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How Portrayal of Women Has Changed in the Bond Girls

For decades, the way female characters are portrayed in James Bond movies has been debated. Neuendorf et al. conducted a content study of early Bond films and found that female characters were typically portrayed as sexual objects and obedient to Bond’s wishes. However, as the show continued, the female characters became more strong and autonomous. The authors argue that “as time passed, female protagonists in films became increasingly smart, resourceful, and on par with male protagonists” (Neuendorf, Gore, and Janstova 2010, 750).

According to Sabine Planka, even the Bond movie’ opening title sequences show how women have changed over the years. Planka points out that early scenes showed seductive dancing shadows of women. Still, later films included women in various roles, including action sequences and as members of Bond’s team. Planka argues that “Bond’s female sidekicks have gotten more multifaceted over the years, appearing in a wider range of narrative and establishing roles” (Planka 2015, 141).

Honey Ryder, portrayed by Ursula Andress, was 007’s romantic interest in the first film in the 007 series, Dr. No, earning her the title of “Original Bond Girl.” When she initially appears on screen, she is blonde, tanned, wearing a white bikini, and humming an intimate song. Honey is portrayed throughout the film as a helpless victim and Dr. No’s bargaining chip against Bond. Despite her repeated insistence that she did not require a man to save her, Honey was saved from drowning by James Bond after being captured by Dr. No and tethered to a rock. They got away in a boat until they were stranded at sea, where they got intimate. According to Planka, this representation of women perpetuates harmful prejudices. The emphasis on the female body as a sexual object reinforces the view that women’s value is based on their attractiveness to men (Planka 2015, 144).

The stereotype of Bond girls evolved dramatically in the 1990s and 2000s. Bond females are presented less as distressed damsels and more as combat allies for James Bond. Izabella Scorupco’s Natalya Simonova rescued James Bond in GoldenEye by destroying the villain’s satellite and taking over an enemy chopper (Funnell 2020, 4).

At the same time, there was a movement toward more progressive views of women’s roles and ideals of female beauty. Women’s beauty standards underwent the most dramatic shift of the 21st century. The desired standards of attractiveness for women in the early 2000s called for a physique that was firm, chesty, or, candidly, thin (Van Edwards 2016, 6). During this period, society laid the groundwork for the ideal body type we are now working to disprove. More than ever, the boundary between equality and objectification was blurred, illustrating the pernicious effects of an idealized body image.

According to the research of Neuendorf et al., modern Bond Girls are depicted as more robust, smarter, and more capable than in previous films, and their identities are not limited to their sexuality. Vesper Lynd, James Bond’s love interest in Casino Royale, is also a booming financial analyst (Neuendorf, Gore, and Janstova 2010, 756). Vesper Lynd played Bond’s love fascination in Daniel Craig’s 2006 debut as the spy, Casino Royale. In the end, Lynd betrayed Bond and drowned during the final battle in Venice, as has happened in virtually every spite of this. Lynd was considered one of the most independent Bond ladies ever because she advocated for the character always to wear her outfits. Unlike in every previous Bond film, Casino Royale has no moments in which Lynd, the presumed “Bond girl” for this picture, appears in a revealing dress to lure Bond into making her his love interest (Funnell 2020, 6).

In this day of equal representation of races and genders, where stereotypes of both sexes are being challenged, Bond girls are now given the respect they deserve. What it entails to be a Bond girl was reimagined in “No Time to Die” by Ana de Arma’s Paloma, Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, and Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann, a returning character from Spectre. Ana de Armas said, “I feel this movie is ‘Bond women, not as much ‘Bond girls,'” in a CNN interview on the film. They are all extremely competent and powerful in their unique ways (Funnell 2020, 3). Lynch told Harper’s Bazaar UK, “I am incredibly fortunate that I get to confront those myths.”Toxic masculinity is fading because women speak up about sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct as soon as they occur.

However, experts agree that Bond movies still have a problem with stereotypical images of women. According to Neuendorf et al., even in more contemporary films, women are frequently shown as sexual objects, and their worth is often defined in connection to Bond (Neuendorf, Gore, and Janstova 2010 757). While Planka applauds the representation of different female characters, she expresses concern over the continued sexualization of female bodies in the opening credits (Planka 2015, 145).


In conclusion, while there has been progressing in portraying women in Bond films to incorporate greater autonomy and diversified characters, there is still space for development. Planka notes that while the Bond series could positively portray women, it could also promote detrimental gender stereotypes. Future Bond movies should continue to work toward more positive portrayals of women while avoiding detrimental stereotypes and tropes.


Funnell, Colin. 2020. “The People Problem.” New Electronics 53 (13): 24–25.–0.

Neuendorf, Kimberly A, Thomas D Gore, Amy Dalessandro, Patricia Janstova, and Sharon Snyder-Suhy. 2010. “Shaken and stirred: A content analysis of women’s portrayals in James Bond films”; Sex roles 62 (11):747–761.

Planka, Sabine. 2015.”; Female Bodies in the James Bond Title Sequences." In For his eyes only, edited by Lisa Funnell, 139–147. New York: Columbia University Press.

Van Edwards, Vanessa. 2016. “Beauty Standards: See How Body Types Change Through…” Science of People. May 10, 2016.


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