The surprisingly vitriolic misogyny of James Bond

I recently started reading the Ian Fleming novels for the first time. While I expected some unpleasant sentiments in them, I’ve been surprised by quite how vitriolic Bond’s misogyny is:

And then there was this pest of a girl. He sighed. Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.

‘Bitch,’ said Bond, and then remembering the Muntes, he said ‘bitch’ again more loudly and walked out of the room.

Casino Royale, Pg 32

This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man’s work. Why the hell couldn’t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men’s work to the men. And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully. For vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ranson like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly bitch. […]

The idea was a straight swap. The girl against his cheque for forty million. Well, he wouldn’t play: wouldn’t think of playing. She was in the Service and knew what she was up against. He wouldn’t even ask M. This job was more important than her. It was just too bad. She was a fine girl, but he wasn’t going to fall for this childish trick. No dice. He would try and catch the Citroen and shoot it out with them and if she got shot in the process, that was too bad. He would have done his stuff – tried to rescue her before they got her off to some hideout – but if he didn’t catch up with them he would get back to his hotel and go to sleep and say no more about it. The next morning he would ask Mathis what had happened to her and show him the note. If Le Chiffre put the touch on Bond for the money in exchange for the girl, Bond would do nothing and tell no one. The girl would just have to take it. If the commissionaire came along with the story of what he had seen, Bond would bluff it out by saying he had had a drunken row with the girl.

Casino Royale Pg. 116-117

Through the red mist of pain, Bond thought of Vesper. He could imagine how she was being used by the two gunmen. They would be making the most of her before she was sent for by Le Chiffre. He thought of the fat wet lips of the Corsican and the slow cruelty of the thin man. Poor wretch to have been dragged into this. Poor little beast.

Casino Royale, Pg 137


Categories: Rethinking The World

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  1. It’s interesting – I always thought the films put a gloss on the novels in this respect. they were sexist but not anywhere near as misogynistic as the books. However, the misogyny has definitely surfaced in the Daniel Craig films. Skyfall was appalling in this respect.

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