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Bonding with Bond

Finding a new mission

By Lese DuntonPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read

When I was a little girl, I was mesmerized by the great adventures of James Bond. I knew I wanted my role model. At the same time, something didn’t feel quite right.

It all began when I couldn’t take my eyes off Sean Connery on the television set in our family room. I made a decision to become Agent 004 and even wrote stories about “speshal mishons” for school homework. Good intentions, bad spelling.

While I never really understood the plot of early Bond films, I knew he had a life of adventure and could do anything he wanted. What more could you ask for? His assignments had meaning, even though I didn’t know exactly what they were. His accomplishments seemed hugely important, and his talents were much appreciated. Mostly, it was the freedom he got to enjoy.

You could clearly see he was liberated from the mundane pace of everyday life. Each moment was brimming with intrigue. A blur of excitement, sexy scenes, and great music. Plenty of relaxation in luxurious settings too.

Sean Connery in a bathing suit or tuxedo, excellent. An Aston Martin car, of course I wanted that too. I even had a toy car of the same kind, an exact replica, complete with an ejector seat and a little plastic man who got lost somewhere (my brothers may have kidnapped him. The case remains unsolved). I was determined to get a real one someday. A car, I mean. If I was going to lead the life of James, the vehicle had to come with it, right?

Before leading a meaningful life of fun and freedom, I first needed to resolve a number of issues -

Why didn’t the stories feature a female secret agent equal to his talents?

Were women not allowed to have this job for some reason?

I didn’t want to kill or be killed. Not desirable at all, and I wondered if this was truly a requirement for the position.

If killing was indeed required, or it didn’t matter because women were not allowed to apply for the top job anyway, then it seemed my choices were limited:

I could be a "Bond Girl," although attaining the role of "let me be the quick sex partner in between your important missions" did not appeal. I was particularly dismayed by the possibility of full body gold paint. This seemed unfair and totally humiliating. In any case, "the girls” appeared to be primarily used for his rushed sexual pleasure. No thanks.

The women portrayed who could be just as smart and brave as James were usually villains. I had no interest. My main desire was to be helpful and good.

Lastly, there was Miss Moneypenny. Perhaps the worst fate of all. At least the sex objects had moments of physical enjoyment, hopefully, and a hint of freedom. Poor Miss Moneypenny remained stuck in the office, waiting for James to occasionally walk in and pay attention to her. With her heart all aflutter, he would then dash away. Other than that, she jumped around obediently tending to the boss' secretarial needs, never leaving the building except to go home at night. I vowed never to end up in such a life. Even if given the title of Department Coordinator or Chief of Staff, it would still be the same job. The “s" word - secretary.

I had to come up with a solution. My life depended on it. Was there anything else out there that was similar? Yes! Maybe I could be a reporter like Clark Kent or Jimmy Olsen. They allowed Lois Lane on the team, so I had a chance.

As part secret agent, part newspaperwoman, I could have adventures and write about them, go on missions that help people, avoid situations involving guns, try not to get used as a sex object, and never end up like Ms. Moneypenny. Brilliant!

Free at last, I could go anywhere and have a reason for being. No one would be tempted to ask, "What kind of girl is she, hanging out here by herself?" Instead they would think, "Oh good. Let her stay."

I’m happy to report that the hybrid job of spy-writer has opened doors to vital information, wonderful friends and stories, and large amounts of fun. Although I don’t have an Aston Martin yet, I do have fast-moving feet in nice shoes that are comfy. Sometimes that’s all you really need.

Thankfully, producer Barbara Broccoli, daughter of the original film series producer, tells Deadline magazine we have a Bond reinvention in our future:

"We’re reinventing who he is, and that takes time."

Whatever makes sense for your own reinvention these days, it’s thrilling to have choices. No need to be a gold-painted girl, a left-at-bedside love interest, or a trapped-in-office secretary. All great adventures are possible.

While it’s true that James Bond and journalism have a vast array of missions available, it’s important to keep it positive. Remember the legacy of Special Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, who dedicated his life, “To fight the forces of evil and serve on the side of niceness.”


About the Creator

Lese Dunton

Essayist, reporter, and book author. Writes about everything.

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    Lese DuntonWritten by Lese Dunton

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