Posted at 10.08.2018
This work analyses the representations of women across the James Bond saga, concentrating on a select few movies. Both major and slight character types will be analyzed to determine if there are differences in the representations. The analysis will concentrate mainly on the representation of the women as a gender, but will also look into racial representations to see if they adhere to western stereotypes. Despite being a hugely popular franchise and grossing hundreds of thousands at the theatre, Connection has often not been critically reviewed by the academic community. In more recent years this has begun to change with a few academics looking deeper in to the series, and this work aspires to grow on that by giving analysis on the feminine characters featured within. It will cover the 22 'public' Bond films (EON Productions) from 1962 to 2008, even though some is only going to be discussed quickly.
The main method utilized by this project will be analysis of the works involved, and referencing these to representational theories and feminist theories. This includes Stuart Hall's theory of encoding and decoding, and the works of Laura Mulvey. There may also be referencing to other works which have analysed the Connection films in an identical light, to provide back up to the says made, as well as provide extra understanding. Interviews with companies of the videos may also be considered; early research suggests the manufacturers were accountable for most of the sexual fee of the Connection franchise, especially in the first days. This might give valuable information into the reasons for the choices they made, for both creative and financial reasons. Interviews with ensemble, mainly those who played out the female jobs within the videos, would also be very helpful in providing additional information to give their ideas on the representations of the personas they enjoyed, as well as the way they thought portraying such personas.
Robert Caplen's Shaken & Stirred is an integral resource to the work; it offers detailed examination of female individuals in the Bond films, as well as presenting background information, including the life of Bond's creator, Ian Fleming. In addition, it gives analysis of the progression of women's privileges and feminism, that will have influence on the way the films signify the characters.
The James Bond Sensation (edited by Christoph Lindner) is a collection of essays analysing the Connection franchise. Although many will be irrelevant to this work, some of them will provide valuable information, context and analysis that could be put to use, for example Elisabeth Ladenson's article on the character Pussy Galore.
Bond Ladies Are Forever is a e book by John Cork, and Connection celebrity Maryam D'Abo (The Living Daylights) which looks at the "Relationship girl phenomenon". This will likely be incredibly useful as it is co-written by one of the Relationship actresses. Being compiled by an celebrity 'on the inside', this book will offer a deeper research of the people than a short interview would, increasing its effectiveness as a source. The reserve was written as an accompaniment to the documentary of the same name managed by D'Abo, released annually prior. The documentary may also be a resource utilized by this work, as it will offer a brief overview of the actual reserve says. The documentary has been kept up to date twice; first in 2006 and later in 2012 to support for the later released Relationship films: Gambling establishment Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012).
Structurally, this work will progress in chronological order, beginning with a brief explanation of Ian Fleming's life before Bond, and therefore his inspiration, before you begin to provide examination on the early Bond films of the 60s. This first section will encompass the first 'section' (in terms of feminism) of the Connection saga, up to the point where the Bond 'young girls' become Relationship 'women'. This will include key Bond young ladies including Honey Ryder, Pussy Galore, Tracy Di Vicenzo, Mary Goodnight and Holly Goodhead.
The second chapter will look at the next few videos in the series, and the so called Relationship 'women'. These people tend to be 3rd party and self-sufficient than those of earlier films, and symbolize a change in modern life for girls. They attract less from the stereotypical housewife and the theory that women belong in the home, and tend to be ladies in more reputable employment opportunities such as doctors and experts. Such women include Octopussy, Stacey Sutton and Kara Milovy.
The third section will have a look at Bond following the cold war, and exactly how female characters are suffering from since the street to redemption of the iron curtain. These more recent films seem for taking motivation from both earlier periods of Bond, some of the women are incredibly powerful and capable, and often they are spies working either alongside or against Relationship. However, despite being indie, liberated women they are generally found to be less than useful in the face of danger, which is up to Connection to save lots of them. Key character types include Xenia Onatopp, Natalia Romonova, Wei Lin, Jinx and Vesper Lynd.
The study of the videos will likewise incorporate females included in the motion pictures who are just very minor character types, seen on screen only very quickly, as these personas tend to be very one-dimensional and have little personality, and have a tendency to be tools to emphasise Bond's masculinity.
The Bond female started in the books by Ian Fleming, inspired by his bacheloristic lifestyle up until his matrimony. Growing up without a father, his mother assumed the paternal role in the family. Along with his father being a casualty of the First World Conflict, Fleming's mom, Evelyn, prompted him and his brothers to develop up in the image of the father (Caplen, 2010). Fleming disapproved of his mother's parenting, and it seems this is thought to be a contributing factor towards his treatment of women; (put quote about him being a sexist bastard). Arthur Brittain shows that "a man's attempts to attain a wholesome sex role id are thwarted by such factors as paternal absence [and] maternal overprotectiveness. " (Caplen, 2010) With having less a father figure, Fleming felt the necessity to express his masculinity by exerting dominance over women.
During the next World Warfare, Fleming served as a naval intellect officer, first as a lieutenant, but later as a Commander, plainly being the ideas for Commander James Bond. After the battle, and after many girlfriends and enthusiasts, Fleming found out that Anne O'Neill (with whom he was having an affair) was pregnant with his child, and noticed compelled to marry her.
What with Fleming's sibling, Peter, as an founded novelist, and Ian himself as an apt journalist, he decided to try his own palm at writing. Along with his knowledge and experience in espionage he made a decision to write a spy novel, which were popular at that time due to the end of the next World War and the go up of the Chilly Conflict. His first Relationship novel was Gambling house Royale, in 1952.
During the late 50s and early on 60s, Women in Hollywood were changing. No longer did they have to be linked down in a romance or a marriage to have sexual intercourse. Hollywood's strict censorship was relaxing, as their image of femininity was moving with the times. Stars such a Marilyn Monroe were well known for their portrayal of sexually liberated women; she was a "beautiful blonde whose physique overshadowed her intellectual shortcomings. " (Caplen, 2010, p. 69) On this new Hollywood, some of the old ways of thinking remained; although women received sexual freedom these were still shown that their fate resided in the home with a husband.
1950s Hollywood also experienced Monroe's (and more) portrayals of so called 'bad women' become more accepted, combined with the concept that girls could be sexually satisfied without matrimony. "As we observed on the big screen that it was sometimes possible not to get punished for having making love with the man you're dating, some people began to wonder. " (Douglas, 1994, p. 81)
The women in Bond motion pictures stem out of this idea; they signify an seemingly sexually liberated and impartial woman. Although they could seem liberated (from a male point of view) in comparison with other films of that time period, and they're free to have sexual intercourse with whomever they need, they are still very reliant on the guy. This links along with Laura Mulvey's theory of the male gaze; the films are targeted at a male audience, so the women are produced as male fantasies to provide visual pleasure to audiences. Sean Connery agreed; "[Bond young girls] are so absolutely unreal, the sort of women you only meet in your fantasies as well as your dreams" (D'Abo & Cork, 2003, p. 107)
The to begin Fleming's books to be put to screen however, was Dr. No, in 1962. The film implemented a simple plot, later re-used in later videos like the Spy Who Loved Me, with an almost common 'wicked genius' using his technology to spark war between the East and Western world, and to involve some personal gain from such an event. Not only did it lay out a formula for future years Bond films to check out, it also created a cinematic icon; the Connection girl. However is not really the only (rather than even the first) female who Relationship 'has', Dr. No's primary 'female' is Honey Ryder, a bikini-clad shell collector. However, Connection possessed encounters with other feminine characters within the storyline before Honey Ryder appeared on screen, that ought to be talked about first.
Dr. No opens with the now basic gun barrel computer animation, and unlike the rest of the films to achieve success it, seamlessly goes directly into the title sequence. This consists of animated colored dots with a dark-colored background, substituted by dancing colored silhouettes, with time with a change in music. This title sequence laid the path for other Bond films to follow "with its focus upon beauty, wit and intimacy" (Caplen, 2010).
The film then starts in Jamaica, with 3 supposedly blind men assassinating a spy, after which they kill his secretary. Although never created properly as a persona, the secretary is the first female to seem on screen. It is worthy of noting however, that she is hired as a secretary, a common job for females at that time. Also, when she's a gun in her face, she simply screams and makes no try out at either defending herself or evading her attackers, and is seen to be limited at handling herself when confronted with danger. Although not possessing a name, she fits in well with a long line of female 'extras'. Fleming mentioned that (ladies in office buildings).
However the first female character to appear in Dr. No is Sylvia Trench. Shown on display screen before Bond, she wears a red dress, organized on one make, exposing the other. The red dress helps her stick out from the public around her; the others are all wearing black. Whenever we first see her, the camera tilts up from the baccarat desk to her face, allowing the audience to see (albeit briefly) her upper body before her face. After introducing himself as "Bond, Adam Bond", he announces he must leave, and gets up from the desk. Unable to avoid him, Sylvia comes after suit and strolls over to him, and proceeds their dialogue:
Sylvia: Too bad you have to go, equally things were consistently getting interesting
Bond: Yes. Notify me Neglect Trench, do you really play other games?
Sylvia: (with a suggestive look on her face) Golf, between other activities.
Bond offers to take her to supper the following day, which she allows, however she sneaks into his hotel suite before he occurs back from MI6 head office. Bond arrives back again, but notices someone got damaged in. he attracts his firearm, dims the equipment and lighting, and opens the door to find Sylvia, half naked, the game of golf. Once again, the camerawork is sexually costed, with the audience initially only discovering her bare thighs, the bottom of her shirt and high heel shoes in the foreground, with Relationship in the distance. Asking what she actually is doing there, she tells Relationship she "Decided to recognize [his] invitation". He reminds her that it was for your day after, and then commences to question her attire:
Bond: Tell me, would you always dress this method for golf?
Sylvia: I became something convenient. Oh, I hope I did the right thing.
Bond: oh, you did the right thing, but you picked the incorrect moment. I must leave immediately.
Sylvia: Oh, that's too bad, just like things were consistently getting interesting again. (She wraps her hands around him and kisses him) When have you say you have to leave?
Bond: Immediately. (She kisses him again) Almost immediately.
As Sylvia is speaking, she boosts the golf club she is keeping and strokes it seductively, further adding to the innuendo of the world. This field is significant in rebuilding the energy to Bond; after all it is Sylvia running after him. "Bond's conquest of her would reassert his power over her and 'rebuild' the natural balance of the active" (Caplen, 2010) An essential thing to note about Sylvia, is the fact she was not part of Fleming's book; she was put into the film purely to boost the variety of Bond's erotic encounters.
Despite being truly a two dimensional figure designed to raise the size of Bond's ego and to showcase his masculinity, Sylvia Trench does signify a (partially) liberated female. She is an individual girl out to experience and do a she wishes; indulging in cigarettes, alcohol and playing. She actually is a "predatory woman determined acquire Bond" (Caplen, 2010) Although she does appear to be liberated from the constraints of a household and man, she does appear to only be sexually liberated; she isn't seen again in Dr. No so that it can't be assumed that she is a solid liberated female, and this is strengthened by her simple appearance in From Russia With Love (1963) where, once again, she was written into the film's script to increase Bond's sexual conquests.
The major Bond Woman of Dr. No is Honey Ryder, performed by Swiss celebrity Ursula Andress. An image of beauty, with a trim number and large breasts, she was chosen by the makers because of her looks, as she experienced little/no performing experience. [Source needed] First seen walking up the beach from the water in a white bikini, she made cinema history and establish the typical for other bond girls to check out.
She walks in the beach in a white bikini, "unselfconscious of her natural beauty and unaware that Bond is seeing her. " (D'Abo & Cork, 2003, p. 27) When Connection makes himself seen, she asks if he's looking for shells, and he responds "No, I'm just looking", obviously looking at her. After encouraging he won't steal her shells, she replies "I assure you you won't either. That is interesting; she is assured enough of her capability that she can stop Relationship from stealing from her. This gives the impression that she actually is independent and capable of looking after herself. This is supported by the actual fact that she helps herself financially by offering seashells, she has browse the encyclopaedia, and boasts that she got revenge over a rapist by putting a black widow spider in his bed. "She doesn't need Bond to save lots of her except from the consequences of his actions" (D'Abo & Cork, 2003, p. 29)
However, despite her noticeable independence, her interactions with Bond seem to be to weaken her persona. She serves very childlike and innocent around him, and despite her understanding of the world, thinks in the neighborhood rumours of your dragon roaming the island. After seeing the 'dragon', Connection asks her to wait where she is as he steps closer. Struggling to avoid him, she winds up getting them both captured. If the guards take bond, they state leave the girl, but she insists ongoing with him. Also, only Relationship is handcuffed by the guards; it is visible that they have no interest "the lady", yet she employs as Relationship is dragged away.
After being escorted to have dinner with Dr. No, they take a seat and discuss Dr No's strategies. Over time, with Honey sat other Bond and remaining silent, Bond advises she be studied away because "she has nothing to do with us". At first she refuses, but Relationship insists; "I don't want you here". Dr No agrees, "That is no place for the girl, take her away. " The guards come over, remover her from the stand and take her away. As she actually is being considered, Dr. No says "I'm sure the guards will amuse her" Relationship reacts to this by looking to free Honey from the guard's grasp, but another shield prevents him. His concern for Honey is slightly conflicting with his question she leave; perhaps he believed she would be safer from any risks approaching if she were away from him. However, this is actually the last we see of Honey until Connection rescues her minutes prior to the film ends. Her contribution to the world was non-existent; she performed no part in Bond getting together with Dr No, and her only dialogue from enough time she wakes up to the time she leaves was about her clothing, and the aquarium in Dr No's lair. Therefore, she was only present in the world to provide as eye candy for the male audience. Off screen she actually is tied up, awaiting her heroic save by Bond by the end of the film.
Bond's attitude toward Honey appears to shift somewhat, when they first meet and the guards have damaged her fishing boat, he sees her as a responsibility; "What are we going to do with her now?" But as the film advances he evolves more concern for her (possibly even feeling responsible for her), and eventually saves her at the end, as worthwhile hero should.
Expanding this to the entire film, Honey assists very little to the narrative of the film, and in the end only functions as a erotic conquest for Bond. Her personality, although given more depth than other feminine character types in the film, is still slightly two dimensional. Her contributions to the narrative also to Bond's success and defeat of the villain are minimal; Bond and his colleague, Quarrel could have been just like in a position on the island without Honey's appearance. Her only useful moment in time was when she advised Bond she knew of a spot to hide on the island. Bond is then tasked with her save, being responsible for her take. He does indeed this easily without opposition, and in his role as the great prince saving the damsel in stress, his heroic actions therefore give him the right to rest with her, concluding Bond's adventure and the film.