License to Change: ‘No Time to Die’ ‘Bond Girls’ End Agent 007’s Sexism

In the latest installment of agent 007, his female companions carry him as a package on the motorcycle, they fight in the same way as he does and they manage to make him fall in love. “Moñas” for some, current for most of the public.

This article contains SPOILERS for ‘No time to die’, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t keep reading.

Ursula Andress, the ‘Bond girl’ of Agent 007 vs. Dr. No (1962), he landed his role after the director, Terence Young, saw a photograph of him in a wet T-shirt. At that time, those were the qualities that were required: having a good physique and being able to dazzle the male audience. 60 years later, Lashana Lynch, the new 00, carries Daniel Craig’s Bond as a pack on the bike while she is the one riding. They are two completely different types of women and, between the two, there is a long road that has ended up achieving equality in a saga that, traditionally, has been sexist.

No time to die he has used all his artillery to remove that sanbenito. Daniel Craig has been determined, since he arrived in 2006 with Casino Royale, in not being the purely male agent that his predecessors had been. There have been six interpreters in charge of playing Ian Fleming’s action hero for 25 films, each with its corresponding Bond girl, a character used to serve the history of the agent and who, for many years, has only mattered the color of the bikini.

The macho past of James Bond: “He can be sexist as long as his environment indicates it”

In the new installment of the saga, this title is picked up by two actresses who have nothing as a wild card. They are Lea Seydoux in the role of Madeleine Swann -who, by the way, is the first to repeat in a female character of these characteristics- and Lashana Lynch as Nomi, the 00 agent who replaces James Bond after he leaves his post. They are the ones who have changed Craig’s environment in favor of a more balanced environment without such marked masculinity. “James Bond is still very formal, but I do see a break in the male figure, which not only has normative qualities. It is an older James Bond, who is recognized as weaker, but the heroic sense retains it until the end”, points out Asunción Bernardez Rodal, Professor of Communication at the Complutense University of Madrid and author of the book Soft Power: Heroines and Dolls in Media Culture.

He becomes a sacrificial hero, sacrifices himself for the family. That’s a very new nuance in the conqueror and assassin design. He is humanized from this figure

Presenting him as a family guy is a twist in the way his masculinity is treated, but he still maintains a very strong traditional line. On No time to dieJames Bond is a man with a daughter who has already been raised and a young, beautiful and wonderful woman. “The plot does not contravene the masculine ideal because now we are dealing with an old Bond, who has been a scoundrel all his life. Now he meets a girl already raised in a wonderful way and with a young woman, with which, those ideals of masculinity are perfectly maintained because the perfect woman is found“, maintains Bernardez.

Lea Seydoux como Madeleine Swann.

‘No time to die’: a change without turning back in Bond girls

“Bond can be sexist, okay, I mean, it’s not okay for someone to be sexist, but he can be as long as everyone around him points out that he is. the parties, especially the women, are equal to him. ” These are the words of Daniel Craig in an interview for SensaCine. The actor agrees that the franchise must shift toward feminism and equality. For this they have two great assets: Madeleine Swann from Léa Seydoux and Nomi, Agent 00 played by Lashana Lynch.

Swann is responsible for the maternal role as she is the mother of James Bond’s daughter. They ran the risk of pigeonholing her into a domestic role, but she is well balanced, in the words of Asunción Bernardez Rodal. “She is a figure of a professional woman, but also very domesticated, integrated into the family environment. She presents herself to us as a warrior woman and then what she is, above all, is a mother figure, although she is a very positive figure because she defends herself “, says the teacher.

In that sense, she still has phallic characteristics, that is, she knows how to use force and combines it with motherhood and with the most classic characteristics of femininity. It is quite a positive figure

On the other side is Nomi, a girl who comes to the agency with great strength, security and great skills. Also with a lot of knowledge about James Bond, who is able to touch all the buttons. For the gender expert, this inclusion is a big change: “That a 007 woman and black appears is something fantastic. This character is positive. She is a woman who does not correspond to the canons of beauty. It’s not very thin, it’s black, it’s very interesting. “

Lashana Lynch is the new agent 007 in ‘No Time to Die’, but is she replacing James Bond?

The character of Lashana Lynch stars in a very representative scene of this installment of James Bond. She is the one who drives her partner on several occasions, either on a motorcycle or on a plane. “It’s very symbolic. In a James Bond movie the whole thing about technology is always handled by men. In this case, the fact that a woman is riding the motorcycle, which also represents masculinity, is very important.“, says Asunción.

Lashana Lynch (Nomi) and Daniel Craig (James Bond) in a scene from ‘No Time to Die’

From a wet T-shirt and a confused lesbian to the Madeleine and Nomi revolution

Ursula Andress has the honor of being the first Bond girl in history. Although he appears in the film with great force, his qualities soon fade to give way to a childish character who needs the help of Bond. What do we remember about her? The famous scene coming out of the water with that white bikini that, decades later, would also be the most iconic of Halle Berry’s character in Die another day. This is the trend that these types of characters have followed, highly sexualized at the beginning and a little more subtly towards the end.

There are some cases more thorny than others. One that today would generate quite a controversy is that of Honor Blackman, who gave life to Pussy Galore in James Bond contra Goldfinger (1964). A priori, an interesting character, since she is the only known criminal woman in the United States. She had a groundbreaking trait in presenting her as a lesbian, like all the participants in her organization. This advanced detail soon starts to leak, as it soon makes you frown. Bond forces him to kiss her until she succumbs and, although she is a seasoned criminal, she has to be saved by Bond from Goldfinger’s clutches. Nevertheless, what today could not reach the screen is that she and Bond end up together, despite Pussy’s sexual orientation.

In the 70s, Gloria Steinem founded the famous feminist magazine Ms., the National Organization for Women (NOW) brought together hundreds of women in its protests and the Equal Rights Amendment was on the agenda of political groups. The saga of agent 007 could not look the other way and built its next protagonist based on what today’s society asked for. Thus was born Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) in The spy who loved me (1977), one of the most developed and balanced Bond girls with the main actor. Thanks to this change, then there would be room for Halle Berry’s Jinx in Die another day (2002), the first black woman not to end up in a villainous role and a breakthrough as an action hero.

Halle Berry as Jinx in ‘Die Another Day’ (2002)

To close this review of the long list of Bond girls, we highlight two recurring aspects. On the one hand, death is a common fate among them, starting with Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) in We only live Twice (1967), who is accidentally poisoned, and following by Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood) and her fall in Diamonds for eternity (1971). Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), who gave life one of the few women who have managed to reach the agent’s heart in Casino Royale, also suffers a fateful end. It is a trend suffered by characters considered minor in fiction, such as women, people of non-Western races and those belonging to the LGBT community.

Another fact to highlight is the age of the actresses who have accompanied the agent. Few have passed 30, being Monica Belucci the great exception, since she played Lucia Sciarra in Spectre (2015) at age 51. Today, the youth of Bond girls is something that does not change. Lea Seydoux was just 30 years old when she appeared in Spectre, while Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas, the incorporations of No time to dieThey reach 33. Of course, James Bond has a license to grow old and there was Roger Moore in his 50s or Pierce Brosnan already well into his quarantine.

Having said that, What will the new James Bond be like? There is much debate surrounding the opportunity to place a woman in the position. Just as there are advocates, there are many voices against this idea. Craig’s position is that what is really necessary is to create rich and complex female characters, not to replace those who have traditionally been men by women. “The interesting thing of course would be that, that these stereotypes run naturally, that men or women can be those who carry those roles. Society has to change as well. In the end, what happens is that fiction is still very conservative, more than we think. Now figures of women appear, which is very good, but there is an implicit conservatism that continues to work, “says Asunción Bernardez.

If you want to be up to date and receive the premieres in your mail, sign up for our Newsletter