Probably Not Equals: Guest Post by Angry Young Alex

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Equals. I didn’t really like it. Ok, so I approve of the broad message of “is there bollocks sexual equality these days, does anybody actually believe that?”. But there is nothing in this world annoys me quite as much as a point I agree with made badly, and this was a shambles, for the following reasons.

  1. It opens with M telling Bond “we’re equals, aren’t we, 007?”. You’re not. You’re his boss. If my boss opened a conversation with “we’re equals, aren’t we” I’d hold out my hand for the P45.
  2. There’s something slightly ludicrous about a man being lectured about the pay gap by someone who probably earns more than him, or being told about his increased professional chances by someone who, although not strictly in “political office” or a “company director”, is probably one of the most powerful people in the country.
  3. The majority of women do not terrify men. Judy Dench has made a living out of the most terrifying voice in British drama. Not really representative.
  4. An point about women being judged for perceived promiscuity is slightly undermined if you follow it up with a sly dig at 007’s promiscuity.
  5. It’s a bit callous telling a man he has “hardly any chance of falling victim to sexual assault” when he’s been stripped, hogtied and genitally tortured with strong implications of homoeroticismand feminisation.
  6. There’s slight distinction between considering what it might be like to be one and dressing up as one.
  7. He doesn’t even dress up as a very good one. He looks like Daniel Craig in a wig and a dress. Not even the kind of slutty designer cocktail dress a lady 007 would obviously wear.

This might seem a bit silly, but they all undermine M’s statistics.

  1. It’s pantomime. Parody is not empathy and there’s precious little dressing up as women goes on in sympathy. There’s a reason they call it travesty.
  2. It’s fairly obvious why they’ve picked Daniel Craig/James Bond for this. He’s a Man’s Man who plays a Man’s Man in such a Manfully Manful way that what Manly Man could ever fail to Man Man his Man-ness? MAN. Feminism is telling me to be her friend because it’s the manly thing to do. Straight-faced.
  3. And what if I am a bit manly already? What if I wear Doc Martens, drink beer, do press-ups, eat inedibly spicy food and refuse to understand jack shit about fashion or make-ups? If this video is to believed, any kind of solidarity with women involves me putting on a dress – giving up my innocuous masculine signifiers in favour of an equally arbitrary feminine one and, frankly, looking a fucking tit for it. At the same time as it tells me “it’s MANLY to be a MAN-feminist”, it’s also telling me I can’t be a Real Man and a feminist really.
  4. (Edit for clarity) Yeah, this short film is actually appealing to heteronormative gender binaries, while simultaneously telling sympathetic men that they can’t really be proper feminists without buying into the binaries and dressing up a bit.
  5. This is not a short film in favour of equality. While it might make points in favour of sexual equality, it’s still the uncomfortable sight of someone being belittled by their boss. This is not the voice of the women who do two thirds of the work for a tenth of the pay. This is the voice of a rich, western woman with a cut-glass accent and at least 7 licensed killers under her control. While the voiceover rightly condemns one form of inequality, one almost universally frowned upon in Britain, the use of well-known characters exploits the much more acceptable power structure of employer and employee, while simultaneously denying that any kind of inequality exists. One form of dominance being used against another. This is middle-class, liberal, white-woman’s feminism at it’s most embarrassing.

The statistics being read out should speak for themselves. I don’t need to be fobbed off with a drunk misogynistic, neo-imperialist film-character to shed my embarrassment at agreeing with wimmin’s rights. Men who do need Daniel Craig to be feminists probably won’t be particularly good at it.

  1. ace post alex.

    I should say I don’t agree with the ‘statistics’ quoted either.

    eg. men are not judged for being promiscuous- well they are but in different ways from women. men are often portrayed as ‘dirty dogs’ and their sexuality is demonised.

    also men are unlikely to be sexually assaulted- this is not true but research into sexual assaults of men is few and far between. rape of men wasnt made illegal till 1994 and men are even more reluctant to report sexual assault than women

    as for pay – it is very complex gender and pay and the way feminists portray it really simplifies the issue. eg things like class, ethnicity, location, job type, pay bracket all affect the stats.

    I could go on. I think this video was terrible.

  2. Jenny Krase says:

    I have enjoyed and RTed this video today. My brain is too tired after a day of presenting workshops and messing up my ankle but your post has given me food for thought.

    Though I don’t think I fully agree with your interpretations many of these points I am embarrassed I didn’t consider more critically. Even if my final conclusion is still that I love the short!

  3. Alex says:

    I’d probably like it a lot more if it didn’t make a tit of itself so early on. Also if it wasn’t basically a video of a guy standing there.

    But OOOOH! Spot the marginalised female voice conspicuous by her absence.

  4. […] Probably Not Equals: Guest Post by Angry Young Alex […]

  5. redpesto says:

    I couldn’t tell if Craig has hid best ‘licensed to kill’ face on, or whether he looked like an employee having to sit through a particularly annoying Human Resources workshop on a Friday afternoon.

    And no, that dress really doesn’t suit him Besides, I thought we did the ‘cross dressing as bogus means of getting in touch with a man’s “feminine side”‘ over 20 years ago.

    Thanks to Alex for covering a lot of what I might have said. In any case if ‘M’ was that much of a feminist, where’s the female ’00’ agent? Where’s her jetpack from Q’s lab?

  6. Alex says:

    To be fair, we’ve only seen two 00 agents – James Bond and that Sean Bean one in Goldeneye. 001-005 might all be lady agents, but we’d never know because, unlike 007, they’re so secretive.

    What I really want to know is: where the fuck is Moneypenny? She not get a say in this, given she probably does earn quite a bit less than 007 and I reckon with a few bruises to her head from the glass ceiling.

  7. Jenny says:

    “It’s pantomime. Parody is not empathy and there’s precious little dressing up as women goes on in sympathy. There’s a reason they call it travesty.”

    How fucking transphobic of you.

  8. Alex says:

    I was more referring to the double meaning of “travesty” – transvestism and godawfulness, and its implications for how we see the entertaining spectacle of a man dressing up as a woman.

    The reason they call it travesty is because they are dicks. Should have made that clearer.

    • I think Alex made quite an eloquent point myself Jenny. Sometimes people try and articulate very complex things about gender. In their own words. to then just say they are ‘fucking transphobic’ for trying seems unfair to me.

    • Jenny says:

      Still confused.

      • Jenny says:

        It’s just that men dressing up as women isn’t always novelty, some really feel that they are women and others who do it for comedic purposes, like The Kids In the Hall, actually make their women characters well rounded and realistic.

      • I think Jenny alex was critiquing how this video suggests Craig was dressing up as a woman to ‘understand’ what it is to be a woman, when that just does not happen in real life. Though it did on a silly documentary once- a man dressing and living ‘as a woman’ to ‘see how it feels’ which was also a travesty.

        He wasnt saying drag, transvestites, trans women are ‘a travesty’.

      • Alex says:

        No, that transwomen and transvestites are a travesty was exactly what I was saying. The roots of the word connect cross-dressing, crimes against nature and riducule. This, to me, implies that just putting on a nice frock might not quite be enough to show respect and empathy to women, XX or otherwise.

        Jenny does make a valid point that a lot of transvestism is genuine self-expression and others is skilful and empathetic. But that’s not quite relevant to our Daniel, who’s a bit closer to the Widow Twanky end of the spectrum.

  9. Alex says:

    I don’t know if ‘eloquent’ is quite the word. ‘Flippant and ass-backwards’ is a better approximation of my style.

  10. Jenny says:

    “No, that transwomen and transvestites are a travesty was exactly what I was saying. The roots of the word connect cross-dressing, crimes against nature and riducule. This, to me, implies that just putting on a nice frock might not quite be enough to show respect and empathy to women, XX or otherwise.”

    So they deserve to be ridiculed because they aren’t real women? Dude, what the helll’s the matter with you?

    • Alex says:

      No. You’ve misunderstood entirely.

      • Sometimes its difficult for people to get their heads round how a word relates to its origins. I love this linguistic stuff but you’re much more familiar with it than most alex.

        if gender identities go deep, Jenny, then just putting on a dress- to suggest ’empathy’ when you are not inclined to do that yourself as your own gender expression is probably a bit naff. That’s how I have interpreted what alex said but I could be wrong too!

  11. […] and social welfare. The EQUALS video, that Chivers posted on his Telegraph piece, featuring Daniel Craig, I think is an example of this ‘appropriation’ of victim status by women (such as Judy Dench!) […]

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