In a recent Boundless article, Matt Kaufman opined that in his boyhood he found James Bond greatly disappointing as a hero because Bond beds women. While he could respect some of the things that Bond did (like fighting villains), he could never like or respect Bond because of Bond’s promiscuity. He goes on to add that he can’t root for immoral good guys whose vices are not presented as vices. Basically, it’s boilerplate Christian media-sighz. (Hate is too strong a word, so Christians typically sigh and shake their heads sadly.)
Most of the comments agreed with Kaufman, with male commenters proclaiming that Captain America is a better hero than Bond because, I guess, Captain America didn’t bang chicks, and with female commenters proclaiming that James Bond is in no way attractive to them because he objectifies women. (Never mind that in all of these movies the women come willingly to Bond without demanding marriage first. No, that these women are willing to fornicate with Bond must be All Bond’s Fault and but for his objectifying ways, they would remain pure as snow. Or: if the man sins, it’s the man’s fault. If the woman sins, it’s the man’s fault.)
What entertained me most in the thread was the spiritual one-upsmanship going on. After a while, it wasn’t enough just to disapprove of Bond and approve of Captain America: you had to disavow movies in general as bad, or prefer movies where a married man turns away another woman by sticking his ring finger in her face or something, or accuse James Bond of being riddled with STDs, or prefer Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Captain America (yes, one woman actually wrote this).
One brave soul tried to red pill bomb the place by pointing out that Bond treats women the way they would like to be treated (Jacob M, if you’re out there, swing by!).
“How to treat a woman.” Did it ever occur to you that James Bond knows exactly how to treat a woman? How to give her what she wants? James Bond isn’t exactly depicted as raping these girls. They go willingly with him. Man, the church is several generations behind the world in understanding what drives female mating behavior. The adage “chicks dig bad boys” is decades old by now, and yet Matt Kaufman and several of the commenters here keep talking about “respecting” women or treating them “uprightly.” Do you have any indication that that’s what women actually want or like? Other than Glenn Stanton’s pronouncements from on high that women are more “naturally good” than men and automatically desire traditional family life? Look, just like men are attracted to traits in women that aren’t necessarily the “right” ones, women are attracted to traits in men that aren’t necessarily “right”–i.e., quick, cheap, flashy displays of dominance and power, rather than reliability, trustworthiness, or any characteristics that would make him a good husband and father after 20 years of marriage. Women like and are attracted to men like James Bond, and therefore enjoy sleeping with them because it feels good.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending any of this. It’s hugely problematic. But until the church comes to grips with the depraved nature of femalesexuality as well as male, it will just continue sliding further and further into cultural irrelevance.
For his pains, he ruffled the feathers of some very healthy hamsters.
Whoa, Jacob #18, I had to re-read your post to make sure you weren’t being sarcastic. While I’m glad that you don’t defend the behavior described, I am concerned that you believe women want to be treated that way. At least you could have modified it to “some women”
Without placing the blame on one gender since we are all sinners, my experience has been women complaining about being treated with such disrespect, myself included. A man like James Bond is not at all what I am attracted to. A man who respects and protects me? Definitely a winner.
Oh Jacob M. :P That’s a pretty broad accusation you’re throwing around there. You’ve got a thread full of women here that seem more interested in character than suave here and instead of being interested in knowing what shapes their character and where to find them you instead throw them under the proverbial “All Women Want Bad Men” bus.
In my experience, women don’t prefer men who throw them under said bus.
;) Just a little dating tip.
Guys want to talk about how all women want bad men and then they keep chasing the women who want them. Now, there are women out there like that, but if you’ve been attracted to so many of them that you’re jaded about it then the odds are pretty good that 1) your picker is busted or 2) they aren’t actually all after “bad” guys, they’re just not after *you*. I know lots of decent Christian women who have married decent Christian men, and probably you do, too. I don’t think all men are smooth-talking womanizers who are skulking around trying to take advantage of whoever they can — assuming that all women are just waiting around for the right jerk to talk them into bed is just stupid.
The cries of NAWALT will echo into the past and future of a thousand generations. Also, note the shaming language – “I had to re-read your post to make sure you weren’t being sarcastic” – “I am concerned that you believe” – “That’s a pretty broad accusation.” And let’s not leave out Mrs. Ashley’s parting shot that if men believe women like bad men, then it’s the man’s fault for seeking out bad women.
I’ve pointed out many times on this blog that women miss that women don’t want to be treated in Bond-ian fashion by just any man. They want to be treated in Bond-ian fashion by a man with the sexual allure of Bond. Maybe not Bond himself, but someone who has the confidence and swagger of Bond. (The nice suits, sophisticated gadgets, and hot cars don’t hurt, either.) A boring man with a mediocre salary who promises he will NEVER LEAVE HIS WOMAN EVER? Of course they don’t want him to walk up to them and whisper seductive nothings in their ears. Until men and women get this, they will continue to be losers at love.
I also think that there’s a certain amount of projection going on. A woman who finds a man of Bond’s basic sexiness caliber unattractive probably has never experienced attention from a man that attractive or been in the orbit of one; therefore, it’s easier for her to dismiss the idea of such a man as attractive to herself, partially because she knows she could never attract, much less receive commitment from, such a man. And for women with this kind of sexual insecurity, the promise of commitment can be very powerful because it is not easy for them to obtain. I think there is also some conflation going on between raw sexual attractiveness and commitment attractiveness. The other explanation: her hamster is lying to her.
As for Bond himself, the whole point of Bond is to be an idealized fantasy character and to be sexually attractive. Bond movies are not character studies; they are meditations on a fantasy of mid-century masculinity wrapped up in an upper-crusty package. He’s like a Brit mid-century Indiana Jones (another fantasy character). What both characters offer is escapist adventure, where reality and consequences don’t intrude. Maybe this is a bad thing, I don’t know. But stories like this resonate with us because on some level, we want to believe that we have adventure, ingenuity, and resolve inside of us, and that these things make us more attractive people. Most people will never live lives anything similar to Bond’s. Is it bad to step into his shoes for a couple of hours?
Regarding Bond’s womanizing: all I have to say in addition to what I’ve already said on the matter is that Bond would seem gay if he refused every attractive woman who came on to him or if he didn’t pursue any attractive women in his orbit. If Cherry McPoppin (whatever the female du jour’s name is) came on to Bond and he said (AND ACTUALLY MEANT IT), “Actually, I’m saving myself for my future wife, and I respect you far too much to try to talk you into having premarital sex with me,” audiences would outright reject the character as completely unrealistic (in a movie where fantasy is the name of the game!) and as, well, in complete denial of his homosexuality. If a woman accepted without disappointment such a claim, audiences would also reject that as completely unrealistic. A woman pursuing Bond who received such a rejection would only be more motivated to have him.