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Discuss the Role of Women in the James Bond Films

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In 1962 the first James Bond film was realest. James Bond films are all action films. Therefore they contain elements of violence, explosive scenes and scenes containing sexual activeness. Aswell as being action movies, they reflect on women’s role in society. The original James Bond film was “Dr.No”. “Die Another Day” was then released 40years later in the year 2002.

Sylvia Trench is the first woman we meet in “Dr.No”. She seems confident as she is first seen gambling with a lot of money, comfortably. She is wearing a low cut, revealing red dress which symbolises romance and sexuality. Sylvia Trench introduces the audience to James Bond. A low camera angle is used to introduce Sylvia Trench in her last appearance revealing her naked tanned legs showing her sexy side. As the audience becomes more involved in the scene we begin to realise that she is playing golf and is wearing nothing else apart from Bond’s white silk shirt. This scene threatens the male’s role in society as Sylvia is taking control. Sylvia seems sexually assured as she practically throws herself at Bond. By breaking into his house and flirting with him when she first sets eyes on him.

The 1960’s audience, particularly the male side, would have accepted this role. This is because they are watching this film and wishing they would return home, finding their wives dressed looking sexy. This shows us a changing role of women in society because women in those days were meant to be at home doing the cleaning, for example, a house wife.

The second woman that appears in the film is Miss Taro. Miss Taro is a secretary at Government House in Jamaica. This was the traditional working role for women at this particular time period. Miss Taro enters the film wearing a white outfit and a red belt. This slightly confuses the audience as they will automatically think that Miss Taro is innocent due to her white outfit, but we get a clue that she’s involved with trouble because of her red belt. The last scene of Miss Taro has a camera shot which is set in her house. We see throughout her house the colour red, which symbolises danger.

Miss Taro has invited Bond to her house to try and lure him into an assassin’s trap. Miss Taro has been told to keep Bond at her house for as long as possible but Bond makes it clear that he will only stay if Miss Taro sleeps with him. This would have been new to the 1960’s audience because the birth control pill only just came out to allow women to be more sexually active, but it was still un-popular for women to use. Miss Taro eventually sleeps with Bond and takes control of the situation. Bond betrays Miss Taro and after sleeping with her, he puts her in a police car. Miss Taro feels humiliated and she is unable to do anything apart from spitting in Bond’s face.

I believe this scene would not threaten the male’s role in society as Bond takes control of Miss Taro by using his male authority to place Miss Taro in a police car.

The 1960s audience would have liked this scene but some would be shocked. This is because it has scenes of sexuality. This would have changed the role of women in this society because it was new to the audience that women slept with men if they weren’t married to them.

The final woman we meet in “Dr.No” is Honey Ryder. Honey Ryder enters the film showing her sexuality. We immediately see that she is wearing a white bikini, which symbolises purity and innocence. As the scene progresses we realise that Honey Ryder is a woman of nature, who uses nature to keep herself alive and occupied. She is also an independent woman, who’s brave and carries a knife so she’s prepared for danger. Honey Ryder practically lives on Crab Island collecting shells and because of this, she knows the island well and is able to take control and guide Bond to safety.

Bond and Honey Ryder work as a team to help each other out of trouble. In my opinion, I think that this relationship between Bond and Honey Ryder would have threatened the male society and changed the women’s role in society because Bond treats Honey Ryder as an equal. Also, Honey Ryder mentioned that she used a female black widow spider to kill a man. This implies that females are stronger than males. The 1960s audience would have found this scene interesting. This is because of Honeys entry to the film. She arose from the water wearing just a bikini, revealing more skin than the audience would have imagined. The aggressiveness that Honey Ryder shows would be un-expected as this was not the average personality women used to show. Being in control would normally be the male’s role, but Honey Ryder proves to us that women are able to do the job just as well. This would have changed the role in women’s society because it shows that women are just as good as men doing the same activity.

In the early sixties the women’s role in society was changing dramatically. This is because women were becoming more sexually active to people who were un-married as the pill was becoming more popular.

When “Die Another Day” came out in 2002, the women’s role had changed completely within forty years. This is because women have had more opportunities to choose for their jobs. For example, forty years before this film was released, people wouldn’t have dreamed to have a female lawyer.

In “Die Another Day”, the first female we are introduced to is Jinx. In my opinion, I think Jinx is the 20th century version of Honey Ryder but she is more worldly wise. Jinx also carries a knife with her for safety reasons and to look after herself. Jinx however, uses her sexuality to get away from danger. By doing this, Jinx is able to live life without Bond helping her out of situations. Jinx and Bond are both identical as Jinx is the American version of the spy Bond is. This means when Bond is fighting, Jinx is fighting along side. She seems to have the same skills and confidence as Bond. In some instances, Jinx controls Bond. For example, whilst having sexual intercourse, she was on top taking lead. In the morning she left him in bed. This is a role reverse because normally forty years ago in the original James Bond film, the man would have taken lead in this role.

The woman’s role has changed from the 1960s because women are taking more control of their lives and taking over some male roles in society. For example, Jinx has an equal working role to Bond. Also, Jinx shows that women are capable of looking after themselves.

The second female we are introduced to is Miranda Frost. Miranda Frost earned the title of “World Champion Sword Fighter”. This shows us that the women’s role in society has changed because forty years ago this would have only been a male’s title.

Miranda’s last name “Frost” gives us a feeling that Miranda has a cold personality. Miranda is strong because she breaks up the fight between Bond and Graves and rejected Bond, “You will never have that pleasure”. In the end Miranda Frost gives in and ends up sleeping with Bond to gain his trust.

I believe that the role of women has changed since the 1960s because Miranda has shown us that women can be champions, be stronger and have more self-control than men.

In both films, “Dr.No”, and “Die Another Day”, there’s a female character called Moneypenny In “Dr.No”, Moneypenny is honourable, sparky and playful. She flirts with Bond because she likes him but the dialogue makes it clear that their relationship will go no further. Moneypenny sticks to the rules and is working in a traditional women’s role of a secretary.

In “Die Another Day”, Moneypenny is still working in a traditional woman’s role, and Moneypenny still makes us realise that Bond is irresistible but this time she has sexual fantasies about him. this has changed what women used to be like because forty years ago they would have classed it as a sin to have sexual fantasies.

Another character that is in both films in M. Bond’s relationship with M is like a father and son relationship. Bond respects M. I believe that Flemming, the author, made the character Bond look up to M so much because Flemming lost his dad at a very young age and was bought up by his mother who he refers to M. From the original film in 1962 to the film released in 2002, M’s role has changed from being male to female. This shows us that women’s role in society has become stronger.

The roles that women had in the 1960s are completely different to the ones they have today, Women always used to have simple jobs such as being a house wife, and had part time jobs like a secretary. Women didn’t sleep around; this is partly linked to the fact that there were not many contraceptives available. Women can now have any job they want. We have even had a Female Prime Minister Margret Thatcher. This is reflected in the James Bond films with M. In “Dr No” M was male although there was a dramatic change in this character when she was reviled to be female in “Die another Day”. Women are now seen to be equal with men, they have been able to develop the same skills, abilities, and have the same jobs. Women are no longer thought to be any less capable.

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