The name is Bond, Misogynist Bond: Daniel Craig in drag for women
It’s been a while since we last saw Daniel Craig as James Bond. Recently he’s been trapped in a world of high-stakes corporate intrigue, as his “rights” were leveraged like chips at a casino to backstop various corporate sales and maneuvers. Well fear not, he’s back - but not in a way you might ever imagine. He’s starring in a commercial for International Women’s Day and no, I’m not kidding.
The spot is minimalist, and quite stark, both in setting and tone. Craig, as Bond, walks into frame, backlit by some far-off light. He then stops and stares out at us, expressionless. An unseen but familiar voice begins to speak directly to him, performing something of a rhetorical interrogation. The voice belongs to Judi Dench, and she is in character as Bond boss “M.”
“We’re equals, aren’t we 007? Yet it is 2011 and a man is still likely to earn more money than a woman, even one doing the same job. You have a far better chance of entering political office or becoming a company director. As a man, you’re less likely to be judged for promiscuous behaviour, which is just as well frankly, and hardly any chance of falling victim to sexual assault. And unlike the 30,000 women in the UK who lose their jobs annually due to pregnancy there would be virtually no risk to your career if you chose to become a parent, or became one accidently. As someone with such a fondness for women I wonder if you have ever considered what it would be like to be one.” Bond slowly turns and leaves the darkened chamber, only to return......
..........No, please don’t do this. I beg you. It’s James Bond for pity’s sake....
....in full drag – looking like the worst mistake a guy could ever make at last call. “M” continues.
“The world has changed but the numbers remain stacked against us. Women are responsible for two-thirds of the work done worldwide yet earn only 10% of the total income and own 1% of the property. It’s not just about money and power. Every year 70 million girls are deprived of even a basic education and a staggering 60 million are sexually assaulted on their way to school. We’re afraid to walk the streets at night yet some of us are even more afraid to return to our own homes. At least one in four are victims of domestic violence. And every week two women in the UK are killed by a current or former partner. So, are we equals? Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking.”
By this point, Bond has doffed the wig and pulled out his earrings only to turn and walk off camera, presumably to shoot himself in the face for possessing a penis.
Look, let’s assume all the statistics quoted are absolutely true - and I don’t actually believe that for a moment because few things can be more easily massaged or shaped to suit an argument than statistics – but what the hell is Bond rights-holder Barbara Broccoli doing emasculating her personal meal ticket for the entire world to see? She’s going to publically flagellate James Bond (of all people) for inequality towards women? He’s a friggen assassin! He job is to kill people and then sleep with their wives and then kill them too if he feels he has to. He’s got a specific British license to do this. Is Broccoli out of her vegetable-monikered mind?
Would you drag Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko into the town square and then have Michael Moore interrogate him for the evils of investment bankers? Do you stand Han Solo on a stage and bust his chops for not using solar power to fly the Millennium Falcon? These are fictional characters. They are not supposed to be PC or even slightly tethered to reality. They’re supposed to do things we wouldn’t do. That’s why we watch them. Now I get to see the next Bond movie and wonder whether or not James learned his lesson on the proper treatment of women? It’s ludicrous.
I know I won’t make any friends arguing the point that things might not be quite as bad for women as this ad posits but can you really look my 21st century male self in the eye and make me believe that my maleness is that reprehensible? I grew up seeing women in the workforce – beside me and as bosses. I’ve never known a woman who didn’t wear pants whenever they wanted to and I even have friends that take their wives’ name (which is still fairly mockable, I admit). An ad like this paints all women as depressing and weakened victims because not everything is equal yet. I hate to say it but the world isn’t equal – or just, or even fair. It never has been and it never will be. Would we like it to be? Sure, but that becomes an exercise that is as debatable as it is non-linear. For example, what one group of women considers equality may not be the same for another group of women. What do you do then?
Arguments aside, the idea that James Bond getting lectured by M is a valid way to push for women’s equality is as stupid on its face and it is on its butt. Did anyone watch the last Bond? Who was it that rescued M when she was in it up to her neck? It sure wasn’t some group of newly equal women. It was the same Neanderthal named Bond that has been doing it for decades. Remember Bond? – that viciously ruthless and intelligent assassin M exclusively controls? That’s right, she controls him, suggesting that maybe Mr. James Bond is a wee bit more progressive when it comes to women’s issues than he’s being given credit for. Maybe they could have used that image in their ad versus James Bond masquerading as a girl from Sussex named Kiki.