Body Bags - Feedback wanted:

Total posts: [37]
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1 Martello14th May 2012 08:10:21 AM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
I own the trade paperback and created the page on Body Bags. I'm assuming it was flagged because one of the two protagonists is a 14 year old girl who wears an extremely short cheerleader skirt and a skin-tight sweater. She has large breasts and they recieve a good bit of male gaze focus throughout the book, as well as the occasional panty shot.

The thing is, she's never in a sexual situation and the only sexual attention given to her are from a kid who likely isn't older than 16, and from a dirty old man street preacher. The scene with the street preacher portrays him as being an obviously horrible person, and there's nothing that could be played for titillation on the panel. She also doesn't look 14, so I doubt her character design was intended with pedophiles in mind. There's also very little "fanservice" other than any male gaze shots I already described - certainly no more than you'd see in your average superhero book, and probably less.

Still, the fact that she's so young and wears the outfits she does is concerning. The fact that I really like the book makes me clearly biased, so I'd like to hear feedback both from the other panel members and the community before I give it an angel.
"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
That's why I've been saying to be careful about the whole OMG, MALE GAZE ON THE TEENS. We start that and soon we can't even have Supergirl. Personally, as long as she's not butt naked and no sex stuff happens, just clean any examples that give us too much information.
Not to go offtopic, but this will set a precedent if we decide that sexualizing her because she doesn't look 14 is okay. Neutral statement, but just letting that be known.

To remain ontopic, what is the target demographic of Body Bags?
4 Martello14th May 2012 08:28:49 AM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
Here's an image of her for reference.

Arha, I was kind of thinking the same thing about "she doesn't 14 so it's okay," which is why this is a tricky one and I wanted to see what other people think.

The target demographic is likely 17-however old people read comic books.

edited 14th May '12 8:29:11 AM by Martello

"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
5 SeptimusHeap14th May 2012 08:30:15 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
14 year old is too old to be paedo stuff according to the other wiki. And even if it wer, the image [up] looks far older than 14 to me.

If it's for ~17 year old people, I'd say keep it.

ETA: Big error corrected here.

edited 14th May '12 8:35:23 AM by SeptimusHeap

...She looks like she could be up to 30.

Is there a way to get a more concrete answer on the demographics? Manga tends to be clearly defined as shonen/seinen/josei etc. but I don't really know much about Western comics. If you're right and it really is intended for teens, then it's probably okay.

edited 14th May '12 8:33:02 AM by Arha

7 Martello14th May 2012 08:33:38 AM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
[up][up]My thoughts exactly - my only issue here is that I know somebody's going to throw Eiken out there and I'm also bracing for the "Western bias" accusation. That's why I want this to be a clear and open discussion. Really, if it weren't for the Eiken precedent, I'd give this an angel and not even bother to start a thread. Keep in mind that I don't think this compares to Eiken at all, but I'm sure there are some here who might think so.

[up]Those demographic distinctions don't really exist in comic books, any more than they do in movies. There are plenty of R-Rated movies intended to appeal to both older teens and everybody else. Comic books are mostly the same way - titles in DC's Vertigo line usually contain graphic violence and sometimes graphic sex as well as swearing, and they're pretty much aimed at anyone old enough to buy them and mature enough to understand the subject matter. Body Bags is like that. The fact that I don't watch Japanese cartoon animes or read Japanese comic book mangas means the joseph/seinar/schönbrun demographic distinction means nothing to me and I can't compare that to this.

edited 14th May '12 8:37:43 AM by Martello

"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
8 Willbyr14th May 2012 08:34:37 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
The Other Wiki's page on it doesn't give a lot of info, but it implies a 17-and-older demographic intention.
I avoided mentioning Eiken both because it's a bit of a hot issue around here and because it apparently doesn't really have a plot.

Your point about target demographics is a little tricky. Adults read shonen (note, One Piece is shonen and it's more popular then the next eight or so top selling manga combined) and teens read seinen when they can. The target demographics thing may be less meaningful than it seems.

Still, I'd give this one a pass. I was for giving it a pass from the start, but I think the above issues need to be discussed, and this is a good place to do so.
The Fastest Man Alive
[up][up][up] As someone who likes anime, but wouldn't describe himself as an anime fan, the demographics essentially break down into "shou" = "young"/"sei" = "older", and "nen" = "boy"/"jo" = "girl". Knowing Japanese, there's probably a bunch of nuance that I'm missing, but it's enough that I can understand those four syllables.

Anyway, judging by the pictures, I wouldn't say this is pedo-pandering, but it rides the borderline, I think. How frequent are the Male Gaze shots of her?

edited 14th May '12 8:42:47 AM by BadWolf21

11 Meeble14th May 2012 08:58:25 AM from the ruins of Granseal
likes the cheeses.
As I've mentioned before, I'm more likely to be lenient on shows that sexualize teenage characters than I am for those that do the same for characters twelve and younger. That even mainstream media tends to sexualize teenagers is an unfortunate fact of life that we have to deal with, and I didn't get the impression from the guidelines that we are looking to cut everything that features a panty shot or Male-gazey cleavage scene for a character who is under sixteen.

Now, I'm not trying to say that those things aren't "iffy". And enough "iffy" in a single work can easily add up to "problem", and if the problems are big enough, it delves into cut territory. So the context of the work does need to be taken into account, and if it looks like the primary thing the work has going for it is the hyper-sexualization of teenage characters (such as, in my opinion, Kiss X Sis or Eiken), I'm going to be more likely to cut it.

I'm not getting the impression that this is that type of work from what I've seen so far, but I would like to see further discussion on it, and to review some of it myself if possible.
Visit my contributor page to assist with the "I Like The Cheeses" project!
Everyone knows that only over 40 dudes read capes and tights [lol] American comics tend to be pretty vague without any real age markers on the books, but I read G Ns not floppies, so maybe floppies have some indication? Anyway, say, Batman can range from Catwoman and Batman have sex 'on screen' to an innocent kiddie book.
13 shimaspawn14th May 2012 09:05:19 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
I think that's actually a good distinction between the works we've cut with teens and those we've kept. The focus of the works we've cut has been entirely on the sexualization of teenagers. It wasn't just a panty shot here or there. It sounds like the degree of sexualization she gets is more along the lines of Sailor Moon which we're declared such a clear keep that we laugh if you bring it up.

And I do think apparent age factors into it. Does a character look like a child, or a teen. Does she still look pre-pubescent despite her declared age? In this case I'd say the answer to that question is a resounding no, she does not look like she could actually be a child.

edited 14th May '12 9:08:08 AM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
14 SeptimusHeap14th May 2012 09:07:06 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
[up]Yep, Eiken was Porn Without Plot, except not explicit, to make the example, besides of the watermelon-breast-girl(s).

Agree on the apparent age part too.

(And to stop it already)

edited 14th May '12 9:15:03 AM by SeptimusHeap

Okay, that sounds like a pretty good calling on that rule to me. In any case, that aside, the story is not actually about sexualizing her, correct? The villain/local creep might do it, but otherwise the story seems to be about assassins and stuff.
Honestly, if someone had said she was in her 20s I'd probably believe them. In any case, the story seems mainly action oriented.
17 Komodin14th May 2012 09:45:01 AM from Windy Hill Zone , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
TV Tropes' Sonic Wiki Curator
Here's an image of her◊ for reference.

... I'll be honest, mon, if you hadn't informed me that she's 14, I would've thought that she was, at least, in her early 20's.

At any rate, as long as the whole point of the comic isn't to just over-sexualize her, I have no problems with it. In fact, this comic sounds pretty interesting...
18 Flyboy14th May 2012 01:20:30 PM from the United States
...yeah, she doesn't look 14 at all. I presume this is just more silly comic book male gaze but to the extreme.
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
Is there any emphasis on the fact that she's fourteen?
I'd be inclined to give this an angel. If what Martello says is true, only two characters show any real interest in her, and one's a scumbag who doesn't get the chance to do anything while the other's in the appropriate age range. It also looks like any high rating comes from the violent premise and presumably gory art, given the page image, and not anything to do with the fact that Panda's skirt is practically nonexistant and she's a hell of an early bloomer.

edited 14th May '12 2:15:36 PM by Katrika

"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
21 Martello14th May 2012 03:01:02 PM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
Katrika's assessment is correct.

So I'm giving this an angel then.
"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
22 Komodin14th May 2012 03:07:39 PM from Windy Hill Zone , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
TV Tropes' Sonic Wiki Curator
Eh, I'll give this an angelhead, too. This ain't pedobait, and that's alright with me.

edited 14th May '12 3:07:56 PM by Komodin

23 Meeble14th May 2012 05:39:03 PM from the ruins of Granseal
likes the cheeses.
Yeah, what I can find makes the series look pretty fanservicey in the portrayal of the character, but going by the precedent of "letting some teenage fanservice slide as long as the sexualization is not the primary purpose of the work" as I mentioned earlier would give this one a pass.

edited 14th May '12 5:39:19 PM by Meeble

Visit my contributor page to assist with the "I Like The Cheeses" project!
I'd think that "they're really 14, but they look older" should make a work okay for the same reason that "they're really hundreds of years old, and they only look 12" makes it not okay: the characters' appearance is heavily related to who the work is meant to appeal to. If the character looks sexually mature, it's meant to appeal to people who aren't pedophiles, and if the character looks very young, it's meant to appeal to people who are, regardless of the actual age. This is a Western example, but it turns up a lot in anime. Characters in anime and Japanese video games are heavily subject to Improbable Age and Wise Beyond Their Years where the character is said to be a certain age but acts and is drawn like someone several years older.

To give an extreme example, if a Robot Girl who in-story is a week old looks like an adult, acts like an adult, and is sexualized, do we really want to treat that as pedo bait? Or shouldn't the "looks and acts like an adult" be enough?

edited 14th May '12 6:28:44 PM by arromdee

That even mainstream media tends to sexualize teenagers is an unfortunate fact of life that we have to deal with

I think you mean to say that the fact that Real Life teenagers are sexual is a fact of life that we have to deal with. Hormones don't wait until the age of 18 to kick in.

And heck, even a Disney movie like High School Musical opened with an extended Male Gaze focus on a teenager's rear end as she was walking though the hallways of her high school.

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