Before I saw Skyfall I happened to read this post about it by my favourite ecrivante roué (and source of many things feminist) Sarah McCarry. I didn’t think much of it – surely Sarah’s claim that a pretty woman is killed just to make a joke about whiskey was somewhat exaggerated? – and my mum was in town, and she likes going to see blockbusters.
And then the movie happened, and then I had an outdoor-voice rant in the lobby.
How can you not get this, I said to my uncle. How is this ever okay? How can someone like you, someone I love, think the things you think about women? My mum, who is lovely, wavered back and forth between us. (She hates letting opinions come between family. When she does form an opinion, it’s usually one that’s reasonable, sees both sides, and doesn’t declare much of anything at all.) My boy, though, had my back – which is how I know he’s fucking great.
First there’s this scene where James Bond in all his manliness is chasing a bad guy with an unnamed female agent. Then, he gets shot by the bad guy by a normal-sized bullet, but he carries on as normal. Then, as he struggles with the bad guy on top of a train going into a tunnel (seriously), the unnamed female agent is told to “take the shot”, i.e. risk hitting Bond in order to take out the bad guy. She “takes the shot” and hits Bond, and instead of taking another shot, she and the bad guy gape at each other whilst Bond falls into the water.
Cue absolutely unbelievable opening credits. (The photography in this film was spectacular.)
So now Bond is all emasculated because of being shot, and the film focuses on the scar in his shoulder and being shot by the female agent as if they’re the same thing, which they’re not because she shot him in the stomach? whatever, she thinks she’s not fit to be a field agent because women, gawd and because Bond was shot by this phallic gun with a large bullet he isn’t Bond anymore but this sissy wussy pantywaist.
Meanwhile, our old and female M is being emotional and making bad decisions according to threats by the big baddie, who is evil but also right about this because old women, gawd and she’s babying Bond and Bond is further emasculated because M is in charge. (M actually does stand for “Mother”, and has done since the beginning when M was always a dude.)
Okay, so the female agent who shot Bond accompanies him to a casino where she doesn’t fuck up (which according to the screenwriters is just shocking because women) and he meets a woman who has been in the sex slave industry since she was twelve and who is played by a half-Chinese half-French actress and is wearing an outfit that harkens back to good old Orientalism including Fu Manchu fingernails, who is branded with a tattoo on her wrist and when she tries to leave, grabs her by the wrist that signifies the fact that she is literally property and prevents her from leaving after which she submits and says something like, “Oh Bond be Manly and save me, come to this boat before it casts off and you can out-Man my Man-Master”.
So obviously, she waits around for him to show up, and he doesn’t
and then when she’s naked and taking a shower he steps naked into the shower behind her without even saying anything, and then smells her hair which is TOTALLY NOT RAPEY AT ALL, HONEST especially for a woman who’s been objectified and in the sex trade since she was a preteen
and she’s all omg hawt instead of WHAT THE FUCK like any sane person would be
and at this point my uncle was like But she’s in the sex trade so she’s used to this and I was so angry all I could do was clench and unclench my fists.
So they get to the island, right, and there’s the big bad guy and he’s creepy, which obviously equates to “effeminate”, and they actually then openly equated creepy to gay, which made me rage-scream into my hands a little. But Bond is all cool with it because he’s just horny all the time which is very manly although right now he’s still emasculated. The big bad guy explains that because field agents are irrelevant and emasculated and powerless, they must do ops through computers, which is very wussy.
So the big bad guy puts his sex slave girl into restraints and balances a shot of whiskey on her head and is like whoever drops the glass wins in our contest of penises and Manliness and Bond still can’t shoot straight (because he’s emasculated, geddit) so he misses entirely but then he’s bested by the villain, imagine how shocking, the gay villain, who just shoots her in the stomach instead and Bond, not one to miss an opportunity for one-ups-Man-ship, says
What a waste of good whiskey
or something similar, at which point I was developing a rage-migraine.
The big bad guy is captured and taken back to M, who he chides for being weak and womanly and overly emotional which resulted in him becoming an evil emasculated deformed gay man because he was manly enough to take cyanide but it didn’t kill him. And then he uses his wussy skills to do nonsensical movie “hacking” and escape.
Bond decides he’s going to take M to his childhood home, ostensibly to trap big bad guy in a place without technology (???) because another one of the themes here is that we should return to basic spy movies because this modern crap just isn’t very Bond-like, so everything antiquated is awesome, so all this wussiness and female field agents and female Ms should fuck right off. However, he also leads big bad guy to his childhood home so he can go back to his roots and become manly again.
Bond learns how to be manly again by shooting his father’s phallic shotgun. Everybody is rebirthed through an underground priest tunnel from the home into the adjoining chapel.
Big bad guy kills M. Bond kills big bad guy.
Manly and fatherly bureaucrat becomes new M, so Bond is no longer emasculated by an overweening old woman.
Female agent, who is coincidentally a woman of colour, decides she’s not cut out for field work because she emasculated Bond even though her shot wasn’t the one they focused on during the film as doing the most damage but hers was the one that did the most psychological damage, okay, because it was emasculating, and this female agent is revealed to be…
Who will return to her submissive role as sexpot and secretary and on-call pussy to Bond, who also, let’s not forget, happens to be a woman of colour so nice going, white guys who wrote this script/white guys who play the white guys who are in charge of her.
MI6 is no longer emasculated by a female M, Bond is back to his Manly self, and what’s more they both have a woman of colour who has decided by herself that she’s not good enough to be a field agent, because Skyfall is all about going back to the days when Men were Men and Bond Mattered, and none of this gay wussy techno crap it’s all about having sex with disposable exotic women and spying and concealed guns in car headlights.
We get to see the classic Bond opening at the end because obviously Bond had gone astray and he’s finally back! YEAAAAAAHHHHHH A RETURN TO BOND! THIS IS THE REAL BOND! THE MISOGYNIST RACIST BOND YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!
And then I look around for other people who have seen this in the film and it’s so, so rare and even my progressive friends didn’t see it until I took them through it and most people were like Oh, Bond like he was just a cute little misbehaving puppy rather than a multimillion dollar franchise that basically just told me to go fuck myself because I have a vagina.
What the everliving fuck, people.