As I prepared to go & see the new James Bond film, Spectre, at my local cinema yesterday I felt a little guilty. Why? Well there’s been a lot of talk in the press lately about James Bond and equality, his treatment of women and whether he suits our modern day views. As someone who firmly believes in equality should I feel guilty for contributing to the success of such a film?
As I sat watching it though I began to wonder if our view of society was colouring how we view the lovely James? Does the fact that we expect it to be the man that treats the woman badly affect our judgment?
Let’s be honest ladies James Bond is a sexy, attractive man but he isn’t husband material is he? He’s never going to be there to change nappies or do night feeds because he’ll be dashing off at a moment’s notice to save the world. The female characters in all the films, even going back into the 60’s & 70’s have, in my opinion, been strong women. They haven’t been viewed as such because they’ve been seduced by Bond but what if it was them who were doing the seducing?
What if they saw James Bond as sexy, attractive and frankly great for casual sex (not something I endorse I hasten to add!). What if we change our view of the plot and see them taking advantage of him & never really wanting a long-term relationship with him as has always been assumed? Did our expectations that it would always be the women who would want marriage and children make us see only one side of the story?
Let’s not forget too that James had a female boss in M, the character expertly played by Judi Dench. I would argue that of all the M’s in the history of Bond she was the most expert in getting the best from him as a line manager. She knew when to trust him, when to pull him back, when to praise & when to push harder. I really loved seeing the role developed in this way and thought the way Judi Dench (such an amazing actress!) played a tough character but could still show the feminine traits that are so often under valued in the workplace was such a positive for the equality argument.
You may have guessed that I really like the James Bond movies. I don’t believe we should have a female Bond, I’d far rather see a strong female role developed with the same level of investment into the movie, stunts and special effects than see a female actress put into a role that was written for a man.
So what do you think? Have my thoughts got you looking differently at the Bond women? Or do you believe, as the papers have been saying, that the Bond character is anti-equality? I’d love to hear your thoughts.