Let’s get something straight: I think Idris Elba would make an awesome James Bond, I loved Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I am not opposed to the premise of female Ghostbusters. I am not some alt-right reactionary who feels the need to take up intellectual arms in defense of white, heterosexual men. However, it has become abundantly clear that story telling is being sacrificed in the pursuit of political correctness and that the push to rewrite iconic characters and franchises to better reflect sexual and racial diversity has nothing to do with what fans want or what is best for those stories. This is a push for social justice; a push to change the very characters so many love as a way to punish the ‘white patriarchy.’
The latest news in the organized effort to hijack every franchise which men love and wrap them in rainbow-flowered packaging is two-fold. First, somewhere in the nether regions of the internet (where all the worst ideas are born), some fan of Gillian Anderson’s decided that the X-Files star should be the next James Bond — or Jane Bond, I guess. Of course, feminists and the left swooned over the idea; why not take a character that exudes masculinity — who is a symbol of masculinity and gentlemanly swagger — and make him a woman? And now Anderson has decided this is great idea and opted to throw her hat into the ring for the role.
It is a fact that Gillian Anderson is a talented actress, possessing skills far beyond anything that her most famous role as Dana Scully allowed her to display. If you want to see Anderson really shine, check out The Fall on Netflix. She has proven she can play a tough, independent lead that is both feminine and commanding. But she’s not James Bond. Hollywood keeps insisting that small-framed women can go toe-to-toe with 6’4″ 300 lbs men in fist fights and it’s getting so unbelievable that the suspension of disbelief is broken. For this reason alone, the character of James Bond is not well served by a gender swap.
That doesn’t mean film execs won’t decide to make James Bond a woman, though. The very purposely public selection process of the next Bond has been anything but traditional. It seems as though the studio is headed toward at least a racial change for the character, with big name actors like Idris Elba being named. I think Elba would make an excellent Bond and there is nothing too major about the established character that prevents him from being played by a black man. However, the notion still doesn’t sit right; primarily because it feels too much like pandering and less like a serious choice based on what’s best for the franchise. If they had just quietly chosen Elba and gone about making the movie, I would probably be excited about it. But the publicity of the whole thing makes it feel disingenuous.
The same thing holds true of the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot. I would not have opposed having a couple female leads in the movie, but an entire team of women is such a transparent farce. This has nothing to do with reviving the franchise or telling a good story; it’s a shameless ploy to push political correctness while selling merchandise.
The other news of the day regarding the war on masculine characters concerns our dear Captain America. Fresh off of his highest grossing film, Captain America: Civil War, America’s most patriotic man is the subject of much online hostility. There is a growing push online to make Captain America gay. Today on Twitter the hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend is trending. That’s right, social justice warriors and their accomplices want to take a character that is basically George Washington incarnate embodied in a 1940’s traditional American motif and make him kiss other men on screen.
The Captain America ruckus comes after a Vanity Fair writer bemoaned Cap’s “heterosexual virility” (I refuse to link to the article, traffic of any kind only encourages these people). For those who aren’t aware, all three Captain America movies revolve in some way around his friendship with Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier. But a story of two best friends whose friendships withstands (even after one of them has been brainwashed by a Nazi-like organization and used as an instrument of international terrorism) isn’t enough for people anymore. Apparently, many actually began to believe that Captain Rogers and Bucky Barnes were special friends. Never mind Cap’s well established story arc of being in love with Agent Peggy Carter, nor the long foreshadowed relationship between Rogers and Carter’s niece, Sharon Carter or Agent 13. Never mind the character’s overtly flirtatious relationship with Black Widow. These people want writers and execs to basically throw all that out the window and turn Captain America gay in the pursuit of some perceived service to equality.
Captain America and James Bond — two of the last popular, longstanding franchises with bold, masculine, handsome, chivalrous male leads. Heaven forbid we have any strong male characters who woo women, fight bad guys, and portray traditional male attitudes. The social justice community cannot tolerate it any more than the left can tolerate a popular character like Captain America daring to question government authority. The very popularity of these characters is troubling them; there just aren’t enough trigger warnings in the world for such iconic franchises. So they seek to pressure others to change them.
At least Mad Max: Fury Road was able to leave the main character’s masculinity intact while pairing him with a bad ass female lead, Furiosa. Similarly, Star Wars has brought new characters to the screen, allowing them to diversify. If the characters feel genuine, I don’t mind, but when they feel like a ploy it’s different.
Here is a bold idea for the minorities, the feminists, and the LBGT groups who are upset about what they perceive to be an under-representation in pop-culture: create your own characters. Stop trying to wrestle characters away from their fandom and radically change them. If Captain America bothers you, create a super hero that exudes the values you would want to see. If you want a story about female secret agent, then go ahead and write one; but leave James Bond out of it.