The name is Bond. J Bond.
Since Sean Connery first appeared on the screen as James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No, James Bond has been the quintessential masculine action hero. Handsome, impeccably styled, daring, unflustered by non-stop brushes with death, a quip forever on his lips, he was the person women wanted and men envied. Generations of Bonds have been the same, although the quips died out with the surly, gloomy Daniel Craig character. Now, though, producer and franchise holder Barbara Broccoli has suggested that it’s entirely possible the next Bond will be an “it”—that is, one of those imaginary non-binary people.
Frankly, given that James Bond is an entirely fictional character, they could make him a three-headed gnome without overly destroying verisimilitude. However, the essence of Bond has always been his overt masculinity. I own all the original paperbacks, so I’ve read all the James Bond books. Daniel Craig is actually the most accurate character emotionally: A cold-blooded, cruel killer who is redeemed by the fact that he acts for queen and country to defend the world against people even more cruel than he is.
It was quite a bit of creative license when the movies made Bond increasingly charming and then endowed him with a rakish, pun-ish sense of humor. Roger Moore’s smooth charm, which Pierce Brosnan echoed, was for men more suited to cocktail parties than covert action, although they somehow managed to handle both with suitable élan.
The one constant as one actor after another took on the character was masculinity. The actors weren’t just men, they were absolutely male, dueling with men and dallying with women. It was all very satisfying for those people who had been raised in an unquestionably binary world: There are men and there are women, and while they can do many of the same things, the differences in their chromosomes affect how they look and act.
That’s why it’s disturbing to hear that a “non-binary” Bond is a possibility—even if that possibility is intended only to garner publicity by showing that the franchise is moving with the times:
Barbara Broccoli confirmed the next 007 won’t be a woman, but the character could identify as non-binary during Friday’s episode of the “Girls on Film“ podcast. Non-binary is defined as someone who doesn’t identify as being male or female, usually choosing to go by “they” or “them” pronouns.
“I do, because I don’t think that we should be making films where women are playing men,” Broccoli replied.
“I think we should be making more films about women,” she further explained. “I think Bond will be a man.”
“Non-binary, perhaps, maybe one day?” host Anna Smith asked.
“Who knows?” Broccoli replied. “I mean, I think it’s open. We just have to find the right actor.”
Right off the bat, the logic is wrong. Broccoli cannot say in one breath that “Bond will be a man” and, in the next, say that “it’s open” that Bond might be an “it.”
Image: Sean Connery interview, when men were men. YouTube screen grab.
But of course, the greater illogic is the fantasy that people are “non-binary.” Other than the minuscule population of people born intersex, with mixed up chromosomes, all human beings are either XX or XY. It’s ludicrous to pretend that there are so many “its” out there that people will actually go to a Bond movie looking to see J Bond, attired in the kind of outfit that Cooper, the Gen Z Intern, would wear, killing the cisgender heteronormative male villain with a quip about equity and diversity, then sailing off into the sunset with another “it” person.
I sincerely doubt that Broccoli has any intention of making a movie with a “non-binary” Bond. She said that simply to get attention and, clearly, it worked. The reality is that audiences do not like it when their favorite TV or movie heroes switch sexes. When the BBC made Dr. Who female, ratings tanked. The same happened with the all-female Ghostbusters reboot.
Still, the mere fact that anybody would contemplate the possibility tells us everything we need to know about how far off the rails western culture has gone. It’s a ridiculous, awful, and dangerously fantastic idea that the biological reality of purely binary sexes can be jettisoned simply because a handful of people can’t get with the program.
(And as always, I’ll say that I’m willing to admit there might be a biological reason for people who are not firmly fixed in their biological gender, such as taking The Pill in proximity to getting pregnant. In that case, though, the answer for the resulting confusion is to give the boys testosterone and the girls estrogen, rather than encouraging confused people to have mutilating surgery and take hormones that their bodies resist with cancer, heart disease, and other maladies.
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