Earlier this week I heard that the next James Bond movie would have a female Bond. There’s a part of me that’s fine with that and a part of me that’s not.
Earlier this year Men in Black was back in the cinemas with an inter-galactic crime fighting duo that was composed of a man and a woman. I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment on the success or otherwise of this decision, but the movie makers clearly took issue with there being two men fighting off the aliens.
And it got me thinking: is that really such a bad thing?
Is it really a problem that Superman is a man? That Batman is a man? That the Blues Brothers are, well, brothers (on a mission from God). Is it really sexism for these fictional men to exist in their noble crime fighting roles?
There is Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew and The Famous Five and Scooby Doo Crew (groups containing males and females) who are adequately rising to the task. It’s not as though there are no female fictional characters out there who are ‘saving the day’.
It also got me thinking: is it really gender equality to steal a well-known fictional role from a male? Is that really what women need to do, should they wish to be deemed on an equal rung?
And, I also wonder, is it really sending the right message to males?
I started thinking what messages I would want sent to my son, should I have one. Then I realised…
Last week, in Indonesia, I met two of my sponsor children. One is male and the other is female. I bussed and flew (then bussed again), them from their villages in order to meet them. It was a privilege to be able to show them things they’ve never seen before and experience activities they never could in their poverty stricken villages.
When they saw new things they could start dreaming. Because when you start dreaming, you can form aspirations for the future.
That’s what I want for both my sponsor children. I want them to know they can have a future beyond what they see now. I want to take away the barriers from their dreams. I want to expose them to more options. But you’ve got to be able to see something to know that it’s an option.
Currently in society there appears to be a strong anti-male sentiment.
Right at the start of The Bible when God’s just wrapping up creating, it says this:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them …God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
There is nothing inherently bad about masculinity. The Bible doesn’t say that masculinity is the root of all evil. And yet I feel there’s a current trend in society to think that way. This, of course, is a backlash against those who think that the root of all evil is femininity, or if anything goes wrong, it must be a woman’s fault.
This is just as wrong according to The Bible.
Both genders are created by God and in his likeness. Both genders are blessed. And both genders are deemed ‘very good’. There’s no evil present when masculinity is made.
If the next time the movie makers decide to put together a Nancy Drew movie, would you have a problem if they made Nancy a guy?
I would. I grew up reading those books. I would be enraged – ‘How dare you rob my gender of a fictional character who has a brain and saves the day!’
Sure, she was irritatingly always correct, unrealistically over-skilled for a teenager and had a ridiculously good looking footballer boyfriend… but that’s beside the point.
James Bond has also had his sexist moments and so I’m not necessarily painting him as the greatest role model either for young males. But I want all my ‘sons’ to know that they can aspire to noble deeds. They can be a male duo fighting the ‘bad dude’ and that there’s nothing inherently wrong or sexist about that.
I worry that we might be sending the wrong message to males: that we don’t want them to rise up and fight evil. That we don’t want them to step in and save the day. That we think it’s sexist if he does that and that if he happens to ‘rescue’ a woman along the way, then he should feel as though he is robbing her of her independence.
I don’t think that’s necessarily so.
Imagine the opposite: a male in a situation where he can help someone (regardless of gender) and he doesn’t. We’d rightfully call him a heartless coward.
We need to show our boys how to aspire to noble deeds, because then they can become the kind of men that women want to be around.
Yours in aspiring,