Sexism & Feminism in the Bond Films - Your Opinions

doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
edited September 2015 in Bond Movies Posts: 864
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James Bond has always been presented as the red-blooded alpha male, the epitome of masculinity, and remains a role model for countless men all over the world.

Bond has always been a womaniser, and this has been reflected in the films, as have the social attitudes to women over the decades.

As attitudes to women have changed over the years, how has this been reflected in the Bond films and particularly in Bond's own behaviour towards them? Do you feel there should be an active attempt to reduce the sexism in the films, to push for equality, or do you think that Bond should remain the "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" he has been portrayed to be over the decades?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Comments

  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    Bond should remain the "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" he has been portrayed to be over the decades.
  • doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
    Posts: 864
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Bond should remain the "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" he has been portrayed to be over the decades.

    Thanks for responding. Why do you think he should?

  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    Because that's what Fleming wrote and what makes the films non PC. Bond is an anti hero who uses women for pleasure and lives on the edge.
  • Completely agree. Really don't want Bond to change in that perspective.
  • CatchingBulletsCatchingBullets facebook.com/catchingbullets
    edited September 2015 Posts: 292
    I always start by suggesting that sexy is not the same as sexist and the most important piece of 007 casting in the films entire history was the result of a woman (Dana Broccoli) urging her husband (Albert R Broccoli) to fully consider a hot, masculine, poster boy of a male lead in the form of Sean Connery.

    It is too easy (and naïve) to slap the "sexist" sticker over the Bond films (especially the Connery/Moore entries) via panicking over the treatment of women. At the same time as the female form and onscreen identity were being honoured, deified and re-pointed by the likes of Ursula Andress and Honor Blackman, the women in the audience were also being remembered by who they got to encounter onscreen. Of course there were female characters dismissed like the sex-rificial lambs they were meant to be. But no more so than every male character flicked out of the story when they outlived their usefulness. And is there much "sexist" difference in Bond slapping Dink out of proceedings in 1964's GOLDFINGER and 1987's Necros emerging in tight-fitting Speedos in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS?

    Of course folk will argue that sexism is outdated. Of course it is - when it is detrimental to real people and their lives. But just as we are not all quaffing back litres of vodka Martinis and karate-chopping family members off buildings, we know that cinema and 007 is a fantasy, an escape and an entertainment.

    Bond has of course always been a womaniser of sorts. That will not change. It does not change in SKYFALL and it will not change in SPECTRE. The "active sexism" is actually one of the life-bloods of the Bond film DNA. It doesn't have to be dismissive. It doesn't have to be regressive. But it is a vital pulse of the films. It is part of Bond's lone and dismissive psyche.

    What we are seeing now is the coy and knowing deconstruction of that sexism. It is now Daniel Craig and Bond who are strapped naked to the metaphorical railways lines and threatened by more than one main villain who want to bed him, not the girl. It is now a topless and buff 007 who emerges from the surf. And it is now a very chiselled and gym-fit actor who is reviving and renewing 007's audience-ship for non-straight men, straight women and less sexuality-panicking straight guys out there. For every gay guy that remembers Craig strapped to Le Chiffre's wicker chair there are an equal amount of straight blokes who will gladly admit to having a man-crush on the current Bond.

    One of the first casualties of the sexist debate is the sense of fun the Bond films provide. They are not meant to be wholly real life. No British-funded agent of the crown drives around in a sluggish DB5. But to change or over-analyze that pulls the wings of the 007 butterfly.
  • doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
    Posts: 864
    Would be great to hear why you think so, @fromswedenwithlove
  • RC7RC7
    edited September 2015 Posts: 10,512
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Bond should remain the "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" he has been portrayed to be over the decades.

    I think he has to evolve. There are far more intriguing character traits regard his inner psyche that can be explored. Any level of misogyny is a superfluous facade. Bond should be a reflection of the time in which he exists. He can still be a man who has a voracious sexual appetite, but that doesn't mean he has to be misogynistic. I'm sure many of us here enjoy the wonders of the opposite sex, but I'd like to think we simultaneously display an appropriate level of respect. Bond slapping a girl on the arse and saying 'man talk' just doesn't translate in 2015. It's highly amusing coming from Connery, but in an antiquated and comedic fashion. And before the anti-PC cavalcade roll into town, this isn't a PC issue. It's purely an issue of reflecting the values of the society in which Bond lives. Men who treat women as second class citizens are jerks.
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Bond is an anti hero who uses women for pleasure and lives on the edge.

    That doesn't mean he has to be inherently misogynistic. I'm sure many of us here enjoy women, but there's a difference between that and displaying a sense of total disregard, or even hatred for the opposite sex.
  • doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
    Posts: 864
    Thank you for your response, @catchingbullets. I'm not sure I entirely agree, but we can talk it over when I see you next week. x
  • doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
    Posts: 864
    RC7 wrote: »
    There are far more intriguing character traits regard his inner psyche that can be explored. Any level of misogyny is a superfluous facade. Bond should be a reflection of the time in which he exists. He can still be a man who has a voracious sexual appetite, but that doesn't mean he has to be misogynistic. I'm sure many of us here enjoy the wonders of the opposite sex, but I'd like to think we simultaneously display an appropriate level of respect. Bond slapping a girl on the arse and saying 'man talk' just doesn't translate in 2015. It's highly amusing coming from Connery, but in an antiquated and comedic fashion. And before the anti-PC cavalcade roll into town, this isn't a PC issue. It's purely an issue of reflecting the values of the society in which Bond lives. Men who treat women as second class citizens are jerks.

    Agreed.

  • CatchingBulletsCatchingBullets facebook.com/catchingbullets
    Posts: 292
    I agree too - this is not a PC issue. It is one of society and the western world's zeitgeist.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    I agree too - this is not a PC issue. It is one of society and the western world's zeitgeist.

    Where it's also interesting is not so much in the way Bond operates sexually, but professionally. The idea of a female 'M' still riles certain people, which I find very strange. I've heard talk of it being a scenario in which Bond is emasculated, which I find ludicrous. The concept of Bond struggling to work under a female would effectively turn him into a Jeremy Clarkson figure and I think we can all agree that Bond, were he real, would find JC to be the buffoonish caricature he so obviously is.
  • CatchingBulletsCatchingBullets facebook.com/catchingbullets
    edited September 2015 Posts: 292
    Of course.

    The female boss introduction made absolute sense - for Bond, GOLDENEYE, the franchise and any representation of the British secret services. It was also the beginning of Barbara Broccoli's on-going project to populate the Bond films with the best British actors working today. You naturally start with Judi Dench. That is not about addressing sexism. That is about casting a film properly.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    RC7 wrote: »
    I agree too - this is not a PC issue. It is one of society and the western world's zeitgeist.

    Where it's also interesting is not so much in the way Bond operates sexually, but professionally. The idea of a female 'M' still riles certain people, which I find very strange. I've heard talk of it being a scenario in which Bond is emasculated, which I find ludicrous. The concept of Bond struggling to work under a female would effectively turn him into a Jeremy Clarkson figure and I think we can all agree that Bond, were he real, would find JC to be the buffoonish caricature he so obviously is.

    If Clarkson were good looking he could carry off the sexism. Because he isn't it makes him a podgy old man with a bad attitude. Bond respects women but the character should treat them like disposable pleasures.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    suavejmf wrote: »
    RC7 wrote: »
    I agree too - this is not a PC issue. It is one of society and the western world's zeitgeist.

    Where it's also interesting is not so much in the way Bond operates sexually, but professionally. The idea of a female 'M' still riles certain people, which I find very strange. I've heard talk of it being a scenario in which Bond is emasculated, which I find ludicrous. The concept of Bond struggling to work under a female would effectively turn him into a Jeremy Clarkson figure and I think we can all agree that Bond, were he real, would find JC to be the buffoonish caricature he so obviously is.

    If Clarkson were good looking he could carry off the sexism. Because he isn't it makes him a podgy old man with a bad attitude. Bond respects women but the character should treat them like disposable pleasures.

    Clarkson is a clown and the last man on earth Bond should be aping.
  • eddychaputeddychaput Montreal, Canada
    edited September 2015 Posts: 364
    My feelings side (and have sided for several years already) a bit more along the lines of what @RC7 argued earlier. 007 loves having sex with women, it's always been one of the dominant traits of the character. That doesn't mean he has to demonstrate misogynistic tendencies.

    I obviously don't play a role in the making of the films, but if I did, whether as a screenwriter, producer or director, in my mind I imagine that one of the more fun elements of prepping a Bond film is to keep his chore characteristics (which includes plenty of sex) while keeping him relevant to whatever modern society is going to pay to see the movie, be it ten years ago, this coming November with SP, or in twenty or thirty years from now.

    On the notes of people disgruntled at Judi Dench cast as M, I never really understood that opinion. I was 12 when GE came out. I had seen many of the Bond films thanks to my parents. Dench as M was just another incarnation of 007's boss. I've watched GE countless times sine '95 and I still just see Dench, giving a brilliant performance, as another incarnation as 007's boss. The whole 'a woman bossing Bond neuters the character' argument comes off as poorly veiled issues with gender politics, but that's mother debate for another time.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 23,883
    As Tatianna would say, from my perspective the following applies:

    "I suppose it would depend.... on the man......."

    My point being, Connery could get away with it. Moore did too, but in a slightly different way. Part of that is the era in which they were playing Bond, but another part of it has to do with them. I don't know any woman today who doesn't think Roger Moore's Bond is a nice fellow, despite his somewhat chauvanistic attitudes in his 7 films (OP camera zoom for example). With Connery, I think it was his personal behaviour towards his wife or something which started to change some women's perception of him. Still, I know many who find his Bond quite sexy, despite the nonchalant attitudes he displays in the films. The point is, both these actors portrayed Bond playfully....they were never that brutal towards women except when they had to be (DAF pretitles or TMWTGG arm twisting). Generally, they were having fun.....TB at Shrublands with Patricia is an example.

    Some of the new fellas (Dalton and Brosnan and even Craig) seem not quite so adept at it to me (the actors I mean). I wonder if it's because they were raised in a different time, or if it's because they've been asked to tone it down, but bottom line is, it's not quite so much fun anymore, and it can be, if done properly.

    One of the better demonstrations of Bond's sexism in a playful way recently (and I absolutely love it.......it's what endeared his characterization to me immediately) was DC Bond's behaviour towards Vesper in the train, in the car ride to the hotel and at the casino. It was a welcome throwback showcasing the man's outdated attitudes, but done in a lighthearted fashion again and modernized for the times. They haven't quite done that again since the circumstances haven't warranted it, but hopefully they do in SP.

    I'm all for sexism in Bond films....it's part of the character and he is best portrayed that way in my personal view. As long as he's not slapping them about I'm ok with it personally. I'm open to feminists too and we've had our share in the Bond universe.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    RC7 wrote: »
    suavejmf wrote: »
    RC7 wrote: »
    I agree too - this is not a PC issue. It is one of society and the western world's zeitgeist.

    Where it's also interesting is not so much in the way Bond operates sexually, but professionally. The idea of a female 'M' still riles certain people, which I find very strange. I've heard talk of it being a scenario in which Bond is emasculated, which I find ludicrous. The concept of Bond struggling to work under a female would effectively turn him into a Jeremy Clarkson figure and I think we can all agree that Bond, were he real, would find JC to be the buffoonish caricature he so obviously is.

    If Clarkson were good looking he could carry off the sexism. Because he isn't it makes him a podgy old man with a bad attitude. Bond respects women but the character should treat them like disposable pleasures.

    Clarkson is a clown and the last man on earth Bond should be aping.

    Whoa. I never said Bond should be like him. I just stated why Clarkson doesn't get away with his attitude.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited September 2015 Posts: 5,131
    bondjames wrote: »

    My point being, Connery
    I'm all for sexism in Bond films....it's part of the character and he is best portrayed that way in my personal view. As long as he's not slapping them about I'm ok with it personally. I'm open to feminists too and we've had our share in the Bond universe.

    Some of the woman deserve a slap in bond, In FRWL Tanya was serving Russia/ Spectre and lying to Bond, aiding in Kerims death! Same goes for the bellie dancer in GF and Andrea Anders in TMWTGG....Both putting Bond's life in danger and being purposely devious!
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 23,883
    suavejmf wrote: »
    bondjames wrote: »

    My point being, Connery
    I'm all for sexism in Bond films....it's part of the character and he is best portrayed that way in my personal view. As long as he's not slapping them about I'm ok with it personally. I'm open to feminists too and we've had our share in the Bond universe.

    Some of the woman deserve a slap in bond, In FRWL Tanya was serving Russia/ Spectre and lying to Bond, aiding in Kerims death! Same goes for the bellie dancer in GF and Andrea Anders in TMWTGG....Both putting Bond's life in danger and being purposely devious!

    Well.....I agree then. As long as the slapping is not gratuitous like the photo above, I'm for it then. He is a hard edged spy after all, and Queen and Country come first, not PC niceties and pleasantries while in the line of duty.. I'd say Jack Bauer has demonstrated more of this than Bond when trying to get information out of suspects to prevent an attack on the US.
  • Posts: 532
    Double O, what does a Bond film in which the sexism is reduced and women are treated equally look like? This a continual criticism of the Bond films, so you tell us.

    To jump start this, I'll redo the scene you reference with your discussion thread.

    DINK: How's this?
    BOND: Nice. Very nice.
    DINK: Higher?
    BOND: Lower.
    LEITER: James, I was told I'd find you here. In good hands, I see.
    BOND: Oh no, nothing like that. This is Dink. She's my financial adviser.
    LEITER: Pleased to meet you, Dink.
    DINK: The pleasure's mine, Mr. Leither. Mr. Bond. I'll make the changes you requested.
    BOND: Thank you, Dink. When will I see you again?
    DINK: I'll need to check my appointment calendar. I'll let you know.
    LEITER: Not bad, what do you think?
    BOND: Very capable. Sound investment advice.
    LEITER: I mean what's she like, you know......
    BOND: I have no idea. She's a financial adviser, Felix. That's all.






  • SzonanaSzonana Mexico
    Posts: 1,130
    Ok
    Let me first start that any woman who likes fify Shades of Grey or Twilight have no right to be offended by this franchise. And i bet the most who complain about the sexism are female audiences.


    Now that i got that out of my chest.
    Bond might look a bitt sexist at times like in Goldfinger when he spanked playfully dink or when he blackmailed the nurse in thunderball but still seemed that she latter liked him. So no big deal there.

    Apart from when Bond was slapping woman for interrogation, i found the sexist moments quite funny like some spiced up sense of humor nothing to get really worried about or storm up in range.

    Now i think the franchise has evolved and changed in this aspect, since in the brosnan era we never saw Bond hurting a woman and niether Craig.

    They had their sexist moments though especially Brosnan when he killed Elektra, since he was threatening a woman with a gun and the way he talked about Vesper after she died that's something a man would never say.

    But still is way less than in the classic era of Bond now, The franchise once in a while puts woman as sex objects but others since the very first Bond gives them some strength like when Honey tells Bond the story on how she killed her unlce that was a strong woman.

    So i think some feminists make such a huge deal out of nothing really important and even less when we have Fifty Shades and Twilight with protagonists who accept control freaks as partners and violent when they get angry.


    I think those two are much more sexist than Bond who only who used to hurt woman when he felt his life was in danger or playful spanking.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,090
    Brosnan did Karate chop Xenia when she takes him to the statue park. ;)

    I hope you understand if I don't call.

    I won't lose any sleep over it.

    BADUNK!

    Sweet dreams.
  • Posts: 532
    Most of us tend to be selectively offended. Because I don't like this, I am offended; because I like this, the same offense doesn't bother me as much.

    I've seen plenty of instances where a man slapping a women provoked outrage, but a women giving a man a knee to the groin elicited applause and "he deserved it."

    People tend to glom on to a cause and then pursue it with a vengeance, finding offense wherever they turn. Now that I am aware of sexism, I find it everywhere. Which
    does not mean that it is not important, but as with most things, perspective and proportion are necessary. Bond is a womanizer. His interactions with women will vary with circumstance and personality. Fiona he will play rough with, Domino the opposite.

    If Bond films teach us about sexism, they also teach us how to interact with a woman intelligently and respectfully. In CR Bond uses Solange to get to her husband. After
    a testy start, we see a much different relationship with Vesper. That he speaks ill of her after she dies is of no consequence. That's hurt and anger, not sexism.

    If one finds Bond films sexist, the solution is easy--don't see Bond films.



  • RC7RC7
    edited September 2015 Posts: 10,512
    CrabKey wrote: »
    as with most things, perspective and proportion are necessary.

    Well, this is the key point really. People who dissect the minutiae of any given subject to find the seeds of offence are just as deluded as those who actively promote sexism and misogyny (because it's sticking it to the PC lot). It's a question of balance and having a character operate in a way which is strictly Bondian, but also relevant. No one wants a Bond that struggles with female authority, or chooses to actively undermine or demean his female companions. But, Bond 'hitting and then splitting' for want of a better phrase is not sexist, it's life.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 23,883
    RC7 wrote: »
    CrabKey wrote: »
    as with most things, perspective and proportion are necessary.

    Well, this is the key point really. People who dissect the minutiae of any given subject to find the seeds of offence are just as deluded as those who actively promote sexism and misogyny (because it's sticking it to the PC lot). It's a question of balance and having a character operate in a way which is strictly Bondian, but also relevant. No one wants a Bond that struggles with female authority, or chooses to actively undermine or demean his female companions. But, Bond 'hitting and then splitting' for want of a better phrase is not sexist, it's life.

    Which is why I was disappointed with the Solange sequence. After doing excellent legwork (so to speak) and setting the stage, he split without 'hitting' as it were. Terribly unBondian moment, imho, but I suppose he was a rookie then. Hopefully he's learned a few tricks in SP.
  • Mark_HazzardMark_Hazzard Classified
    Posts: 127
    On topic, DC recently told Esquire that he hopes that his Bond has become less sexist:

    http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/film-tv/8782/daniel-craig-interview/

    When reading it, I think he actually means that his Bond is perceived as less sexist. Could be my narrow-minded view, but Bond hasn't been really sexist for a couple of decades, hasn't he? GoT has more sexist features, and people seem to be OK with that.
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