Emi d'Escrivan-Nott

Skyfall and the power of the penis.

The Latest James Bond film is a feminist critic’s dream. It is so sumptuously Freudian and so deliciously self aware in it’s overt sexism and castration anxiety themes that it makes me both incredibly indignant and also.. kind of impressed. The Bond franchise is essentially about how funtastic it is to have a penis, but I feel that Mendes is the one director who has captured exactly what the series is about. The film spectacularly encapsulates everything that is wrong about the treatment of women in Hollywood cinema. The three main female characters drive the plot as a result of how they damage the male ego. The Eve character begins by metaphorically castrating Bond at M’s command, Bond then makes her a sexual object in order to dominate her into submission. She becomes a tight-dress-wearing, high-heeled-clad, walking and (barely) talking vagina. M is pursued by an ex agent, brilliantly played by Javier Bardem, who is plagued by a blatant Oedipus complex and is also the cause of Bond’s demise. Lastly the character of Severine betrays the villain of the piece by helping Bond. All of these women are systematically punished. M is killed, Severine is killed and Eve is most cruelly punished than the rest as she is relegated to a desk job, taken off ‘the field’ and placed under Bond and the Ralph Fiennes character who takes over M’s job. Watching Bond is almost as hysterical as watching any number of Hitchcock films which reveal a deep seeded hatred of women and violent fantasies which result in their domination.

By stating this I am not by any means detracting from how visually stunning the film is and what an achievement it is. Down to the most mundane filmic technique it is truly  PERFECTION. The point I am trying to make is that this film lives up to everything I associate with the Bond franchise and more in the worst kind of way. What I find most upsetting though, is that there isn’t a female Bond equivalent which makes me as excited about having a vagina as this franchise makes men of having a penis. And no, Charlie’s Angels doesn’t count.

By Emi d’Escrivan-Nott


3 thoughts on “Skyfall and the power of the penis.

  1. Right. Lots to be said.

    Firstly, this is a James Bond film. An obvious point? Necessary, since all this ‘castration’ imagery is nothing more than the fantasy of an English student. Bond is shot. This kind of freudian imagery is, quite simply, not there. It’s a plot point. It’s tense, exciting, and it isn’t new either – Bond has been ‘killed’ more than once in the franchise (I’m assuming your ‘views’ on the ‘franchise’ are based just on the recent instalments).

    ‘Bond then makes her into a sexual object in order to dominate her into submission’. Except, he doesn’t. She turns up at his hotel in Macau and voluntarily shaves him. Yes, she wears a tight dress in the Casino scene. It is a casino. So is every other woman in the room. She needs to fit in. She is a spy.
    ‘She becomes a (barely) talking vagina.’ – Quite the opposite in fact, she breaks the mould of Bond girls by NOT making love to him on demand. You’re the only one bringing up her ladyhood.

    It’s far too easy to look at her subsequent office role as some kind of sexist relegation. Not only is she playing an iconic character, but the most empowered, formidable incarnation of that character yet – we’ve seen her in the field. In a climate where women’s job prospects are unjustly inferior to men’s, we’re seeing a woman in one of the most superior positions (she’s secretary to the head of MI6 for christ’s sake), and we’ve seen her ‘kick ass’. We’re shown that a women in the ‘office’ job is more than just a secretary.

    M dies. Yes, she does. She has also been the most authoritative person in the series for seven films. And the only person to directly call Bond a ‘sexist misogynistic dinosaur’ (Goldeneye, 1995. I suggest you watch it.) Her death is no kind of a punishment for ‘being a woman’, the producers are simply dispensing with a character who has been around for slightly too long. Gender doesn’t come into it.

    The main thing you seem to have forgotten is that a James Bond film is never supposed to act as some kind of social commentary. It is a parody, and yes, the character errs on the wrong side of sexism. He’s supposed to be a tad reprehensible. And above all, he is a caricature. When he slips into the shower with Bérénice Lim Marlohe, no man in the audience is seeing art imitating life. We raise an eyebrow at James Bond because we know, above all, that he is ridiculous.

  2. Obviously I disagree, (This is Emi by the way). Film is always a social commentary, regardless of how ridiculous or not. Also the freudian imagery is not the imaginings of an english student, it’s my interpretation and how I viewed the film. I am entitled to make a commentary on a film as it is based on OPINION. And no my views are not on recent instalments only, I’m a film student so I do do my research.
    Thanks for that.
    Let me remind you that the point of this blog is that it’s an open space for people to express their views, I appreciate your comments but you write with unnecessary agression, you’ve obviously missed the point of this blog.


  3. Just to specify on my film being a social commentary point, before you take it out of context, let me clarify. Regardless of wether it’s Scary Movie 5 or citizen Kane films reflect the culture and society that they emerge from. You can’t deal with a medium like film and not let it be coloured by the people that make it and the events which surround it.
    I hope this clarifies my views for you

    If you’d like to lend some constructive criticism or you would like to question me about something rather than attack me then here is my email emilia.descrivan@gmail.com. Feel free to write.

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