Seduce and Destroy: Classic Hollywood Ending

I grew up with James Bond. I mean in the metaphorical sense, obviously. I have seen more James Bond movies than you might guess. Most of them, in fact. My grandmother was nuts about Hollywood films and she passed that down to my mom and her siblings. They’re even named for Hollywood celebs—Deborah Kerr, Clint Eastwood, Lon Cheney. I forget them all—there were seven kids. I have a cousin named Jonathan Wayne. I’m not even kidding. The only reason he’s not named simply John Wayne is because my mom didn’t share the celebrity naming convention fascination and convinced my uncle to use Jonathan. Thank god. If she had been a Hollywood name-dropper, I’d be Pussy Galore. My mom loves the Sean Connery era Bond. The Pussy Galore article on Wikipedia helpfully points out that the character’s name is a double entendre for female genitalia. It’s good I have the internet to tell me these things. Was that a dodged bullet or a missed opportunity? 

So, as I was saying, I grew up with 007. This makes an objective evaluation of films and pop culture icons I was immersed in from childhood difficult. It took many years for me to see anything wrong with James Bond. I re-watched the 1964 film Goldfinger recently (which I had not seen for decades) and the gleeful nostalgia I experienced hearing that Shirley Bassey song and seeing Odd Job throw his metal-rimmed hat was uncomfortably unbalanced by my horror at the pseudo-rape scene, which occurs between Bond and Galore. If you haven’t seen the film, let me explain: They’re in an isolated barn, and she is clearly saying no repeatedly while he lies on top of her, holding her down until she stops fighting him and “gives in” to having sex with him.

In the original 1959 Ian Flemming book, she’s a lesbian; the movie only hints at that by coding her as “immune” to Bond’s initial attempts at seduction. Galore’s all-female team of stunt pilots, “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus” were also supposed to be lesbians and their “immunity” is the reason why Auric Goldfinger hired them; in addition to their resistance to male persuasion, their deceptive appearance “tricks” the “normal” folks—pretty girls can’t be bad, right? Eventually the theme of Bond “conquering” the “confused” woman in order for good to triumph over evil comes through (in both the book and the movie.)  Ian Flemming was a bit of a homophobe, TBH.

I’d like to say that this trend has ended, but sadly, that is not the case. The most recent James Bond film, Daniel Craig’s Skyfall, is still glorifying straight male dominance over women and vilifying queers. I’m not going to do a full analysis here but I will direct you to two important scenes: The first one is when Bond sneaks into a woman’s room while she is showering, silently takes off his clothes, gets in with her uninvited, and begins to seduce her. The second is when he’s held hostage by the film’s villain. The villain begins rubbing Bond’s thigh and making overt sexual advances on him, which Bond doesn’t respond to. Later Bond kills the sh!t out of that evil homo. Classic Hollywood ending.

In summation, the irony of reading a queer woman’s daily ramblings which could have alternately been titled “Pussy’s Blog” has not gone by unnoticed, and if you’re confused about what is “supposed” to happen to gays, just go watch some classic movies. They’re either “cured” or killed. The end.