The James Bond films were the vanguard of the sexual revolution. Sean Connery, the suave star of six of the first seven movies, played Bond as a devilish version of elegant Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's spectacular travelogues To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.
The sexual sophistication of the witty Bond screenplays was a huge advance from the stilted smirkiness of the Doris Day era.
But Bond's cavalier womanising, as well as the overt sexuality of the Bond girls, rubbed second-wave feminism the wrong way. One reason I got drummed out of the women's movement from the start was my embrace of the vampy, Amazonian Bond girls and of the spunky TV characters they inspired on Charlie's Angels, a show denounced by feminists as degrading to women.
But in the 1990s, both the Bond girls and Charlie's Angels returned in triumph during the Madonna-inspired, pro-sex feminist insurgency that swept the puritanical old guard into the dustbin of history.
Camille Paglia is the author of Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars, Pantheon Books
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