With the new Bond movie coming out in November, one has to ask herself, “Has the James Bond franchise really made an effort to move ahead with the times when it comes to portraying women in cinema?” Well, I at least have to ask myself this. And so should every woman who plans on seeing the new Bond movie coming out next month, Spectre. As we enjoy the inevitably entertaining film, we should all also evaluate the message that it is sending to the young girls and women of today. Yes, James Bond is hunky. But is he also respectful and empowering toward women?
It used to be totally acceptable to portray women as one-dimensional characters whose only part in the story was to contrast Bond’s own masculinity with their helpless (and most often, over-exposed) femininity. This became the norm for Bond movies. Women were cast in the roles in the film purely for their aesthetic appeal, and rarely made use of all the other talents that the actresses surely could bring to the table. And while, yes, it was and is a huge honor to be a “Bond Girl”, does the role celebrate all of the facets of being a woman, or just her physical appearance? Does Bond enjoy her conversation, and her mind? Or does he simply discard her after she has served her purpose? More often than not, it’s the latter.
Only in the last few films has the Bond franchise begun to swivel in another, more realistic, direction.
Fortunately, the actresses in the movies official title has changed from “Bond Girls” to “Bond Women”. The old title tended to infantilize and dismiss the validity of all the female characters. While grown women were playing the parts, they were still being referred to as “girls”, making them seem younger and less experienced than they really were. It’s a seemingly small thing, but affects how we view them, how we value their opinions and their characters. Now, they are recognized as the mature, beautiful, interesting women that they are. They still play roles that are secondary to Bond’s, but it’s his movie! That’s to be expected. The female characters simply shouldn’t be unrealistically dependent on him.
Hopefully this newest installment in the ever-so-popular Bond franchise will be a boost towards the empowerment of women, rather than a continuation of the mistreatment and misunderstanding of women’s characters in cinema. It’s important that the movies we all watch, and ultimately keep in our minds, uplift the idea that we ourselves are trying to implant in the mind of society. Women are not weak characters, secondary to men. We are strong, and we are empowered.
At Brookhaven Retreat, LLC, we believe wholeheartedly in upholding the empowerment for all women, especially women who believe that they have no power at all. Brookhaven Retreat offers therapy and treatment for women who need to feel empowered in their lives.