From the beginning of the James Bond movie franchise in 1962, 007 has proved to be a long-lasting cultural icon. The spy for the U.K. Secret Service has now starred in 26 movies, accruing many high-tech gadgets and charming huge amounts of women as he goes. But who is James Bond? Is he a hero? A villain? A symbol of a time gone by? Or totally irrelevant?
James Bond is a problematic figureShow moreShow less
James Bond is nothing but a symbol of sexism, imperialism and capitalist over-indulgence
James Bond was originally created during the Cold War, when British influence was heavily waning. Correspondingly, the series was a Trojan Horse for anti-Communist and pro-British Empire ideas.
There have also been several instances of overtly racist portrayals of characters in James Bond movies. For instance, the white actor Joseph Wiseman wore makeup to portray the eponymous half-Chinese character in Dr. No. In a further example of yellowface, in You Only Live Twice, James Bond disguises himself as a Japanese man. These images serve to portray broad conceptions of Asian culture, and perpetuate stereotypical ideas about the people who live there.
James Bond is a weapon of the British Empire, sent out to defeat Communists and other evil-doers. Along the way, non-white people are Othered as unimportant.
[P1] James Bond was created in reaction to the Cold War and the British Empire's waning influence.
[P2] James Bond is a symbol of imperialism and anti-Communism.