Since it is Friday afternoon and the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, comes out today we thought we would see what we could learn from a very rare breed of women: The Bond Girls.
Now you are probably thinking the Bond Girls aren’t your typical strong, female role models. But according to some, the women in Bond films have actually changed in the last 30 years and could even be looked at as strong, professional female role models. Strong, professional role models in bikinis, but still.
“Initially, Bond girls were part of the aesthetic of the series. They had more transient roles,” said Karen Tong-son, a professor of English and gender studies at the University of Southern California, to the Vancouver Sun. “Especially in the last 15 to 20 years, there’s been a marked shift in their greater involvement in the action of the storyline and also the motivation for Bond, especially Daniel Craig’s Bond.”
Plus, since 1995 with Goldeneye (starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond) a woman (Dame Judi Dench) has played M, James’s boss. “The sense that the higher power that Bond responds to is this dignified woman played by Dame Judi Dench suggests that the relationships he has with these other (female) figures are not just fleeting casual sexual trysts, but far more complex,” she said.
James Chapman, historian at Leicester University in England and author of Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond films said, “In the 1970s things start to change, we have a response to the rise of the women’s lib movement and from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ in 1977 there is an attempt to create more fully rounded female roles.”
Plus, many of the Bond girls have taken on quite impressive careers in the last 50 years. Ursula Andress’s Honey Ryder seemed to only have the purpose to look hot and collect seashells but Pussy Galore was actually a pilot, Domino Derval was an agent and Holly Goodhead was a researcher/pilot (and these women all appeared in the films made in the 1960s and 1970s.) Their names would have been political poison but those were pretty impressive careers. And then we have continued to see agents and scientists in the Bond films since then.
Naomie Harris, star of Skyfall, said of her new Bond girl, Eve, “She’s very intelligent and highly ambitious – her aim is to be as capable as James Bond. It’s much more evolved, much more reflective of how women are now – multifaceted, multidimensional and equal to men.”
So we decided to take a look at some of the career lessons we can learn from Bond Girls.