The Construction of Masculinity in the Media. The Character James Bond


Essay, 2014

7 Pages, Grade: 2,3


Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Masculinity of the Figure James Bond
2.1. The Casual All-Rounder
2.2. The Byron's Hero
2.3. The Styled Gentleman
2.4. The Rebellious Protector

3. Conclusion

Works Cited:

1. Introduction

At first glance, James Bond seems to embody nothing more than a reactionary ideal of masculinity. Bond is the 'perfect' man. As a loyal secret agent serving the British monarchy, he always successfully fulfills his mission. He takes the hearts of women by storm, remains smart and controlled even in the most critical situations, masters all new, however complicated technologies and is always superior to his enemies in the end. James Bond is the absolute hero. But how is it that James Bond films can be so appealing to those interested in feminism and gender theory? Scientific articles dealing with the 'James Bond phenomenon' pose similar questions. The young men identify with him, the young women desire him, and these two relationships cannot be separated because of their oedipal structure. He is rude, open and at the same time distinguished, clever and sporty, a real English gentleman, but not a scorn of food, such as Sherlock Holmes, a colleague from the 19th century. This paper aims to show what this enormously popular fictional leader of our culture is, where its strengths and weaknesses lie in the films.

2. The Masculinity of the Figure James Bond

2.1. The Casual All-Rounder

James Bond, who is portrayed by Sean Connery, Andrew Spicer puts into the model of the adventurer (cf.25). He embodies the core of the American myth of masculinity, which turns out to be a successful, competitive individual. He acts with brave ingenuity, but is also described as a restless loner looking for danger and confrontation. He is not to be assigned to a class, because his value results from his deeds, not from a birth privilege.

Spicer assigns Bond to a subgroup of the adventurer through the extraordinary portrayal of a casual, tough guy: the casual all-rounder (cf. 30). Sean Connery depicts a man who is the nonchalance of US soldiers discovered for himself. A guy who rejects the models of the previous generation because they don't seem masculine enough. Sean Connery combined a masculine body with the rough manner of a truck driver. His accent, which reveals his origin from Edinburgh, in connection with his self-assured vigor make him a classless hero, who therefore moves as safely in the highest social class as if he were born into it. His paradoxical elegance makes him a carefree, aggressive hero who combines the patriotism of a traditional gentleman with the international macho of the 1960s.

The writer Ashton Trice also places Connery's agent in the group of a Byron’s hero (cf.110). He cites his calculated self-control as a sign of this, combined with his agressive tendencies that are directed at Bond against the enemies of the state. He combines cruelty with laconic, dry humor and self-assured serenity. In this way, Bond became a modern folk hero through Connery, who through his style, his image and his pronounced addiction to pleasure represented a projection surface for every male viewer.

In the following I would like to refer in particular to the representation of masculinity in Diamonds Are Forever. Trends of effemination can be observed with the top villain Blofeld. In order to achieve the male-connoted goal of world domination, he collects diamonds, which can be found not only on the satellite specially designed to implement his claims to rule, but also on the collars of his white cats. The cats are already associated with femininity in the opening credits. There cats change into women and women into cats. In Whytes Villa, Bond has to fight against cat women and he seems to recognize the "right" Blofeld by the right cat. The question of a real, clear and stable identity remains negotiable in Diamonds Are Forever. This is already evident in the input frequency when Bond is confronted with different Blofeld clones. Later in the film, Blofeld has to flee the casino and wants to get to an oil platform from which he controls his satellite to take over the world. At this moment Blofeld takes up a new means of masquerade: in drag he flees with his cat. However, it is precisely his cat which will doom him. He is recognized, persecuted and finally defeated.

2.2. The Byron's Hero

In Timothy Dalton's agent, Spicer again sees the Byron elements in the foreground (cf.40). He embodies a somber masculinity, which is accompanied by ambiguous morality and self-criticism. More than any other actor, he embodies Bond as a loner who places his personal goals above the common good and expresses his superiority through arrogance and cynical humor. His attitude fills him with pride, which is why the threatening or executed termination by M cannot harm him.

2.3. The Styled Gentleman

Pierce Brosnan's spy particularly demonstrates male physicality, which was reborn in the 1990s. His brand claim adapts to the postmodern consumer society. He best embodies the so-called "Armanilook", which gives his slim shape a refined and unobtrusive Englishness (Bilkau 112). Brosnan can be seen as a supple athlete who, even in hectic situations, thanks to his ultra-modern equipment, always looks stylish as if he had come from a fashion advertisement. Because he is presented in his entire presentation as very smooth, in contrast to the other actors, who characterized by a rough nature, phallic symbols are placed at the side of this bond in order to express his masculinity even more clearly: following the trend of the modern age, the agent initially shoots with his well-known Walther PPK, while later prefers mostly using a machine gun. But due to the development of Brosnan within the film series, this addition can be weakened again in his later films.

2.4. The Rebellious Protector

Daniel Craig also presents masculine appearance of James Bond. As Ashton Trice already believed to be observing, the upper body of the new bond actor plays an important role (cf.115). Daniel Craig's chest size represents a significant increase compared to the previous actors. This tendency was not followed continuously, but only gained in importance with this bond. Even Sean Connery, who appeared on the scene as a bodybuilder at the time, seems rather narrow against Craig.

Craigs Agent has two sides: On the one hand, he embodies the lovable young man, who is characterized by his direct manner, his charm and open humor. This makes him irresistible to women. His other side is the rebel. A macho who always wants to have the upper hand in power games and who provokes his counterpart through self-confidence that makes him almost unassailable. Furthermore, he is characterized by the absolute suppression of emotions and simultaneous embodiment of the protector. With the protective armor mentioned, Craigs Bond has maneuvered into a loneliness that also creates an absolute urge for control.

3. Conclusion

The James Bond phenomenon belongs to the commonplace of western popular culture. The following three performers, including Pierce Brosnan, are assigned by Spicer to the contemporary type (cf.52). Here they fall into the subgroup of heroic masculinity. Spicer assumes that Roger Moore polished the agent out into an old-fashioned and experienced hero, who is particularly characterized by mocking carelessness and humor on the edge of self-parody (cf.53). He can also be classified into the traditional masculinity type, which experienced a renaissance in the 1970s due to the lack of a uniform range of identification.

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Excerpt out of 7 pages

Details

Title
The Construction of Masculinity in the Media. The Character James Bond
College
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Grade
2,3
Author
Year
2014
Pages
7
Catalog Number
V513057
ISBN (eBook)
9783346108760
Language
English
Keywords
construction, masculinity, media, character, james, bond
Quote paper
Alina M. (Author), 2014, The Construction of Masculinity in the Media. The Character James Bond, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/513057

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