Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 11–12, pp 747–761 | Cite as

Shaken and Stirred: A Content Analysis of Women’s Portrayals in James Bond Films

  • Kimberly A. NeuendorfEmail author
  • Thomas D. Gore
  • Amy Dalessandro
  • Patricie Janstova
  • Sharon Snyder-Suhy
Original Article


A quantitative content analysis of 20 James Bond films assessed portrayals of 195 female characters. Key findings include a trend of more sexual activity and greater harm to females over time, but few significant across-time differences in demographic characteristics of Bond women. Sexual activity is predicted by race, attractiveness, size of role, and aggressive behaviors. Being a target of weapons is predicted by size of role, sexual activity, and weapon use, while being harmed is predicted principally by role. End-of-film mortality is predicted by sexual activity, ethical status (good vs. bad), and attempting to kill Bond. This identification of a link between sexuality and violent behavior is noted as a contribution to the media and sex roles literatures.


Sex roles Body image Film James Bond Content analysis 



Thanks go to Zlatko Coralic, Vito Flitt, Renee Lawrence, Han Liou, and Marcy Woodard for their invaluable help in codebook construction and testing.


  1. Arp, R., & Decker, K. S. (2006). “That fatal kiss”: Bond, ethics, and the objectification of women. In J. M. Held & J. B. South (Eds.), James Bond and philosophy: Questions are forever (pp. 201–213). Chicago, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  2. Attwood, F. (2004). Pornography and objectification. Feminist Media Studies, 4, 7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baimbridge, M. (1997). Movie admissions and rental income: The case of James Bond. Applied Economics Letters, 4, 57–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, K., & Raney, A. A. (2007). Equally super?: Gender-role stereotyping of superheroes in children's animated programs. Mass Communication & Society, 10, 25–41.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1971). Social learning theory. New York: General Learning.Google Scholar
  6. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavior change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Bandura, A., & Walters, R. H. (1963). Social learning and personality development. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.Google Scholar
  9. Banerjee, M., Capozzoli, M., McSweeney, L., & Sinha, D. (1999). Beyond kappa: A review of interrater agreement measures. Canadian Journal of Statistics, 27, 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barriga, C. A., Shapiro, M. A., & Jhaveri, R. (2009). Media context, female body size and perceived realism. Sex Roles, 60, 128–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2004). Functional brain mapping during free viewing of natural scenes. Human Brain Mapping, 21, 75–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2005). Chronoarchitecture of the cerebral cortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 360, 733–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bazzini, D. G., McIntosh, W. D., Smith, S. M., Cook, S., & Harris, C. (1997). The aging woman in popular film: Underrepresented, unattractive, unfriendly, and unintelligent. Sex Roles, 36, 531–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Behm-Morawitz, E., & Mastro, D. E. (2008). Mean girls? The influence of gender portrayals in teen movies on emerging adults; gender-based attitudes and beliefs. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 85, 131–146.Google Scholar
  15. Bond is forever. (2002). Sight and Sound, 12(11), 3.Google Scholar
  16. Brabazon, T. (1999). Britain’s last line of defence: Miss Moneypenny and the desperations of filmic feminism. Women’s Studies International Forum, 22, 489–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brancato, J. (2007). Domesticating politics: The representation of wives and mothers in American reality television. Film & History, 37, 49–56.Google Scholar
  18. Brosnan, J. (1972). James Bond in the cinema. Cranbury, NJ: Tantivy.Google Scholar
  19. Brown Givens, S. M., & Monahan, J. L. (2005). Priming mammies, jezebels, and other controlling images: An examination of the influence of mediated stereotypes on perceptions of an African America woman. Media Psychology, 7, 87–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bryant, J., & Miron, D. (2006). The appeal and impact of media sex and violence. In A. N. Valdivia (Ed.), A companion to media studies (pp. 437–460). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Calvert, S. L., Kotler, J. A., Zehnder, S. M., & Shockey, E. M. (2003). Gender stereotyping in children's reports about educational and informational television programs. Media Psychology, 5, 139–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Carpenter, R. (2002). Male failure and male fantasy: British masculine mythologies of the 1950s, or Jimmy, Jim, and Bond. James Bond. The Minnesota Review, 55–57, 187–201.Google Scholar
  23. Carpenter, C., & Edison, A. (2005). Taking it off all over again: The portrayal of women in advertising over the past forty years. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  24. Cuklanz, L. M., & Moorti, S. (2006). Television’s “new” feminism: Prime-time representations of women and victimization. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 23, 302–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. d’Abo, M., & Cork, J. (2003). Bond girls are forever: The women of James Bond. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.Google Scholar
  26. d’Abo, M., & others (Producers), & Watkin, J. (Director). (2002). Bond girls are forever [Television movie]. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer & Planet Grande Pictures.Google Scholar
  27. Daily, C., & Dalton, D. R. (2000). Coverage of women at the top: The press has a long way to go. Columbia Journalism Review, 39, 58.Google Scholar
  28. Davis, D. M. (1990). Portrayals of women in prime time network television: Some demographic characteristics. Sex Roles, 23, 379–389.Google Scholar
  29. Dodds, K. (2003). Licensed to stereotype: Popular geopolitics, James Bond and the spectre of Balkanism. Geopolitics, 8(2), 125–156.Google Scholar
  30. Dodds, K. (2005). Screening geopolitics: James Bond and the early cold war films (1962–1967). Geopolitics, 10, 266–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dow, B. J., & Condit, C. M. (2005). The state of the art in feminist scholarship in communication. Journal of Communication, 55, 448–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Eco, U. (1979). The role of the reader: Explorations in the semiotics of texts. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.Google Scholar
  33. Eschholz, S., & Bufkin, J. (2001). Crime in the movies: Investigating the efficacy of measures of both sex and gender for predicting victimization and offending in film. Sociological Forum, 16, 655–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Eschholz, S., Bufkin, J., & Long, J. (2002). Symbolic reality bites: Women and racial/ethnic minorities in modern film. Sociological Spectrum, 22, 299–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fleiss, J. L. (1971). Measuring nominal scale agreement among many raters. Psychological Bulletin, 76, 378–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fouts, G., & Burggraf, K. (2000). Television situation comedies: Female weight, male negative comments, and audience reactions. Sex Roles, 42, 925–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Frey, L. R., Botan, C. H., & Kreps, G. L. (2000). Investigating communication: An introduction to research methods (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  38. Giammarco, D. (1998). Heir to the Bond legacy. Cinefantastique, 29(9), 23–25.Google Scholar
  39. Gilligan, H. (2005). James Bond will return. Not coming to a theater near you. Retrieved on September 23, 2007 from
  40. Glascock, J. (2005). Degrading content and character sex: Accounting for men and women’s differential reactions to pornography. Communication Reports, 18, 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gordon, A., Shafie, D. M., & Crigler, A. N. (2003). Is negative advertising effective for female candidates? Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 8, 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Graham-Bertolini, A. (2004). Joe Millionaire as fairy tale: A feminist critique. Feminist Media Studies, 4, 341–344.Google Scholar
  43. Hair, J. F., Jr., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  44. Haridakis, P. M. (2006). Men, women and televised violence: Predicting viewer aggression in male and female television viewers. Communication Quarterly, 54, 227–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Harper, B., & Tiggemann, M. (2008). The effect of thin ideal media images on womens self-objectification, mood, and body image. Sex Roles, 58, 649–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Harris, M. (2004a). Gender trouble in Paradise (Hotel), or a good woman is hard to find. Feminist Media Studies, 4, 356–358.Google Scholar
  47. Harris, R. J. (2004b). A cognitive psychology of mass communication. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  48. Harrison, K. (2001). Ourselves, our bodies: Thin-ideal media, self-discrepancies, and eating disorder symptomatology in adolescents. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20, 289–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Harrison, K., & Cantor, J. (1997). The relationship between media exposure and eating disorders. Journal of Communication, 47(1), 40–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Harrison, K., Taylor, L. D., & Marske, A. L. (2006). Women's and men's eating behavior following exposure to ideal-body images and text. Communication Research, 33, 507–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Haskell, M. (1987). From reverence to rape: The treatment of women in the movies (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  52. Heath, R. L., & Bryant, J. (2000). Human communication theory and research (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  53. Herrett-Skjellum, J., & Allen, M. (1996). Television programming and sex stereotyping: A meta-analysis. Communication Yearbook, 19, 157–185.Google Scholar
  54. Ibroscheva, E. (2007). Caught between East and West? Portrayals of gender in Bulgarian television advertisements. Sex Roles, 57, 409–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Jackson, S. (2006). Street girl. Feminist Media Studies, 6, 469–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Jenkins, T. (2005). James Bond’s “Pussy” and Anglo-American cold war sexuality. The Journal of American Culture, 28, 309–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kalis, P., & Neuendorf, K. A. (1989). Aggressive cue prominence and gender participation in MTV. Journalism Quarterly, 66, 148–154, 229.Google Scholar
  58. Kalodner, C. R. (1997). Media influences on male and female non-eating-disordered college students: A significant issue. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 5, 47–57.Google Scholar
  59. Keysers, C., Wicker, B., Gazzola, V., Anton, J., Fogassi, L., & Gallese, V. (2004). A touching sight: SII/PV activation during the observation and experience of touch. Neuron, 42, 335–346.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Kilbourne, J. (1995). Slim hopes: Advertising and the obsession with thinness [Video]. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.Google Scholar
  61. Kim, E., Walkosz, B. J., & Iverson, J. (2006). USA Today’s coverage of the top women golfers,1998–2001. Howard Journal of Communications, 17, 307–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Kunkel, D., Cope, K. M., Farinola, W. J. M., Biely, E., Rollin, E., & Donnerstein, E. (1999). Sex on TV: A biennial report to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.Google Scholar
  63. Ladenson, E. (2001). Lovely lesbians; or Pussy Galore. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 7, 417–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lauzen, M. M., & Dozier, D. M. (2005a). Maintaining the double standard: Portrayals of age and gender in popular films. Sex Roles, 52(7/8), 437–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Lauzen, M. M., & Dozier, D. M. (2005b). Recognition and respect revisited: Portrayals of age and gender in prime-time television. Mass Communication and Society, 8, 241–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Lin, L. I.-K. (1989). A concordance correlation coefficient to evaluate reproducibility. Biometrics, 45, 255–268.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Lindner, C. (Ed). (2003). The James Bond phenomenon: A critical reader. Manchester, UK: Manchester University.Google Scholar
  68. Linz, D., & Donnerstein, E. (1994). Sex and violence in slasher films: A reinterpretation. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 94, 243–247.Google Scholar
  69. Linz, D., Donnerstein, E., & Penrod, S. (1984). The effects of multiple exposures to filmed violence against women. Journal of Communication, 34(3), 130–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Linz, D., Donnerstein, E., & Adams, S. M. (1989). Psychological desensitization and judgments about female victims of violence. Human Communication Research, 15, 509–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Magliano, J. P., Dijkstra, K., & Zwaan, R. A. (1996). Generating predictive inferences while viewing a movie. Discourse Processes, 22, 199–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Merskin, D. (2007). Three faces of Eva: Perpetuation of the hot-Latina stereotype in Desperate Housewives. The Howard Journal of Communications, 18, 133–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Mullin, C. R., & Linz, D. (1995). Desensitization and resensitization to violence against women: Effects of exposure to sexually violent films on judgments of domestic violence films. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 449–459.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Mulvihill, J. (2001a). The golden age of Bond: Creation of a cold war popular hero (1962–1965) part II. International Journal of Instructional Media, 28, 337–353.Google Scholar
  75. Mulvihill, J. (2001b). James Bond’s cold war part I. International Journal of Instructional Media, 28, 225–236.Google Scholar
  76. Murray, S. (1988). Bond age women. Cinema Papers, 67, 32–37.Google Scholar
  77. Nassif, A., & Gunter, B. (2008). Gender representation in television advertisements in Britain and Saudi Arabia. Sex Roles, 58, 752–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Nathanson, A. I., Wilson, B. J., McGee, J., & Sebastian, M. (2002). Counteracting the effects of female stereotypes on television via active mediation. Journal of Communication, 52, 922–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Neto, F., & Santos, A. (2004). Gender role stereotyping in radio advertisements: A Portuguese and cross-national analysis. Journal of Radio Studies, 11, 131–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  81. Oliver, M. B. (1994). Contributions of sexual portrayals to viewers’ responses to graphic horror. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 38, 1–17.Google Scholar
  82. Oliver, M. B., Kalyanaraman, S., Mahood, C., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2007). Sexual and violent imagery in movie previews: Effects on viewers' perceptions and anticipated enjoyment. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 51, 596–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Pfeiffer, L., & Worral, D. (2000). The essential Bond: The authorized guide to the world of 007. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  84. Pinhas, L., Toner, B. B., Ali, A., Garfinkel, P. E., & Stuckless, N. (1999). The effects of the ideal female beauty on mood and body satisfaction. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 25, 223–226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Royo-Vela, M., Aldas-Manzano, J., Kuster, I., & Vila, N. (2008). Adaptation of marketing activities to cultural and social context: Gender role portrayals and sexism in Spanish commercials. Sex Roles, 58, 379–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rubin, S. J. (2003). The complete James Bond movie encyclopedia. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  87. Sapolsky, B. S., Molitor, F., & Luque, S. (2003). Sex and violence in slasher films: Re-examining the assumptions. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 80, 28–38.Google Scholar
  88. Seger, L. (2007). How to evaluate media images of women. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved on May 15, 2009 from
  89. Shrum, L. J. (2002). Media consumption and perceptions of social reality: Effects and underlying processes. In J. Byrant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 69–95). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  90. Signorielli, N. (2003). Prime-time violence 1993–2001: Has the picture really changed? Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 47, 36–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Silverstein, B., Perdue, L., Peterson, B., & Kelly, E. (1986). The role of the mass media in promoting a thin standard of bodily attractiveness for women. Sex Roles, 14, 519–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Smith, S. L., & Boyson, A. R. (2002). Violence in music videos: Examining the prevalence and context of physical aggression. Journal of Communication, 52, 61–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Smith, S. L., Wilson, B. J., Kunkel, D., Linz, D., Potter, W. J., Colvin, C. M., et al. (1998). Violence in television programming overall: University of California, Santa Barbara study. National television violence study (Vol. 3, pp. 5–220). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  94. Stern, S. R., & Mastro, D. E. (2004). Gender portrayals across the life span: A content analytic look at broadcast commercials. Mass Communication & Society, 7, 215–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Stern, B. B., Russell, C. A., & Russell, D. W. (2007). Hidden persuasions in soap operas: Damaged heroines and negative consumer effects. International Journal of Advertising, 26, 9–36.Google Scholar
  96. Stice, E., & Shaw, H. (1994). Adverse effects of the media-portrayed thin-ideal on women and linkages to bulimic symptomatology. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13, 288–308.Google Scholar
  97. Taliaferro, C., & LeGall, M. (2006). Bond as chivalric, comic hero. In J. M. Held & J. B. South (Eds.), James Bond and philosophy: Questions are forever (pp. 95–108). Chicago, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  98. Tan, A. S. (1985). Mass communication theories and research (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  99. Taylor, C. R., & Stern, B. B. (1997). Asian-Americans: Television advertising and the “Model Minority” stereotype. Journal of Advertising, 26, 47–61.Google Scholar
  100. Thompson, M. A., & Gray, J. J. (1995). Development and validation of a new body-image assessment scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 64, 258–269.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Thornham, S. (2007). Starting to feel like a chick. Feminist Media Studies, 7, 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Wilcox, K., & Laird, J. D. (2000). The impact of media images of super-slender women on women’s selfesteem: Identification, social comparison, and self-perception. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 278–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wilson, B. J., Kunkel, D., Linz, D., Potter, J., Donnerstein, E., Smith, S. L., et al. (1997). Violence in television programming overall. University of California, Santa Barbara study. National television violence study (Vol. 1, pp. 3–268). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  104. Wilson, B. J., Kunkel, D., Potter, W. J., Donnerstein, E., Smith, S. L., Blumenthal, E. Y., et al. (1998). Violence in television programming overall. University of California, Santa Barbara study. National television violence study (Vol. 2, pp. 3–204). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  105. Zillmann, D. (1998). Connections between sexuality and aggression (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly A. Neuendorf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas D. Gore
    • 2
  • Amy Dalessandro
    • 2
  • Patricie Janstova
    • 1
  • Sharon Snyder-Suhy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of CommunicationCleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.School of Communication StudiesKent State UniversityKentUSA

Personalised recommendations