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5 Things I Learned About Women From The James Bond Books

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Click to viewDid you know that James Bond has the power to turn lesbians straight? And that lesbians were only gay in the first place because they have the right to vote? We always knew the Bond movies were trashy exploitation fests, but it turns out they're Gloria Steinem sit-ins compared to Ian Fleming's original books. The books are a treasure trove of wisdom about female sexuality, explaining why women should only sleep around at the office, and why "No" means "Take me now." What important lessons did those politically correct movies leave out? Here's our list. Lesbians just haven't met the right man Good news, Lesbians! There is a cure for your condition, and his name is Bond, James Bond. Your sister in sapphism, the infamous criminal Pussy Galore, was recruited for the other team in Goldfinger (1955) - oh and by the way, it's Lesbian with a capital L, because Fleming seemed to think Lesbian was both a nationality and something that could be fixed. "I was told you only like women," Bond mentions tactfully while in flagrante with Pussy. Ah, but that's only because she'd been raped by her uncle as a child, so her preference for the fairer sex is really only because she's "never met a man before." Take a number, ladies - Dr. Bond is ready to cure you. What? You mean you don't want to be cured of your gayness? Well, that's okay - Pussy's paramour Tilly Masterson also chooses the Lesbian lifestyle over the Bond cure. Of course, she dies as a direct consequence - she's killed by the hat-throwing manservant Oddjob after choosing to seek out Pussy rather than accept Bond's rescue - but don't let that deter you.


Voting makes you gay While we're on the topic of those pesky gay people, did you know that the suffrage movement can be blamed for the invention of homosexuality? It's true! Bond rationalizes Tilly's rejection of his irresistible manly man-ness by blaming her mixed-up hormones - "a direct consequence of giving votes to women and 'sex equality'." Feminine qualities, you see, were unable to survive emancipation, and were transferred to the males, resulting in "pansies of both sexes… a herd of unhappy, sexual misfits - barren and full of frustrations." If the political explanation doesn't float your boat, you can always blame rape. Many of the Bond girls' sexual frigidity gets chalked up to gang rape (Tiffany Case), date rape (Honeychile Rider), and that old standby, semi-rape (Vivienne Michel, Kissy Suzuki, Solitaire) - all fixed, naturally, by James Bond. But in Fleming's world, sometimes rape just makes you objectify women yourself - take Pussy Galore, who had women "in bunches – like grapes," all because she "couldn't run as fast as" her uncle.


Women shouldn't sleep around - except in the workplace Modern girls think they can have it all - a career and a love life. Bond sets us straight in Moonraker (1955):

And it was true that an appointment in the Secret Service was a form of peonage. If you were a woman there wasn't much of you left for other relationships… An affair outside the Service automatically made you a 'security risk' and in the last analysis you had a choice of resignation from the Service and a normal life, or of perpetual concubinage to your King and Country.

Male agents, of course, have no such concerns, and are free to have "fragmentary affairs" with double agents and syndicate criminals, with hardly a thought to state secrets. So next time your boss gets wandering hands, ladies, just remember - it's safer to keep it within the company anyway. Suddenly, Mad Men makes perfect sense. Proper women have pun names The best part of being a Bond girl isn't the glamorous adventures or the obligatory roll in the hay - it's the excuse to have a crazy double-entendre for your name. The very first Bond girl, in 1953's Casino Royale, is the double agent Vesper Lynd - a pun on West Berlin to signify her divided loyalties. She's followed by Solitaire of Live and Let Die (1954), so named for her avoidance of men; Gala Brand (Moonraker), named after her father's boat; and Tiffany Case (Diamonds are Forever, 1956), named for the fancy compact her father gave her mother when he walked out, angered because Tiffany was not a boy. Side note: Octopussy, in the original 1966 story, was, in fact, an octopus. Other pun-names are less literal and more suggestive, like Kissy Suzuki in 1964's You Only Live Twice, and Honeychile Rider in 1958's Dr. No. But the most famous Bond girl name is Pussy Galore. Her surname is a modifying adjective, for pete's sake! For this leader of a band of lesbian thieves, Pussy Galore is the perfect name - it describes both what she is and what she gets. "No" means "Hell yes"


Since we always see the Bond girls through the eyes of our secret agent, wouldn't it be enlightening to reverse the gaze and see 007 from the point of view of the women? Think again. The Spy Who Loved Me (1962) is told in the first person by Vivienne Michel, but don't go to her looking for feminist insights. "All women love semi-rape," Vivienne notes, after a grueling day of being held hostage by a pair of thugs, repeatedly beaten, physically humiliated, and sexually assaulted, until Britain's favorite spy happens to stop by and rescue her. (That's the entire plot of the book, mind). And then, dear reader, she beds him. Because what's the best way to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault? That's right - bondage. "They love to be taken," Vivienne adds, further instructing Fleming's readership in proper bedroom behavior. "It was Bond's sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderful." If you're wondering why you don't remember this from the 1977 film of The Spy Who Loved Me, that's because the filmmakers (with Fleming's blessing) decided to scrap everything but the title. See what you missed by only watching the movies?