched Eva when I was 14, but I'll be Maya's age in a couple weeks- I do wish that anime weren't so focused on teenagers. Of course Eva's actually one of the least bad offenders there- the adult characters are just as fleshed-out and almost as focalized as the pilots are.

It’s not just EVA though, but some of the high school eicchi comedy type of genre in anime as well. Doesn’t that sort of thing creep people out, or is it not really a big issue? And how was it allowed for localization?

As far as I can tell, fanservice and even hentai of teenage anime characters isn't generally condemned in Japan, or at least not regarded much worse than any other sexual content. Even while, mind you, actual sexual relations between adults and teenagers are properly proscribed just as they are in the West.

Regarding how localizers addressed this, I do know that in the 90s, when eroges were being localized for America, the localizers would regularly change highschool settings to "college" ones and change the ages of underage characters where these were mentioned. But that was for actual, outright hentai- Eva isn't that, so there was no reason to bother.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Justacrazyguy » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:51 am

The sexualization of teenagers in evangelion is pretty tame to my eyes. Oh no, teenagers in revealing outfits, my pure virgin eyes! Maybe it's because by the time I saw eva I had seen much more revealing stuff(thanks, Paul Verhoeven) or maybe it's because I was also 14 and in the 10 years since I have managed not to be afraid or repulsed by the bodies of teenagers. That said, at the risk of sounding like a massive creep, I've seen plenty of anime where characters under the age of 12 are sexualized, and I just am not bothered at all.

It's all about intention in my eyes. If you're making a serious anime about whatever, the eroticism of the characters should be kept to a certain level(well, except if the show itself wants to deal with eroticism in a serious way, I suppose) and if you're just making a show like, say, High School of the Dead, where naked chicks is part of the package, of course there is gonna be sexualization all the time.

Again, I think Eva is in general tame and none of the fanservice detracts from the rest of the experience, at least to me.
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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:52 am

I just don't get how people see the Eva characters, especially in some of the weird spinoffs, as realistic depictions of teens.

I taught a class of 14/15 year olds last year, and yeah, they're kids. The story of Eva, at the end of the day, is made for adults. I related to some of the characters when I was 15, but it's later that I understood more and more about them.

Would people care if Eva was live action and the pilots were played by 20+ year olds? Why do people seem to care more when the characters are drawings (actually voiced by adults)?

In some way that I don't fully understand, people look at anime through a lens of realism, instead of the pseudo reality it often is.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Derantor » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:27 pm

I just don't get how people see the Eva characters, especially in some of the weird spinoffs, as realistic depictions of teens.

Not talking about the spinoffs, since they are just that, spinoffs, but - unrealistic how?

Edit: Also, the Pilots are hardly average teens in any case.

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Postby Blockio » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:01 pm

Yeah, the spinoffs are a whole different story; basically all of them are just glorified fanfiction, and should be treated as such.

As for the show itself - considering that "teenagers dealing with teenager emotions and then some" is kind of a big deal, I think they way it's done is thematically appropriate. Minut the pantyshots in Ha.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby silvermoonlight » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:37 am

I did yes but it was more in the Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga, since Shinji is face planting in to skirts constantly and its gets really annoying after a while along with naked Rei face planting in to naked Yui's chest which is just weird and strange.

There was also one chapter that was plain awful in that manga
SPOILER: Show
Where Seele takes control of Shinji's mind and goes full on rapist trying to tear Rei/Asuka's clothes off when they try and get him out of the virtual world where they are fighting angels like its super close to the mark before they snap him out of it and its such bad taste but I blame the manga creator for this as all these factor for me stopped this manga being as fun as it could have been since it leans so heavily in to sexualization and bad tropes.


The other spin off mangas I had no problems with and as for the merchandise you can cherry-pick what you want and if you dig hard enough you can find the normal pose figure/trading card/poster/wall scroll so the sexualized pose is optional.

As for the series and EOE I didn't view all the nakedness as sexual as Rei turning her back on Gendo and her actions in EOE instrumentally feels like empowerment whereas for Asuka when she is naked (discounting the hospital scene which I'm not going to unpack as I've done it in other threads) its about pure vulnerability even in the deleted scene where she is mentality loosing it. The same goes for Shinji and Ritsuko in the scenes they are naked there unsure vulnerable and though fan service does play a part in the early episodes it melts away as time goes on.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby kuribo-04 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:15 am

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Not talking about the spinoffs, since they are just that, spinoffs, but - unrealistic how?

Edit: Also, the Pilots are hardly average teens in any case.

This kind of depends on the episode/movie, but lots of the time the characters just look like models in their 20s (so do many of the figures). And I don't think their behaviour is that accurate to a teen either. Certainly the kid/adult dichotomy gets used thematically, but I don't think the behaviour, dialogue reflect the inner world of a kid. This becomes increasingly so as the show goes on.

Like, I don't think it'd sound natural, or appropiate for a 14 year old character to say to Shinji (EoE) "Come on, do it again. This time I'll be watching you". This only works because we understand the pseudo-reality of the whole thing. Eva was always about the inner world of its author, a man in his 30s.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Derantor » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:29 am

Well, okay, Anime body types being what they are, realism can not be expected on that front.

As for the dialogue: Generally, dialogue in fiction is much more refined than in reality (with a few obvious exceptions, like Huckleberry Fin, where characters speak with thick accents and so forth), simply because there is not enough time to let people talk like people talk (plus us only reading/listening to a translation) and accurate teenage dialogue is just cringe, at least in current year. That said, I agree with you in certain cases, like Instrumentality in EoTV (and parts of EoE), where the kids sometimes speak in terms I wouldn't expect from a teenager. As for the actual content of the dialogue (so the thoughts behind it), I have no problem with what's being said. None of the protagonists is a kid anymore; they are all pretty intelligent and spent most of their time around adults, not their own agegroup (at least for Asuka and Rei; Shinji is a little different in that regard). I might be biased since I spent my teenage years around similar loners, but it all seems pretty recognizable to me. So no, it isn't 100% realistic to how normal teenagers behave in the era post 2010, but realistic enough for fiction and given the circumstances the characters find themselves in.

(Since you mentioned Asuka's line, I vividly remember a certain fourteen year old girl I knew way back when mentioning that she wasn't an "anal virgin" anymore; but she'd been smoking weed since she was 13 and had switched to snorting coke at that point, so she might not have been your average teen either.)

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:57 am

Eva is actually pretty true to middle schoolers compared to other anime. If you want a crazy example of “aged up” anime middle schoolers, consider Revolutionary Girl Utena, where the characters are stated to be middle schoolers while looking and acting like what middle schoolers imagine 18-year-olds to be. (So, soap-opera characters in their early 20’s, maybe?)
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Postby silvermoonlight » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:50 pm

View Original PostDerantor wrote:(Since you mentioned Asuka's line, I vividly remember a certain fourteen year old girl I knew way back when mentioning that she wasn't an "anal virgin" anymore; but she'd been smoking weed since she was 13 and had switched to snorting coke at that point, so she might not have been your average teen either.)


I remember at 14 being in the changing rooms with girls and there was a competition was first over who got their period followed by who was no longer a virgin and it was an utterly ruthless competition and if you'd done it you were considered top of the hierarchy. I wanted no part in it since I was a loner who didn't care about my social standing, but it's a real thing so some 14-year-old doing it even if it's not legal I see as a real thing and yeah some may have lied but my money is on at least one doing for real, just to gain that top position. I also knew a 15-year-old who got pregnant when I moved schools the dad was never mentioned I assumed as it was a scandal and it wasn't legal as she was clearly underage.

This why I see Asuka's desperate need to be an adult and have sex as a twofold problem as I think part of was about her social standing, so she could stay at the top of the school girl pillar while the other is the desire to be an adult when she has no adult body to match and thinking she can solve her problems through sex and that sex is equal to love when in reality it's not making love and sex are two very different things.
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orcot
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby orcot » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:59 am

How does a 14 year old get coke? Also that smells like a Pathological liar. I bed theirs more pathological liars then Coke users in middle school

I remember at 14 being in the changing rooms with girls and there was a competition was first over who got their period followed by who was no longer a virgin and it was an utterly ruthless competition and if you'd done it you were considered top of the hierarchy.

If you had your period you didn' swim. Girls more talked abouth boob size, nobody liked the winner. Not the brigtest tool in the shed who doubled a couple of years. Their was pressure in shaving a little later. People would put stuff in your clothing bags and accuse you of stealing. School changing rooms are very different from ballet changing rooms. Their was always talk abouth what someone did but very little bragging.
Nobody ever mentionend any anal, then again the internet was boys stuff and yust recently stopped making those funny possessed noizes telling you you can't phone your friends.


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