“Give Bond breasts and we lose the magic behind the character,” writes Tim Stanley in the The Telegraph. “Bond is cast in primeval stone, unchanged by the centuries. He’s an alpha male who kills bad guys with foreign accents and beds beautiful ladies… with foreign accents.” Okay, but why male? Because Bond is “a character who throws 18 stone goons over his left shoulder.”
So. Questions of gender aside, the requirements for being James Bond are:
- Kills bad guys.
- Beds beautiful women.
- Can open jam jars.
Clearly it’s No. 3 that’s the sticking point.
Damien Walter, in The Independent has a better definition: “Bond has no superpowers; no radioactive spider bite or Kryptonian heritage that gives him super-strength. Bond’s power is his will. Once it’s set on a goal, nothing, not even murder, is too far. Humans with this kind of terrifying willpower are rare but real. And they’re as likely to be women as men.”
See? No jam jar requirement. Why not, as Lesbian News says, “a suave woman in an Yves Saint Laurent-inspired smoking jacket running after global villains … a lesbian James Bond with a silver Porsche.”
Julie Bindel in The Guardian sees a lot of humour in the idea of a lesbian Bond: “International jobs would include swooping into Russia … to warn Vladimir Putin against his grotesque policies on the lesbian and gay community and other such human rights abuses.”More than anything else, the real obstacle is the name. Regardless of gender, regardless of sexuality, 007 is James Bond. Not Jane or Jen or Jamie or Jimmy Bond. And why can’t James be a woman’s name? Max Williams in GQ agrees: “A woman named James is not only feasible but fashionable: unisex monikers are currently all the rage,” before going on to suggest that James Bond could be bisexual and we could have Bond Girls and Bond Boys, and even to propose Thandie Newton for the job. Hmm…
So, it should be possible to have a female James Bond – or, indeed, a female-identifying intersex James Bond (the idea behind my developing Cold War Relics story) – who kills bad guys and beds beautiful women. Whether she can open jam jars, I don’t know, but I dare say Q has a gadget to help with that…