Is there a fandom you’re a part of, but you recognize it’s problematic. This could include reading a book series from an author who’s sexist in real life or watching a movie produced by Harvey Weinstein. It’s a franchise that you love, but recognize that the franchise has it’s moments. This fandom for me has always been the James Bond movies.
Growing up, me and my mom would watch movies together. My mom loves watching action movies which is where she showed me the James Bond movies. I remember Goldeneye being my first Bond movie and seeing Pierce Brosnan bring his suave sexiness to James Bond. After watching all the Bond movies, I have decided Timothy Dalton is my favorite despite the fact he only made two Bond movies. After re-watching both of his films, I recognized many statements made by Bond in how they demean the women he’s involved with. I think it’s important when watching this problematic content, that we recognize why it’ problematic and remind ourselves where the character of James Bond comes from.
James Bond is based off of spy novels written by Ian Fleming in the 1950’s. Fleming is someone who has always looked at women as existing for his pleasure versus women being actual human beings capable of being as strong as men. Fleming also hates lesbians which can be seen through the Goldfinger novel. I haven’t read Goldfinger, but I listen to the Generation Bond podcast where host, Jeremy Stromberg, talks about how Fleming wrote the character “Pussy Galore” as a lesbian and when Bond seduces her, it states how Pussy hates men because she was molested by her father as a child. WTF. That’s so icky. I tried to read Live and Let Die, but I had to stop because of the blatant racism in the book. Chances are I won’t read any more Fleming novels because of this.
Now I know what you may be thinking, it was the 1950’s, of course everyone would have some racial and homophobic beliefs. Except I believe that’s a broad generalization. I may not have lived in the 1950’s, but I don’t believe every single person was a racist or homophobic person. My point is I don’t think we can excuse Ian Fleming’s writing because it was the 1950’s.
Despite knowing what I know about the James Bond franchise, I still enjoy watching the films. I do plan on seeing Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie being released in 2020. Part of the reason I like the Bond movies is all of the world traveling. The beautiful locations I probably will never see in my lifetime.
It’s important when consuming problematic media, to recognize what about it is problematic and why it’s not acceptable today. I’m curious to see if anyone else has this “problematic” fandom and why you still watch or read it. Let me know in the comments below.