Monday, March 21, 2016

The Bond Con

The media made a big deal of 'the oldest ever "Bond girl"' in the latest Bond film, Spectre as evidenced by this title given to an article in The Mirror on how this freak of cinematic nature manages to look sexy at such a mighty age.

This would be all very well and good if it were true, even though it remains deeply condescending given that the woman in question, Monica Belluci, is clearly still sexier than most women (not to mention men) on screen, and only three years older than Craig.

But the bigger problem is that she's barely the Bond girl, or 'woman' as some media manage to call her, doing their best to acknowledge her maturity without wishing to insult her, or the film, directly. She's the Bond bit on the side, more like, only appearing in the first quarter of the film, as if to get her at her youngest - or least old, rather. After that she is replaced poignantly, and clumsily, for the remaining three-quarters of the film, by an actual girl, an actress more than twenty years her junior and as young as they could get away with without her relationship with the 48-year-old Craig coming across as creepy.

Somehow this makes the fuss over Belluci's inclusion in the film all the more patronising to women, while likely a cynical gesture by directer Sam Mendes to increase female interest and media buzz in the film, clearly aimed at teenage boys and men.

Indeed this is the issue of the moment in Hollywood, the ongoing targeting of big-money films to young males and the lack of leading parts for 'older' (over 30) women in those films as a result, because boys - and men of any age - it seems, want to watch boys and men, and - more briefly and preferably without their clothes on - very young women. At least that's what Hollywood believe and argue box-office sales prove true.

Men and boys (directors, producers, writers and viewers alike) are, most of them, sex snobs. We know this. But to what extent do we make them this way, that's what we don't quite know or want to know.

Personally I think we are deeply complicit in male sex snobbery, with Hollywood et al in the film industry, the most complicit of all. The latest Bond film proves this in trying, cynically and condescendingly, to amend this blatant snobbery and failing almost entirely, exposing instead its desperate depths and time-worn resistance to change.

Sally Field in the latest TIME has a strong opinion on this issue, based on her many years of film and TV sexism experience. She knows what she's talking about, as most Sallys do.

Indeed sex snobbery has long testicles (oops, Freudian slip. I meant to say tentacles). And the longest of all of these testicles (oops) reaches into real life relationships between men and women and eventually tears them apart, because any boy/man who has been raised to prefer the company of men will struggle to sustain a healthy relationship with a woman over 30, indeed with a woman full stop, not a girl.    



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