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Failed Feminism, A Tail of Two Barbaras, Part Two, Expulsion to the Wastelands of Misogyny

 

In an effort to beat the dead horse that is my biblical analogy, the inhabitants of the garden of EON are cast out of paradise once they eat of the fruit of knowledge. In this case that fruit takes the form of the reboot fad that began sweeping the film industry in the mid 2000’s.

The root of all cinematic evil.

In an interview before the premier of SPECTRE Madam Broccoli said:

“I am absolutely a feminist, If you think about the women in the recent films, they’re far more interesting and complex than they once were. Bond has changed, too, in how he deals with women.”

And oh how he’s changed in how he deals with women! Let us take a look at how Bond and his women have changed under the watchful eye of such a devout “feminist.”

 

As a reminder we are exploring the feminism of Barbara Broccoli by looking at her treatment of Judy Dench’s M as well as a few categories of Bond girls, they are:

“Window Dressing,” women who play no real role in the plot nor do they sleep with Bond, their main purpose is to provide “eye candy”

“Disposable Conquest/Sacrificial Lamb,” women who have a brief appearance as a quick love interest and/or die as part of the plot.

“Tag-a-Long,” a woman who is usually the main companion of Bond through some or all of the mission.

“Femme Fatale/Henchwoman,” woman working for the enemy

“Lady Leiter,” a woman working for another espionage agency alongside Bond much like the character of Felix Leiter.

 

Thus begins the transformation of Bond from gallant knight with some dated ideas on the fairer sex, to a truly misogynistic nihilist.

Casino Royale (2006)

This film has very few women in it and those whom it does feature are either thrown away, emasculated or rewritten to attempt some form of strong willed woman, but due to the writer’s lack of understanding of the story, instead create a unbearable sociopath.

M

Again M is pushed around by bureaucrats albeit off screen.

Is you backside sore too?

More troubling is the upstart Bond’s wanton disrespect and smarmy attitudes directed at the head of the secret service.

Yeah I broke into your house, what of it old lady.

She’s also traipsing across the globe to cover up her agent’s body count and give instructions, rather than make her insolent little brat come to her.

I know I’m sending you to Montenegro next which requires you to pass through London from the Caribbean, but I need the airline miles.

 

Window Dressing

Just villain Le Chiffre’s apparently mute moll.

These photos encapsulate the entirety of her performance and dialogue

 

Sacrificial Lamb

Caterina Murino plays Solange a woman with poor taste in men and wife to a terrorist employment agent.

She’d be better off dating the horse

After an awkward and insulting pick up scene, Bond gets her to join him for a “drink.”

You look like an out of practice, heartless whore, wanna have sex at my place?

Remember last rant how I pointed out Trevelyan’s quip about Bond “finding forgiveness in the arms of all those willing women…” and Brosnan’s regret when he dealt with the deaths of female villains Elektra King and Miranda Frost? When torture and death comes to the innocent Solange, Craig doesn’t have that problem.

Craig: Meh.

 

Tag-a-Long

Eva Green plays Vesper Lynd government accountant.

And professional raccoon impersonator.

We’re told by the producers in the bazillion dollar PR push preceding this film, what a strong independent woman Vesper is supposed to be, what we get instead is an insufferable sociopathic traitor.

Funnily enough, the producers go so far as to put this “strong” woman in the fetal position after seeing a terrorist killed in self defense.

That poor dead warlord, I wish it were you instead.

She’s been turned by the enemy before we even meet her, so who we do meet on the train is a woman selling out her country and in her own words; “directly funding terrorists,” yet she’s got a massive chip on her shoulder when she enters the story.

I’m a terrible person willing to help kill millions, that’s why I’m so smarmy and self absorbed.

The fact she’s doing all this for a man she believes to be in danger, then ultimately deserts, makes it all the more unsavory.

I was in love with some guy prompting me to work for terrorists, but after staring into your craggy eyes… meh.

Once she gives up on her previous love she still continues on with the traitorous plan! She doesn’t say anything to Bond or the authorities and agrees to hand over the money!

Here you go, murder in good health.

Then after she kills herself, she’s subjected to one last humiliation.

Let me cop one last feel.

 

Quantum Of Solace (2008)

This botched hack job of a film doesn’t know what to do with itself let alone the female characters.

M

In this film M is is not only ordered around by British bureaucrats but Americans as well. It’s Die Another Day meets Casino Royale!

Hello M? This is the janitor at the Newfoundland chapter of the Boy Scouts, here are your instructions.

She shows her poor judgment in personnel by hiring double agents and letting the unhinged Bond go off on a vendetta. When she’s finally been brow beaten enough to haul in Bond, she displays more poor judgement by sending in a wafer thin, 20 something file clerk to turn around a rogue, muscle bound, trained killer. Leading me to…

 

Sacrificial Lamb

In this film she takes the form of Agent Fields the aforementioned youthful, minuscule file clerk. As I said she’s sent to turn back a trained killer bent on vengeance and set to ultimate rampage. This can’t possibly go wrong…

Oops.

Before getting turned into the most egregious, on the nose homage in the series, she succumbs to the worst pick up line in franchise history.

I can’t find any paper, wanna screw?

And like Solange before her Craig’s Bond can’t be bothered.

Eh, too bad, she wasn’t a half bad bit of crumpet.

 

Window Dressing

Mathis’ girlfriend Gemma makes a brief appearance at his villa.

Wearing a swimsuit and drinking wine is my mete.

Another girl in this category is a waitress who nearly gets raped.

Here’s your cerveza senor, and hey let’s throw in a rape scene for no apparent reason!

Finally we get a Canadian woman who is the latest target of Vesper’s fake boyfriend.

Good evening, I have terrible taste in men, the evidence is seated to my right.

 

Lady Leiter

Ukrainian Olga Kurylenko plays Bolivian agent Camille Montes (try that in today’s age of cultural appropriation outrage) the most useless female agent to grace a Bond film.

Beautiful yes, competent no.

Her whole purpose is to kill a slovenly, deposed Bolivian dictator in her own vengeance subplot. Yet, she also decided to complicate things by poking around villain Dominic Greene’s eco scam and corrupting his geologists.

I’m really just here to kill the General, but figured why not expose myself by trying to turn underlings for useless information.

After Bond rescues her and she gets knocked out during the speedboat chase, the plot literally casts her aside when Craig tosses her to a poolside concierge.

Handle my light work son.

By the time Camille returns, she’s nearly killed by the diminutive Greene when he tries to shove her off a balcony and needs saving by Bond yet again.

Hey there shorty, mind if I cut in?

She also proves to be just as useless at divulging Greene’s dastardly plan as she is at riding a speedboat. She has no idea what he’s up to and simply leads Bond out to the desert, only finding Greene’s subterranean lake by accident once their plane is shot out of the sky.

I don’t really know where we’re going or what we’ll find, let’s just fly around till somebody shoots us down.

When she does finally corner her prey, she bungles the job nearly getting herself killed.

The fact you had him dead to rights with the element of surprise and you let this happen doesn’t say much for your skill as an agent. The fact you get out of this and kill him off camera doesn’t say much for the producers opinion of your story line.

Once she kills the general off camera, she cowers in a corner, presumably because she fears fire, but also because the film makers have a low opinion of women.

I could run out of here in the same way Bond runs in, but nah.

Because she loses that flaming fear immediately after Craig blows open the wall.

Just as much fire, no where near as much fear.

We’ve come a long way since Wai Lin.

 

Skyfall (2012)

This film is a cynical, nihilistic, misogynistic masterpiece.

M

The once proud leader of MI6 is nothing but a weak doddering old woman. She starts off micromanaging the crap out of an operation in Istanbul leading to Bond getting shot and the henchman getting away with the hard drive MacGuffin.

If only the movie ended here.

After an explosion coaxes Bond out of “death” he promptly breaks into M’s apartment again because he has so much respect for her.

I broke into your house again old lady, watcha gonna do about it!

Give you your job back and put you to work, of course!

Craig is a massive failure in all his evaluations after being gone a whole month. So she puts him back in service because why not. After making her biggest mistake for the second time, hiring the Craig-Bond, she’s again getting berated by bureaucrats, but on a grander scale.

I don’t have an answer for that your honor, but let me quote Tennyson as a distraction.

After she makes a fool of herself by saying nothing, but dazzling those who find such pretentiousness profound, she finds herself on the run from terrorists who storm the proceedings. Naturally rather than run to the safety of the intelligence agency she controls, it’s far better to hide out in an abandoned manor house while also letting those same terrorists know where you’re going!

We’re all alone right? OK, ring the terrorists and tell them where we’re going!

The terrorist’s motivation? M abandoned their leader when he was one of her agents in Hong Kong because he was too good at his job! Yes M, that M from the James Bond films, hands over one of her agents to the enemy because he was making life uncomfortable for them! Of course, it’s further explained she had extra reason to do so because she wanted to ensure a smooth handover of the island city to the Chinese. However, let’s remember she’s handing the city over to them! All she has to do is leave, what are they going to do to you if you don’t hand him over, cry?

You’ve heard of leave no man behind? I haven’t.

Shockingly the terrorists show up at the decrepit old home and a gun battle ensues. During the course of that battle M catches a stray bullet in her hip.

Tis but a a flesh wound.

M and the crotchety old game keeper make their way to an out building, where after a brief encounter with the villain she promptly dies. If I may digress a moment, Bond, whom I realize is much younger and stronger than M,is shot not once but twice in the opening sequence. First by a depleted uranium round, a smaller version of what they use in tanks! The second by a high powered rifle that knocks him off a moving train traveling over a bloody chasm and in to a puddle, where without the benefit of modern medicine he nurses himself back to health!

An apt metaphor.

M, on the other hand sustains a scratch to her hip and bleeds out because neither she, an accomplished espionage agent, nor the experienced woodsman with her, know basic wound care!

I wish I had paid more attention in first aid class.

 

Disposable Conquest

A nameless mute Bond commits a vulgar sex act with after the opening credits.

This should be a real boost to my career!

 

Lady Leiter

I didn’t know where to stick the abominable interpretation of Moneypenny, she could have been categorized as mere “window dressing” or “tag-a-long,” but she doesn’t have enough screen time, so since they tried to fashion her into some sort of agent why not.

Yes, in this film Babz retcons Moneypenny into a failed field agent, because… girl power?

I’m such a great field agent, I became a secretary!

This stunt writing degrades the character much more than it supposedly empowers, going from worlds best personal assistant to worlds worst spy is hardly uplifting.

 

Sacrificial Lamb

I saved this one for last, because in this cynical, nihilistic, misogynist film this character gets the most cynical, nihilistic, misogynist treatment!

I speak of course of Severine played by Berenice Marlohe, a former child prostitute who puts her faith in Bond to rescue her from the clutches of the villain Silva only to be murdered while Bond literally stands by and watches.

Craig starts off by unexpectedly accosting her in the shower.

The theme from Jaws is playing in my head.

After getting himself and the girl easily caught, Bond can not shoot a glass placed on her head as a target for a sick game of William Tell played by Silva.

She must have gone to charm school to keep that glass so straight.

Silva plays the game a bit differently, shooting the woman rather than the glass.

Nothing sick about this at all.

Here’s the part that makes this scene oh so misogynistic, after Silva guns down this woman, whom Bond promised to protect, Craig quips what a waste of good scotch it is, then proceeds to easily dispatch all of Silva’s men and capture the villain single handedly!

Karate Chop!

Judo Chop!

Looks like I win!

Neener, neener, neener, oh yeah, that girl who helped me is dead, oh well. (Shrug)

Remember way back in Goldeneye when Trevelyan said to Bond, “what’s it going to be the girl or the mission?” referring to Bond’s choice of killing Trevelyan or saving Natalia from Ourumov? Remember when Brosnan’s Bond wheeled around and shot Ourumov saving the girl putting her before the mission? Yeah, well apparently the producers don’t because there was no reason this dope couldn’t have acted a minute earlier and saved her, or at the very least paused a moment and shown some regret or sympathy for her death rather than the scotch, NAH! We’re apparently embracing the misogyny now!

 

SPECTRE (2015)

We pick up where we left off in Skyfall, embracing the misogyny!

M

Wait I thought she died last film?! Yes, but they had to drag her back one last time in a videotaped cameo. I always assumed the tape was made at Skyfall before the big battle and presumably while Craig was making like the A-Team and setting up Home Alone caliber traps. However after looking at it closely she appears to be at home while making her short statement, in which she briefly declares Bond must kill a man named Sciarra and attend his funeral, making it all the more ridiculous and idiotic.

I could easily give you much more detailed and meaningful instructions, but nah, where’s the fun in that!

 

Window Dressing

Stephanie Sigman who is rumored to have been cast in order to provide certain services to Craig, plays yet another mute woman in the series of late and in this case has the added benefit of also being faceless as well, wearing a mask throughout most of her 90 seconds of screen time.

This photo encapsulates the entirety of my screen presence.

Wikipedia that bastion of accurate information states her character is a Mexican agent assigned to assist Bond. Some pretty impressive retconning considering how surprised she is when he breaks off their tryst and steps out the window, not to mention this operation is unsanctioned, so he wouldn’t be getting any assistance from MI6 or any other agency. In reality this poor creature is just some random woman with bad taste in the male form who Craig needed in order to access the balcony.

 

“Disposable Conquest”

In the months leading up to the release of this film much was made of Monica Bellucci’s glorified cameo as the widow Sciarra, wife of Bond’s murder victim in Mexico. “The first Bond woman” as she was hailed, because the actress is middle aged. Well that’s great and all but who cares? A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman no matter what her age.

Thank you for splashing my age all over the media and making a big deal of it!

She first has the displeasure of meeting Craig’s “Bond” at her husband’s funeral.

Hey, sorry your husband is dead, wanna bang?

Her later scene with Craig is violent, angry and truly disturbing, it’s quite jarring.

Moments before slamming those two glasses to the floor.

Pressing her up against the wall and taking what he wants.

Blow up this time stamped video full screen and watch her eye closely to see a tear roll down her cheek, now that screams romance.

After he gets his fill, he runs off leaving her a telephone number to his friend Felix, he might as well have left a couple bucks on the nightstand as well!

You should totally call my bro, he ought to enjoy your company as much as I did.

You want to talk about Bond in the #metoo era, there it is. How about rather than making “007” a woman, we jettison Craig and his violent, joyless, rapey interpretation of the character!

 

Moneypenny

Much like EON I don’t know what to do with this Moneypenny, so I just threw her in her own category.

All I’m good for at this point is product placement, buy Sony!

Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny bounces from scene to scene with no other purpose than to give Bond information like a personal messenger service.

Here’s that box you ordered sir.

Sure it’s 2AM and I have my boyfriend over, but you’re not disturbing me. I’ll be glad to spend the rest of the night on the phone with you running Google searches sir!

Remember back in Goldeneye when Moneypenny said she didn’t sit around waiting to “run down and see the great James Bond?” Yeah, that’s all changed.

Here’s that car you ordered sir, I’ll be disappearing and reappearing as the director sees fit.

 

Tag-a-Long

Let me introduce you to Lea Seydoux’s Madeline Swann, the most useless female character in Bond history. Oh sure on paper she has a lot going for her, Sorbonne educated psychologist, trained in the use of weapons by her assassin father, etc. but none of that makes it to the screen.

Let’s do some paperwork!

Her psychology background get’s put to no good use other than to lull the audience to sleep asking warmed over “why be a spy?” questions, which Natalia Simonova explored to much better effect in Goldeneye.

Why ask why, drink Bond Dry!

Her weapons proficiency was revealed with a clumsy gun handling scene that was also done in Goldeneye.

Anything you can do…

I can do smarmier.

When she does get to dazzle us with her gun handling skills, she blunders in and despite being five feet from a man nearly ten feet wide barely nicks him in the shoulder and immediately gets disarmed.

Pew!

Such accuracy, if only he were a bigger target!

“Bad ass” Madeline Swann cowering in the corner.

Once they reach Blofeld’s lair she may as well be a potted plant sitting in the corner, she has that much screen presence.

This weasel is torturing my newfound soulmate, here I am right next to him and unrestrained, if only I was supposedly trained in combat by my assassin father!

Getting drug around by the hand, because she’s so effective at combat!

Say what you will about other ineffective tag-a-longs such as Tanya Robert’s Stacey Sutton.

I have the funny feeling someone’s behind me.

At least she put her skill as a geologist to good use helping Bond deduce Zorin’s devious plot to destroy Silicon Valley with an earthquake.

Pointing out the plot.

And as much as I hate Denise Richards’ Christmas Jones, she does do what she’s trained to do and defuse a nuclear bomb.

I know it’s been so long, this is what a Bond girl actually doing something useful looks like.

This gal just sits there with a sour puss on her face while things happen around her! Never once doing anything that could be attributed to her supposed “badassery” that the producers crammed down our throat during the billion dollar hype leading up to this travesty of a film.

 

Bond 25 (????)

M

Yup, Dench is back, but this time as a portrait, for some reason.

A two dimensional character and there’s also a portrait in the background too.

 

The other ladies

Lord knows what manner of ridiculous fresh hell they’ll employ in this film to pretend these characters are somehow more than the sum of their parts, which are pointless.

I do know we’ll finally get that female “007” nobody has been asking for and for those “girl power” feminists championing this garbage, it’s a sure bet that best case scenario she’ll be demoted from “007” to a different code number or simply killed off by the end of the film, if not also made a traitor before death (this is a Pervis and Wade film after all). I’m also willing to bet Moneypenny will be reduced in relevance even more since the lady 007 is also a black woman.

But hey, word round the campfire is the term “Bond Girl” has been vehemently supplanted by “Bond Woman” on the set, so while the characters themselves have become the very definition of misogyny, at least their employing useless semantics now!

 

 

 

Bonus Photo

Searching for pictures to use in my garbage biblical analogy I came across this:

I swear I didn’t doctor this in any way!

Just too good not to share!

  4 comments for “Failed Feminism, A Tail of Two Barbaras, Part Two, Expulsion to the Wastelands of Misogyny

  1. Janna
    August 21, 2019 at 8:24 am

    I saw the new title, trying to go back to “ Live and Let Die” alrighty then “ No time to Die.” Yeah, right. Thanks Babzy for killing off the Real James Bond!

    Great job of interpreting the other films too. “ Spectre” was the first time I fell asleep during one of those pathetic adventures, lol.

    • dirtybenny
      dirtybenny
      August 25, 2019 at 3:32 am

      I too saw the new title Janna, rest assured it will be discussed in the next rant.

      • Janna
        August 26, 2019 at 12:22 am

        I love your rants. I wish more people could relate.

        • dirtybenny
          dirtybenny
          August 26, 2019 at 2:41 am

          Thank you Janna, that means a great deal to me!

          I think once Bond 25 aka No Time To Die hits theaters and certainly after Craig is gone for good, more people will start to come around.

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