No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to be a little less. . . rapey.
This week I went to see Skyfall, the latest installment of the now 50-year-old Bond franchise, and I enjoyed it. I *really* enjoyed it. However there was one part that struck me as unnecessary and, to be frank, a little wrong. Or very wrong.
Take the backstory of our ill-fated Bond Girl, Sévérine. We learn from a discussion with our vampy ice-queen that she was rescued from the sex trade by Raoul Silva (played brilliantly by Javier Bardem) at a relatively early age and has since been his “representative”. So, we’re off to a fantastic start. A female character that tells this story to Bond after what must be minutes after meeting him? Good work. One could assume that she tells him this purely because she assumes he’ll be dead by the morning but, sadly, I’m inclined to believe that she’s just weak and vulnerable. So what does Bond do? Yes, of course, he has sex with her. And not only does he have sex with her, he creeps up on her in the shower when, by all accounts, she believes he’s back on shore (or dead). Right, because that’s not a bit weird. I’m not sure why she didn’t jump out of her skin, turn around and smack him in the face with the shower-head repeatedly until his brains fell out his ears. Maybe it was the vulnerable part of her brain that just accepted this behaviour as “normal” or at least justifiable.
Let me tell you something, Sévérine, it’s not. Men that prey on you because you’re weak are horrible human beings. And just because Daniel Craig looks a little less potatoey in a Tom Ford suit, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable. He’s using this advantage as another reason to make you feel as if it’s acceptable. If DC was wearing a pair of trackies and a hole-ridden jumper, and smelt a bit like week-old Heineken, you’d more than likely kick him in the gonads and sneakily take a picture of him with your Sony Xperia T before hotfooting it the local police station to report an assault.
Of course, this is Bond, and there are Bond girls. We know this. We accept this. But what we don’t want is for Bond to become a massive prick. Bond can be promiscuous. He’s always been that way, and we don’t want this to change. But what we do want is for the women to take a level-pegging. Severine was literally a prostitute – or an ex-prostitute – and whilst she’s allowed to have a past, why did she have to be so weak and vulnerable, and why did Bond feel as though he had the right to creep up on her in the shower? The scene was only necessary because it explained away how Bond came to be on the boat in order for him to meet Silva. But then why did she have to be vulnerable? Why the backstory? Why couldn’t she just have wanted to have sex with him and leave it there?
The attitudes towards women and their place in society have moved on significantly since Dr. No first came out. It’s time James Bond (and the writers) got with the times. So, come on Moneypenny. You may have resigned yourself to a desk job, but do us all a favour and fuck someone just because you want to, and let it be fine.