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Misogyny in Skyfall?

Autumn Leaf

over 1 year ago

I was just dragged to Skyfall earlier today by some friends. For the most part it was pretty amusing, I enjoyed the stripped down (if still just as silly as the rest of it all) final act, and liked how M was such a strong character throughout.

That said I’m very annoyed with how the film dealt with the character of Sévérine, and was wondering if anyone felt similarly? Two things in particular bugged me.

The more major of the two things was the shower scene – where Bond arrives whilst Sévérine is having a shower and he proceeds to have sex with her – which I found sickening because the more I think about it the more I’m struggling to read this as anything other than a rape scene. Lets ignore some of the already questionable typical Bond stuff here – his arriving in her room unannounced, entering the shower without being in any way invited etc etc – and just think about the characters for a second. Sévérine is a character who was forced in to prostitution and has been abused. Bond, who managed to figure out this about her, agrees to help take down her boss thus helping her. He then later, in his traditional forward and dominant manner, initiates sex with her. He initiates sex in his dominant leading style with someone who has an abusive history. He initiates sex with someone who is used to having to provide sex to people in order to continue surviving, and he does this fairly soon after he agreed to help her essentially survive (carrying the unnerving possibly that the only reason she went along with having sex with him was because he agreed to help her and thus she feels like she has to have sex with him as payment to him). The whole matter of that shower scene is just intensely disturbing to me.

My other issue with the way Sévérine’s character was handled was her death, and in particular the flippant, “bad-ass line” Bond utters upon her death. Loads of people have run to that line’s defence saying that it was Bond trying to trick his captors in to thinking he didn’t care, but the thing is quite a few people in the cinema I was in laughed at that line. They laughed at a line that made light of the death of a woman who has spent a long time being abused and who was just killed by her abusers. Say whatever you want about that line being essential to Bond tricking his captors (and it really, really wasn’t), but when you put in a line as problematic as that and such a large proportion of the theatre find it funny then there is something deeply wrong with that line being in there in the first place.

In the end Sévérine is treated as disposable – she’s there just to titillate audiences, serve as a plot device, and then she can be killed off.

I probably wouldn’t be posting this here, except I’ve seen so many people applauding Skyfall’s presentation of women and my friends didn’t really understand why I was upset and it’s frustrating me…

ugh

tomas.roges

over 1 year ago

Is this the first Bind film you’ve seen? Women are mistreated in essentially every film. There are even down played rapes of women as well. I think it’s in Octopussy if i can remember correctly. It’s not really anything new to the series, but people tend to overlook it.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

right they tend to overlook it cuz these films are relics of the playboy image of the swingin 60s. not sure why they’re still being made honestly. haven’t seen the last two but casino royale was the first one where bond ever gave a shit about a woman to my knowledge. and that was supposed to be the backstory to how he became a worthless cad etc. a softening of the bond image in essence. but it’s like complaining about car chases interrupting the narrative or ethnic stereotyped bad guys. bond is a misogynist, no question about it. i think they try to excuse it by making M a woman now. i feel your pain autumn. bond is an ugly bundle of 20th century male insecurities. crumbling empire superhero

tomas.roges

over 1 year ago

I haven’t seen any of them since whatever the one is that came after Goldeneye.

Rock and Bull

over 1 year ago

Misogyny in a Bond film? Shocker!

TRILLAR​Y DUFF

over 1 year ago

how is this thread possible. i have never seen a bond film and i still knew they were misogynistic. wtf??

tomas.roges

over 1 year ago

Is it Octopussy I’m thinking of? Where it hints that the woman is a lesbian and then Bond rapes her back into heterosexuality.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

oh god, i think i missed that one.

Bijoux Alexand​erplatz

over 1 year ago

No, Tommy. I think that’s still all of them, in my opinion.

tomas.roges

over 1 year ago

Haha, I think you’re right Bijoux. They all kind of seem the same.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

the female characters even have ridiculous sexual names. it’s pretty horrible. anyway i’ll be missing this one and probably all the rest of them, forever

Rock and Bull

over 1 year ago

No Tommy, that’s Goldfinger. Her name was Pussy Galore though.

I still wish I was James Bond.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

of course u do ^ and that’s why they’re still being made. silly me

Autumn Leaf

over 1 year ago

I’ve seen a few Bond films before, but all of them when I was quite a bit younger (though even when I was younger I still struggled to make it through From Russia with Love for reasons related to all this). I guess I was just really shocked to see what basically equates to a rape scene in Skyfall. I realise Hollywood is still very misogynistic but I didn’t think they would go that far, and having seen all the praise – some people even praising the presentation of women – and having had my friends be baffled by my complaints.. I dunno, I just needed to vent :/

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

good for u for speaking up. i think some of us get so used to misogyny we start to ignore it. everyone watched those when i was a kid. they couldn’t understand why i never liked them either. expect this thread to get firebombed later

g legs

over 1 year ago

Yeah I agree! One woman died, definitely misogyny going one here. Bond hates women.

Rock and Bull

over 1 year ago

What’s probably lot worse is Bond’s attitude towards killing. Honestly, none of it really bothers me, but I’m probably desensitized.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

but rock, he has a license to kill ;)

flip trotsky

over 1 year ago

You might try actually reading the posts you reply to, G-Legs.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

right, i’m withdrawing from this before the goon squad shows up.

Hellsho​cked

over 1 year ago

I read one of the Bond novels and misogyny doesn’t even begin to cover it. The films are models of restraint by comparison. Given the character’s roots I wouldn’t be surprised if Skyfall (which I haven’t seen) at the very least had traces of it.

ZED

over 1 year ago

It all comes back to the creator, Ian Fleming. Both the books and the movies are obviously misogynistic.

Polaris​DiB

over 1 year ago

James Bond:

The US miscasting of a Brit who kills Easterners and fucks their women until the women are killed, and then fucks his country’s allies’ women.

Starring a car you can’t afford and tech that will be out of date in five years.

—PolarisDiB

My name is Bruce

over 1 year ago

I guess I was just really shocked to see what basically equates to a rape scene in Skyfall. I realise Hollywood is still very misogynistic but I didn’t think they would go that far

Hollywood regularly exploits male rape as a source of humor, it’s not as if women have any sort monopoly on that particular victimhood.

Old Colonel Skeleto​n

over 1 year ago

the essence of Bond films is that they are kinky role-play fantasies. they really need to be judged on the level of bedroom role-play, so it’s kind of important to hold their attitudes at an ironic distance.

let’s remember that before the judgement train jumps the rails.

and let me be the first to bring up Saló in this thread.

crowder

over 1 year ago

Misogyny in a Bond movie? Well I never.

Old Colonel Skeleto​n

over 1 year ago

So yeah, in Goldfinger Bond basically rapes a woman and in the process cures her of lesbianism, what we should note about the scene is that Connery and Blackman both seem to fully understand the campy sex-fantasy aspect of the entire production, and more-or-less turn what would in reality be quite horrifying into a winking role-play session. I guess if you’re not in-the-know, or are just some prude who’s intolerant of people playing around within their sexuality, this would be appalling. Like I said, you need to take the material for what it is and maintain an amused, ironic distance. It’s couples therapy, people.

Effendi Ben Smith-M​alick

over 1 year ago

To the best of my knowledge ( I own all of the Bond films), yes, Bond is a bit of a douche. But none of these examples brought up ever have the woman saying “no” or “#$%@ off you misogynistic dick bag” or something similar while kneeing James Bond in the nuts and screaming for help. So no, it’s not really a rape. And quite frankly if you went to a Bond movie and were surprised that he was a murdering/sexist sociopath then I’m not quite sure how you go through life. I mean, do you go to zoos and exclaim “Holy shit they have animals in cages here?” What were you expecting from this? James Bond does 3 things: drinks, fornicates and murders people. That’s what he does. He does that. That’s it. That’s what he’s known for.

Ari

over 1 year ago

“haven’t seen the last two but casino royale was the first one where bond ever gave a shit about a woman to my knowledge.”

@Ruby – how can you forget On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? I’m guessing the shower scene was Mendes’ “homage” to the Bond of old. Yes, misogynist but misogynist in the Bondian tradition. Ditto with making the character utterly disposable.

ruby stevens

over 1 year ago

oh is that the one where he gets married to diana rigg and she’s killed immediately afterward? to tell the truth i don’t think i ever saw that one but someone else mentioned it to me. haven’t seen all that many of them as i wasn’t really a fan. the ridiculousness of some of the early ones was kinda fun. i think they’ve lost a lot of that toungue in cheek quality. i really just came to support autumn and try to forestall some of the attacks above