James Bond movies are all about male fantasy, and we live in a culture where women are violently dominated by men, so it doesn’t surprise me to learn that the new film Skyfall is misogynist.
We’re all used to the cavalier Bond creatively foiling super-sexxay ladyvillains. That isn’t enough to keep the lead in Dude Nation’s pencil any more. The movie franchise wants to keep their money-maker relevant, so they’re doing so by kicking the woman-hatey crap up a notch.
Bond is a rapist now.
From a unpublished article by Giles Coren:
…there is a young woman in this film whom Bond correctly identifies (in his smug, smart-arse way) as a sex-worker who was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers. She is now a brutalised and unwilling gangster’s moll. She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond, merely of being incredibly scared and unhappy. So he creeps uninvited into her hotel shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored.
But it’s okay, because he only raped a prostituted woman, and that doesn’t really count as rape, right?
Bond is a cultural icon who is supposed to represent the kind of man ordinary men dream of being. Director Sam Mendes presents these ordinary men the opportunity to forget the tedium of their own lives by vicarious participation in the rape and murder of a prostituted woman, from the safe anonymity of a dark movie theater.
So what if our heroes are rapists? Rape is great! Just ask our other heroes who’ve appeared in the media lately: Julian Assange, Gary Glitter, Freddie Starr or, if you have an ouija board handy, Jimmy Savile. Even alleged feminists like Naomi Wolf will make excuses for a rapist if the rapist also happens to be more important than his victim. (Even though she herself was victimized by a professional dude more socially prominent than herself, so she knows exactly what that feels like.)
Men who achieve a lot deserve women as trophies for their efforts – whether the women in question want the hero or not. Who cares what women want, anyway? They’re just subhumans.
I am ashamed, as a British person, that this film will be mistaken abroad for an example of prevailing values here.
I really really hate to tell you this, Giles, but those ARE the prevailing values. In the UK and everywhere else. We’re living in a rape culture. Women are punching bags and meatsocks for male use. When men no longer have a use for women, they’re killed. Not only is this not considered a problem, it’s even funny.
Movies, books, TV shows only reinforce our gender roles, which remain fixed however much sugar-coated hipster irony is sprinkled all over them.
Read the rest of this article and wonder why the Times wouldn’t print it. Criticizing misogyny in a meaningful, non-ironic way is notoriously bad for a newspaper’s advertising revenue, since much of capitalism depends on keeping women down.
Women, men hate you.
Well, maybe our good-hearted Giles doesn’t, but he’s not the majority.
I was debating if I should watch this film or not… I really do not want to anymore. I really do not want to pay like 8 pounds to feel sick and disgusted for 2 hours
Galling, isn’t it, that we pay people to oppress us?
The saddest part is that way too many people find this oppression “entertaining” and worth paying for. They are so brain washed they do not even realized it is oppression… They call it ‘fun’…
Hopefully the blogosphere can do something about that. Personal blogs aren’t controlled by the mainstream media and we can criticize whatever we want here.
The rape scene is something Jane Martinson in the Guardian has completely missed it seems. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/oct/30/skyfall-less-sexist-bond-film?commentpage=all#start-of-comments
Somebody actually said this film was LESS SEXIST than the usual Bond film? *headdesk*
(The piece they tried to ban)
There is a moment in the new James Bond film so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick. If you have not seen the film and fear a spoiler, then look away now. Or cancel your tickets and do something less horrible instead. Like pull all your fingernails out.
It was an excellent piece and I’m glad Giles took the time to write it. Makes me think that not all men are hopeless.
Thank you for this post!!! I saw that movie last night and was HORRIFIED by this scene, and also the fact that they took a smart, qualified, competent female agent and made her a sex toy for Bond and then decided she should just give up on her dream of being a field agent and become a secretary. Not even a desk agent! All that training just down the drain.
I went looking around the internet to see if anyone commented on the rape scene and found this on MUBI: http://mubi.com/topics/misogyny-in-skyfall unfortunately all the replies are “well what did you expect?” “it’s a Bond movie, whatever” and of course the classic “but Hollywood exploits male rape too!!!” because it’s so relevant to this discussion. I’m really tired of people trying to shut down conversations on misogyny.
Well, hi there! And welcome to my blog.
Here’s another piece about misogyny in Skyfall, though it borrows heavily (and without attribution) from Giles Coren.
Cool! Thanks for the link. I read Coren’s piece also. Very good.
I checked out a little of your misogyny tag and it is great! It’s so refreshing to find a blog like this. Keep up the good work! 🙂
Thanks. I try. There don’t seem to be a lot of art blogs that challenge misogyny.
Troll in spamfilter sez: “That was the most painfully stupid comment of the 21st century.”
Feminist blogger sez: “Until you wrote that.”
Pingback: Best of the Spam Filter, November 2012 « Exiled Stardust
“Bond is a rapist now.”
He was already a rapist. My husband is taking me through the old Bond movies via Netflix. The first two were rife with women who were coerced into being sexually available, the fact of which he was well aware, of which he took full advantage, of which seemed to add to his relish, of course.
But the third, Goldfinger, we watched the other day, depicted straight-up unadulterated rape. I was dumbstruck and as triggered as I’ve ever been at the unexpected scene, which I think shocked my husband. The misogynistic narrative was just so incredibly appalling. Pussy Galore had stated repeatedly that she was not only not interested in Bond, but that she was specifically working toward the goal of escaping to an island in the Bahamas, presumably to be away from people – likely men, specifically. When Bond makes his move on her (in a hay-filled barn, of course) she literally fights against his advances. She is skilled in self defense, judo. But, predictably, she is overpowered by Bond, who proceeds to assault her and rape her.
Is she crying? Nah. Despite the fact that she did not want this man to touch her, let alone penetrate her body, for the whole movie thus far, once he is raping her they show her clutching at him. Therefore, this whole thing is classified as seduction. She must have wanted it all along. The rape accomplishes its political goal of establishing Bond’s domination of Pussy. She who was a frigid bitch is transformed into a compliant nymph. The last scene of the movie shows her happily making out with her rapist on an island, after having saved the day by helping Bond foil the villain’s plan.
Putting women in her place? Check. Rape myths? Check. Trauma bonding? Check. Lovely.
Ugh. Thank you for that detailed analysis. I couldn’t stand watching early Bond films long enough to see this.
*spoilers* *spoilers**spoilers* *spoilers**spoilers* *spoilers*
so i just saw this on Netflix last night, and i’m a guy but i noticed right away how extremely sexist the movie seemed, i mean in the first scene where moneypenny is chasing the culprit in her vehicle and bond is in the passenger seat, and they are close to the targets vehicle, he looks at her as if she doesn’t know what she’s doing and he grabs the steering wheel and drives it into the targets car therefore solving the problem of the chase, as if to say women can’t drive,
and then shortly there after moneypenny is again in a situation where she is supposed to be in control but really isn’t, bond and a villian is having a fight on top of a train and she is miles away with a sniper rifle, she gets orders from M to take the shot, she ends up shooting bond, which is like two fold, one, they make it seem like M made a foolish decision and women shouldn’t even be giving orders and two, women can’t even shoot a gun,
i did not realize when bond met up with the girl on the boat that it was a rape scene though, good catch
anyways i am a little disappointed at Sam Mendes, he’s a great filmmaker, but all this time i was thinking what was he thinking? was he just trying to live up to past bond movies? i think he should have just do his idea of bond and not what they did in the past, just my honest opinion
I think everybody who wants to has seen it, so don’t worry about the spoilers.
Thanks for commenting.