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

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

Postby baldur » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:53 pm

Nuclear Lunchbox wrote:Redo of Healer, the infamous fantasy anime from the Winter 2021 season featuring numerous sex scenes filled with violence, rape, and gratuitous nudity, received a greater than average percentage of female viewers during its run. Anecdotally, I assumed it would do very well with men and fall completely flat with women. Clearly, I was incorrect and learned from my mistakes. This is an extreme example, but I think it bears relevance to the current fanservice conversation.

It sounds like we're dipping into the territory of claiming to know what women like. Perhaps some of our preconceived notions are incorrect.

I'm not really trying to speak for women. I actually tried to avoid sounding like that, but maybe I just didn't get my points across.

It's certainly interesting that this series attracted women in unconventionally high numbers, but it's not really a strong argument for or against anything. I can't claim to concretely know how every woman feels about sexually objectifying media, but I think it's pretty clear what demographic is being catered to with the sort of fanservice we're discussing; and it's not just to the exclusion of women, but also LGBT people, or simply those who don't enjoy sexual objectification or don't want it interfering with the story being told. I care about social justice personally, but I wasn't trying to be overly moralistic with my argument either: my main thesis was that, above all else, fanservice negatively impacts storytelling.

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

Postby BusterMachine4 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:29 pm

View Original Postbaldur wrote:It's certainly interesting that this series attracted women in unconventionally high numbers, but it's not really a strong argument for or against anything. I can't claim to concretely know how every woman feels about sexually objectifying media, but I think it's pretty clear what demographic is being catered to with the sort of fanservice we're discussing; and it's not just to the exclusion of women, but also LGBT people, or simply those who don't enjoy sexual objectification or don't want it interfering with the story being told. I care about social justice personally, but I wasn't trying to be overly moralistic with my argument either: my main thesis was that, above all else, fanservice negatively impacts storytelling.

You keep posting great comments. I admit that I was a bit too focused on feminist soapboxing earlier in the debate, but you helped me realize what the core of the issue is. It's not about whether women would mind the fanservice, it's about the intent of the authors inserting it in the first place. Only catering to the wishes of one specific demographic watching your show is a dumb idea, especially when the catering actively detracts from the story like with the pointless male gaze shots in shows like Eva.

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

Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:42 pm

It’s only “clear what demographic is being catered to” if we make the assumption that because WE like something, clearly the only other people who must like it are like us. One viewer being titillated or put off by something does not preclude other viewers both similar and different from experiencing it the same way.

Your argument claims exclusion of vast swathes of viewers, but this seems to deny those groups any agency in the matter at all. It's fine to say, "I don't like the fanservice in this show," or "I think the fanservice in this show detracts from my enjoyment of it," but claiming it excludes women and LGBT groups feels like an unfounded personal projection of one's own feelings.

View Original Postbaldur wrote:It's certainly interesting that this series attracted women in unconventionally high numbers, but it's not really a strong argument for or against anything.

It's an argument that when you fill a show with rape and sex and violence, such as breaking a woman's fingers and repeatedly healing them back to break them again, and doing questionable things with a red-hot iron poker, it clearly isn't excluding women. If anything, they flock to it in greater numbers.

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

Postby BusterMachine4 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:44 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:It’s only “clear what demographic is being catered to” if we make the assumption that because WE like something, clearly the only other people who must like it are like us. One viewer being titillated or put off by something does not preclude other viewers both similar and different from experiencing it the same way.

Your argument claims exclusion of vast swathes of viewers, but this seems to deny those groups any agency in the matter at all. It's fine to say, "I don't like the fanservice in this show," or "I think the fanservice in this show detracts from my enjoyment of it," but claiming it excludes women and LGBT groups feels like an unfounded personal projection of one's own feelings.

I don't think we're projecting at all. It's just basic logic: if a show sexualizes its female characters by giving the camera an unhealthy obsession with their boobs and butts, and none of the male characters get this sort of treatment, then the only people that would appeal to are perverted straight men. Women wouldn't want to see their own gender being sexualized (unless they're lesbians or bi), Gay men wouldn't want to see a gender they're not attracted to being sexualized, and non-perverts wouldn't want to see porn being forced into non-pornographic things anyways. Sexualizing women, and only women, is inherently exclusionary of every demographic that doesn't want to see women being sexualized.

Also, in case you haven't realized, we DON'T like the fanservice in Eva, so that first sentence is completely wrong.

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

Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:19 pm

That's not basic logic at all, it's a personal assumption that a) certain shots of characters imply an unhealthy obsession, b) that everyone who likes it must be a perverted straight man, c) that women don't want to see themselves sexualized, d) that fanservice is porn, and e) that entire demographics don't want to see any of this.

You're now making grand, sweeping assumptions about the people who make anime and the people who enjoy it, and seemingly projecting your own dislike of the content as the viewpoint that any rational non-pervert ought to have. Beyond recognizing your personal distaste, I have no desire to entertain further conversation with you.

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

Postby BusterMachine4 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:40 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:That's not basic logic at all, it's a personal assumption that a) certain shots of characters imply an unhealthy obsession, b) that everyone who likes it must be a perverted straight man, c) that women don't want to see themselves sexualized, d) that fanservice is porn, and e) that entire demographics don't want to see any of this.

You're now making grand, sweeping assumptions about the people who make anime and the people who enjoy it, and seemingly projecting your own dislike of the content as the viewpoint that any rational non-pervert ought to have. Beyond recognizing your personal distaste, I have no desire to entertain further conversation with you.

a) How are gratuitous boobs and butt shots not "unhealthy?" I would say it's pretty unhealthy for the directors to be like "hey, look at how hot that chick is!" during a scene that has absolutely nothing to do with how hot that chick is.

b) I didn't say only straight men could like it, I mentioned lesbian women and bi people too. But I still think you'd have to be pretty perverted to enjoy a bunch of pointless boob and butt shots that have zero relevance to the story. If you enjoy that stuff, I'm afraid you might be a pervert.

c) Of course straight women don't want to see themselves sexualized. If they did, they wouldn't be straight. Same goes for gay men wanting to see women sexualized. I'm assuming you're straight here, but would you want to jack off to gay porn?

d) I was exaggerating, dude. I know fanservice isn't porn, but it has the same spirit.

e) Of course entire demographics don't want to see women being sexualized in non-pornographic works. Straight women and gay men already fit into the demographic of "not sexually attracted to women," and non-perverts are the demographic of "doesn't want to see sexualization in non-pornographic works." Together, those groups form the mega-demographic of "people who don't want to see the fanservice in Eva." And it's a pretty big demographic.

And if you don't want to argue with me anymore, fine. I've said everything that I need to say on this matter.

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

Postby baldur » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:35 pm

View Original PostBusterMachine4 wrote:You keep posting great comments.

Aw, shucks. I like your posts too.

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:Your argument claims exclusion of vast swathes of viewers, but this seems to deny those groups any agency in the matter at all. It's fine to say, "I don't like the fanservice in this show," or "I think the fanservice in this show detracts from my enjoyment of it," but claiming it excludes women and LGBT groups feels like an unfounded personal projection of one's own feelings.

Look, we can agree to disagree about the obviousness of who's being catered to. That's fine. The point of my previous reply was to clear up that my argument does not rest on the social or moral factor.

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:d) that fanservice is porn

Okay, at the risk of being provocative - I really don't think it's that ridiculous to say that the lines between these two can get blurred.

That being said, I'd be interested in hearing you expand your thoughts on this topic instead of just responding to our qualms. I hope this doesn't sound too confrontational, but throughout this conversation you've kind of been elusive about your actual thoughts, alluding to them without explaining in any detail.

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

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:03 am

“Porn” is mostly used in discussions in its colloquial form. (Food porn, gore porn, action porn, etc.) I do not, nor will I ever, claim to know the meaning of the word “porn” in all of its colloquial uses.

Basically, unless it’s only about a 15 min video that starts off with a plumber/pizza delivery guy and the girl not having any money before things get hot and steamy, I’m not immediately able to identify a motion picture as porn. Raunchy? Risqué? Steamy? Scandalous? Hot? Absolutely. No question. Porn? Eh... maybe?

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

Postby pwhodges » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:35 am

View Original PostBusterMachine4 wrote:a) How are gratuitous boobs and butt shots
"Gratuitous" is a personal judgement; it would appear that to the director they are not always gratuitous.
not "unhealthy?"
The unhealthiness of sex is a personal judgement (often forced on people by religion).

And so on. This thread is showing far more obsession over sexualisation than most people experience when actually seeing it. Many people just let these things flow past them if they don't enjoy them.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

Postby BusterMachine4 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:30 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:"Gratuitous" is a personal judgement; it would appear that to the director they are not always gratuitous.

Isn't a pointless shot of a female character's boobs or butt, with zero relevance to the story going on, by definition gratuitous? Gratuitous doesn't mean bad, but it does mean irrelevant, and I'd say male gazey shots are pretty irrelevant.
The unhealthiness of sex is a personal judgement (often forced on people by religion).

Just so you know, I'm an agnostic. Also, I don't think sex itself is unhealthy, because that would be a stupid idea. Humans need sex to survive. I just think there's a time and place for it. And I don't think it's a good idea to randomly insert horny shots of female characters' attributes just because the director feels like it.
And so on. This thread is showing far more obsession over sexualisation than most people experience when actually seeing it. Many people just let these things flow past them if they don't enjoy them.

I wouldn't say that for sure. In fact, this whole debate I started was inspired by the reaction of two of my friends to seeing the show. They were really weirded out by all the male gazey shots in the show. They pointed out each one they noticed, and they could seemingly never let it stop bugging them. Even after we were done watching, they still called it "that show with the pointless cartoon boobs." It felt like the fanservice in Eva genuinely reduced their enjoyment of the show. So that experience turned me sour on fanservice, both in Eva and in general.

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

Postby baldur » Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:33 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:“Porn” is mostly used in discussions in its colloquial form. (Food porn, gore porn, action porn, etc.) I do not, nor will I ever, claim to know the meaning of the word “porn” in all of its colloquial uses.

I was just using it as in the wikipedia description, "portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal".

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:This thread is showing far more obsession over sexualisation than most people experience when actually seeing it. Many people just let these things flow past them if they don't enjoy them.

Well, yeah, because it's the topic that this thread is centered around...

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

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:55 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:The unhealthiness of sex is a personal judgement (often forced on people by religion).

And so on. This thread is showing far more obsession over sexualisation than most people experience when actually seeing it. Many people just let these things flow past them if they don't enjoy them.

Some religious people find it sexually arousing “spiritually fulfilling” to stamp out portrayals of sexuality in media.

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

Postby BusterMachine4 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:17 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Some religious people find it sexually arousing “spiritually fulfilling” to stamp out portrayals of sexuality in media.

You’re completely misrepresenting my argument, dude.

1. I already told you guys, I’m agnostic. I have no spiritual stake in not liking fanservice. I just don’t like it.

2. The whole “if you don’t like something sexual, you’re secretly into it” thing has been a dumb idea from the very beginning. I actually masturbate often, I just think there should be a segregation between fap material and serious works.

3. I’m not trying to “stamp out portrayals of sexuality” at all. There’s definitely ways that sexual content can serve an in-story purpose, and Eva does that a lot. I just think the endless lewd shots are completely pointless, demeaning towards women, and only intended to please one demographic, and I think the show would be better if they were removed. Is that unreasonable?

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

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:32 pm

BM4, I’m not discussing your points specifically. I’m just discussing a motivation. I was a part of the religious puritanicals for a while, so I just tend to be a bit more sensitive to those.

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

Postby Argent1995 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:58 pm

View Original Postorcot wrote: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.


That would run the risk of making them too mentally stable

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

Postby Mr. Tines » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:48 am

View Original PostBusterMachine4 wrote:1. I already told you guys, I’m agnostic. I have no spiritual stake in not liking fanservice. I just don’t like it.
There are secular belief systems that act like de facto religions, taking that place in the lives of people who don't ascribe everything to some bearded sky father figure. Anyone who describes themselves as male and then starts using the term "male gaze" with a straight face has been influenced by at least one of more puritanical forms of same.

To reiterate an earlier point of mine -- compared with other contemporary material that I had previously seen, NGE's level of fan-service was so slight that I kept wondering throughout where the "Service, Service" we were being promised had gotten to. Framing techniques that existed clearly to save on animation effort (like the times when Ritsuko and Misato are literally talking over Shinji's head) really don't pass muster.

Of course, we should not forget that, at the time, Anno was clearly an incel horny bastard, so the restraint in the final product is commendable.

View Original Postorcot wrote:doesn't Shinji knock up Asuka in the re take spin off? She's still 14 at the time right?
And brain-damaged, at that point IIRC, which doesn't alter the fact that she would be fertile -- "old enough to bleed" and all that. But truly, a doujin from a hentai circle really doesn't count against the original material.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

Postby BusterMachine4 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:14 am

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:There are secular belief systems that act like de facto religions, taking that place in the lives of people who don't ascribe everything to some bearded sky father figure. Anyone who describes themselves as male and then starts using the term "male gaze" with a straight face has been influenced by at least one of more puritanical forms of same.

Wait, how does that work? I thought the idea of the male gaze was pretty widely accepted. All it says is that works directed and written by men tend to sexualize women a lot, and that this large amount of sexualization can feel somewhat demeaning towards women. I don’t think that’s an idea based around Puritanism.
To reiterate an earlier point of mine -- compared with other contemporary material that I had previously seen, NGE's level of fan-service was so slight that I kept wondering throughout where the "Service, Service" we were being promised had gotten to. Framing techniques that existed clearly to save on animation effort (like the times when Ritsuko and Misato are literally talking over Shinji's head) really don't pass muster.

So you’re telling me that the random shots of Misato’s boobs and butt in the Episode 2 kitchen scene were intended to save on animation budget? There certainly are some shots where they were just trying to avoid showing faces, but that’s not a catch-all excuse, and there were plenty of shots genuinely intended to sexualize.

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

Postby baldur » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:44 am

I guess I'll also just reiterate that I'm not against sexual portrayals in media or anything like that. I also disagree with the notion that the concept of the male gaze or feminist theory in general is some form of puritanism, but whatever, I don't really think this is a conversation worth continuing. I've said what I wanted to say in this thread, and I think I did a decent job of getting my points across. Some will disagree on principle, and that's fine, but I don't think I have anything more to contribute at the moment. I also think the conversation got a bit combative near the end, so I just want to make clear that I mean no ill will to anyone that's participated in this discussion, regardless of any disagreements involved. This extends to pretty much any debate I might have or have had on this forum, but I think it's worth mentioning here just in case.

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

Postby BusterMachine4 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:49 am

That’s also how I feel. I may have some disagreements towards the participants in this thread, but I mean no ill will to anyone, and I’m sorry if this thread got a little out of hand.

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

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:35 am

@ Male Gaze there is still debate among feminist circles as to whether or not male gaze exists, and what it might look like. For example, there’s an argument that the Magic Mike films are still male gaze, despite the sexualization of men for a female audience, because the way in which the men are sexualized still present what straight (mostly white) men think of as a sexually attractive dude, and uses the camera to frame their sexual presence in the same way they would frame a woman’s sexual presence.

I think a more useful example for myself would be the difference in how female director Sam Taylor-Johnson visually framed Jamie Dorin’s physical sexual presence in the 50 Shades of Grey film adaptation vs how male director James Foley framed the same actor’s sexual presence in the sequels to that film. Sam Taylor-Johnson’s framing focuses more on Grey’s (played by Dorin) movements as he enters a room and, uh... “dominates” the female lead. James Foley, on the other hand, focused more on Dorin lifting weights, doing push-ups, and just framed his general dude-bro “Do you even lift, brah?”-ness.

There’s a counter argument among other feminists that these are all just, ya know, personal likes and dislikes, man. Some women might be turned on to a dude-bro lifting weights and doing chin-ups. Likewise, some men might actually find Sam Taylor-Johnson’s sexual framing of Christian Grey’s movements as an exemplifying peak sexuality for a straight (mostly white) man.

I’m in no position to weigh in from either direction, except to say that, if male gaze exists, then I definitely have it, and I notice it taking on different forms throughout my life. (“Sexy teen girl is hot” in my teenage years to “You’re not going out dress like that, are you?” in my adulthood, while still admiring the sexuality of women closer to my age.)


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