Men Shaken but not Stirred by the New 007

The new James Bond movie is set to release in 2020, and lord it is already creating a stir. ‘No Time to Die’ is going to see Daniel Craig’s most likely last return as 007, with also a brand new cast alongside him. It’s been five years since the last Bond movie, so why is everyone raging about it on twitter, and not jumping up and down with anticipation? I mean I’m jumping up and down with anticipation, and when I say everyone, I’m actually referring to the misogynistic men who have so clearly ignored women’s history in the Bond films. 

Yes, it seems after 24 films, the 25thone is going to cast a woman as the next 007. Shock. Horror. The world is ending! Eon Productions have cast Lashana Lynch as the new 007 to replace Daniel Craig. In case you are unaware of her, she was in the 2019 Captain Marvel film alongside Brie Larson. Both Brie and Lashana were stand out performances, and I cannot wait to see what she does with 007. She has already been in one female empowering film so she knows what she’s doing. I’ve seen so many tweets from misogynistic men claiming they have fallen out of love with the series, and the next film will be a flop because it will have a woman playing 007. Imagine being so sexist that you think women will ruin everything. Let me give you an example of why it will not flop. Hamilton. Yes Hamilton. The stunning musical about the forgotten founding father of America. It is based on a historical biography of Alexander Hamilton, written Lin-Manuel Miranda. So, all the characters were real people. And these real people were white. But you know what Lin-Manuel Miranda did? He cast an almost all non-white cast. Yes Lin-Manuel took real white people and gave the roles to black actors. And you know what? It is the most successful musical of this decade. Having a woman become 007 could completely revamp the film series and bring in a fresh new energy but these misogynistic men are so set in their ways they are refusing to even give the idea a chance. Well, when the film is released, I think we can all agree, they won’t be missed in the cinemas. If they want to be grumpy and moody about a fictional character being a woman, let’s just leave them behind in the 17thCentury shall we? 

Ah but I hear you, through this screen, misogynistic men everywhere are tutting away saying “But James Bond can’t be a woman! He’s a man! That’s what is says in the books!”. Boy, do I have an argument for you! I wonder how many of these men have actually read the James Bond novels. All the books written by Ian Fleming were released between 1953 and 1966. That’s over 53 years ago. Of course, I am by no means trying to take a stab at Ian Fleming, he was ranked 14thon a list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ in The Timesas well as being a real naval intelligence officer. But the only thing these men can really say about the books is that James Bond is a man. That’s all. It’s like they just read the title. Surely, we’ve learnt about artistic licensing by now? It’s called a film adaptionfor a reason. Ian Fleming’s last James Bond novel was released 53 years ago. The film version should be allowed to update itself and be fitted into the modern day? It would be like arguing, nope we can’t have mobile phones or any other means of modern technology because it wasn’t in the books. 

I had a bit of a browse online to see what other people had to say on this, I came across a clip from Good Morning Britain where Piers Morgan had a lot to say on the subject. Piers argued that if women wanted their own spy successful movie franchise, why doesn’t one of us just go and write a book like Ian Fleming did? Ah but Piers, if only you know one of us already tried that. On a late BBC 4 documentary, they delve into Ian Fleming’s life and discuss where he got the inspiration for the James Bond character. This might be a surprise to many, but there is a heavy suggestion that James Bond had already been written, by another writer, seven years prior to Ian’s first novel. Guess who! Yes ding ding it was a woman! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the James Bond character was firstly written by a woman called Phyllis Bottome. Her book ‘The Life Line’ was published in 1946, which told the story of a Mark Chalmers, 36, dark-haired, master at Eton who after meeting with “B”, the head of British intelligence, is dispatched to the continent with a top secret mission. Chalmers has an enthusiasm for mountain sports, fine food and wine and has an eye for a pretty girl. He also speaks fluent French and German. When Ian introduced the world to Bond seven years later we learn he is in his late thirties. Bond is sent to the continent after meeting with “M”, head of British intelligence. He too has an enthusiasm for mountain sports, fine food and wine and has an eye for a pretty girl. He too speaks fluent French and German. Bottome and Fleming actually knew each other, and from reading the BBC news article online there didn’t seem to be any bad blood between the two. Both had a clear love for British intelligence. If you want to read the article for yourselves, I will put the link down below. However, it’s not just the fact that a woman wrote the Bond novels first. No, the saddest thing is that Ian Fleming’s novels have sold millions of copies worldwide whilst Phyllis Bottome’s ‘Life Line’ is not even in print, even today. Most of you will have never heard her name until now, I didn’t even know her name until a couple of days ago. But I’ve known about Ian Fleming for years. So, it’s not as easy as saying ‘go and write your own spy series’. Women have tried to have a go at spy novels but no one has been interested. Surely as a woman first invented a character like Bond, a woman should be allowed to be 007? 

What I find most hilarious about all of this, is these men think it is because women are snowflakes who are so easily offended by everything now. Yes, you heard it here first, ladies and gents, women who want to be treated like equals, and have had enough of being pushed to the side, and are finally standing up for themselves, we are just being over sensitive. Weak little snowflakes who get offended so easily says the man who claims his life is ruined because a fictional character will no longer be played by a man. Oh, he leads such a difficult life. If only they kept up this same energy for saving the planet but we can’t win them all I guess. 

Let’s quickly remind ourselves of what women have been in the James Bond movies. They have had three options, 1. His lover, 2. His enemy, and 3. Both. Ah aren’t we ladies spoiled for choice. Women are either there for his sexual desire or the devil incarnated. No wonder these misogynistic men loved the films so much. The only female character recently in a Bond movie who has avoided these three options has been M played by Judi Dench who was magnificent. Her character had no sexual relation to Bond nor was she plotting his destruction and of course her character was a great success. Though she did meet a tragic end, it just proves that you don’t need a male in the lead for this franchise to be successful. If people keep trying to push the narrative that why can’t women have their own spy films and that James Bond should be left as a man, it keeps pushing the narrative that men and women should be kept separate. However, if we allow 007 to be both male and female it allows Bond to move with the times, keeping the films progressing as it literally promotes equality. And who knows? Maybe in another decade or so we might actually get two 007s at the same time. A man and a woman. Brother and sister for instance. The story could follow two agents instead of just one. It’s just a thought, but by having a woman play 007 it opens up all these new avenues for the Bond series. If you are a really great lover of Bond, you wouldn’t really want it to lose its appeal as it doesn’t really fit into modern day media anymore. Yes, films are entertainment, but what is wrong with them discussing a deep social issue at the same time? I mean that’s one of the reasons films can be amazing, through entertainment they teach you something and at least you come out of cinema having seen someone else’s perspective. By Eon Productions casting a black woman as the new 007, its making people think, talk and discuss. I’d much rather that, than be treated like a brain-dead zombie where the audience watch the same story over and over just with slight alterations. We’ve seen the James Bond story many times in the 24 films, and I think it’s time for something new, different and exciting. 

Here’s the link to the BBC article on the woman who wrote the first Bond: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38227724

Categories: Opinion

Millie Pike

Hi I'm Millie, a third year university student, studying English Literature and History with a minor in film 🎥 , obsessed with the theatre and pretty much anything creative
The Hysteria Collective is what I’ve been waiting for 💓

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