Bond. Jamie Bond.

CNN reports -- a year or more after this was ever a social media issue, anyway -- that there will not be a female 007.


The notion of a female Bond has always struck me as a disingenuous concept. For years, James Bond was the archetypal example of what men shouldn't want to be: violent, womanizing, etc. He's everything feminism purports to stand against. If traveling around the world, shooting or sleeping with people as an "international man of mystery" is an anachronistic display of chauvinism, then surely this should also be true of an "international woman of mystery," too.

Unless, of course, the proponents merely wanted to give men a taste of their own medicine, in which case, yes, the suggestion is disingenuous. After all, chauvinistic behavior should be sexist and wrong, no matter if coming from a male or a female. And if James Bond's behavior isn't objectionable, then there should be no need to turn him into a woman.

It's a bit sad because, in the old days, someone who wanted to know what a female James Bond might be like would have simply undertaken to write a story about a female international spy. Such a writer wouldn't have needed to make her a literal female James Bond. The story would be written in response to the question, "What if James Bond were a woman?" Then, a completely new story would have unfolded, featuring a female spy placed in a universe of James Bond motifs, and through storytelling, the writer and the readers would get to explore how a woman might handle a similar position.

It's also sad because, it's not like there have never been any attempts to do this before. Take, for example, La Femme Nikita. Or, more recently, Salt. Taking a female spin on a classic spy story is certainly a valid storytelling project, and potentially a very interesting one (even if you're not particularly fond of Salt or La Femme Nikita).

But to take a classic lead character, a romantic hero, and turn him into a woman "because diversity" strikes me as a truly stupid form of storytelling. There's no refined thought behind a process like that. The political declaration becomes the story, and frankly, that's not a very interesting political declaration.

More importantly, though, stories should not be stupid, blunt political declarations. They should be stories. Stories can have political messages, of course. They can be persuasive and moving. But to accomplish this, the writer must put forth a little though and a little care into how the story is constructed, told, voiced, etc. There's more to it than simply chopping off James' head and attaching Jamie's instead. 

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