Tough new Bond girl divides fans, reignites debate

Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:51pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Another Bond film, another debate about the role of women in the long-running franchise.

In "Quantum of Solace," released in the United States on Friday, Olga Kurylenko's character Camille has been held up as a model female foil for today's 007 -- tough, independent, modern.

She shares the movie poster with James Bond, is on a dangerous mission of her own and, unlike most other leading ladies, does not end up in bed with the fictional secret agent.

Not everyone is impressed, however, with several critics calling for more sex, not less, and fan sites arguing that the majority of Bond women, Camille included, are of little consequence to the plot or popularity of the movies.

Rolling Stone magazine, in its review, called Camille "perhaps the dullest Bond girl ever."

The portrayal of Bond women has been argued over since the 22-film franchise kicked off with "Dr. No" 46 years ago, and descriptions of the characters have ranged from under-dressed fodder for a misogynist master spy to feminist icons.

When Bond producer Barbara Broccoli recently described as "progressive" some of the early female leads, who had careers and were sexual predators in their own right, Fay Weldon, a writer associated with feminism, was quoted as saying:

"These films were attempts by men to keep women in their place and to ensure they still ironed their shirts."   Continued...

<p>Olga Kurylenko in a scene from the 2008 James Bond series film "Quantum of Solace". REUTERS/Handout</p>