James Bond sexist stereotypes – will the next movie be better?

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

James Bond sexist stereotypes are strewn through Ian Fleming’s books, and all the movies. Will the next movie be better?

My 2015 post James Bond and women: the movies are an epic sexist fail (links in bold italics are to other posts on this blog) noted the casual sexism of most Bond movies.

Deep-rooted sexism

That sexism has deep roots in Ian Fleming’s original books, which I’ve been reviewing on this site:

  • in Goldfinger, Bond pontificates about how votes for women (sic) have led to ‘a herd of unhappy sexual misfits’ and converts a lesbian to heterosexuality by his manliness: [Bond] ‘They told me you only liked women.’ [Pussy Galore] ‘I never met a man before’;
Goldfinger cover
  • In Diamonds are Forever, Tiffany Case is a great, injured, creation. Typical dialogue: Bond: ‘Up to forty, girls cost nothing. After that you have to pay money, or tell a story. Of the two it’s the story that hurts most.’
  • From Russia with Love contains rampant homophobia;
  • in Casino Royale, Bond remarks after the love of his life has died tragically, ‘The bitch is dead’.

A black female Bond

Personally, I would prefer to see the franchise ditch all the James Bond sexist stereotypes in one go. Why not a black female Bond? Ian Fleming would have hated it, but then he lived in a different era (he was born in 1908).

Naomi Harris: a glimmer of hope?

So I was interested to read a recent review with top actress Naomi Harris. She plays “Miss Moneypenny” in Skyfall, Spectre and the upcoming No Time to Die.

Intriguingly, the interview says that the producers of No Time to Die recognised that Bond’s sexism was outdated. So they hired Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of Fleabag, to give the script a “feminist edge”.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has always struck me as rather brilliant. The trailer above shows plenty of women in action, rather than pouting helplessly. It also features a new female black “00” agent.

Could they be testing audience reactions with a view to her taking over the role from Daniel Craig? Or am I being too optimstic?

That’s the problem. As I wrote in my post 5 reasons James Bond movies suck. 5 reasons you watch them anyhow, all the evidence shows that the next movie will be no better than the last. But we keep watching them anyway.

Including me. I can’t wait to see – and no doubt – disappointed by – No Time to Die. But let’s hope it’s a bit less of an epic sexist fail than the other movies.


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