S1: This is the waves. This is the waves is the wave. This is the way. This is the way. This is the waves that stick.
S2: Welcome to the Waves Slate’s podcast about gender, feminism and what’s going to happen to women as the climate keeps changing. Every episode you get a new pair of women to talk about the thing we can’t get off our minds today. You got me. Rebecca Onion, a staff writer for Slate and Me.
S3: I’m Grace Lynch, senior producer at Wonder Media Network and host of the podcast As She Rises, which is a new show that tries to personalize the climate crisis through poetry, soundscapes and the stories of local activists.
S2: The problem of climate change is is so big, so this is why I think I like your podcast so much. It can be hard to wrap your arms around, and we’ve all heard a bunch of times about this idea that the changes that are coming and that have already come are going to affect poorer parts of the world in more intense ways. But there’s also an argument that I find really interesting to think about that climate change is a woman’s issue. Why am I interested in this? Well, I’m a woman and I have a climate, and I care a lot about it. I’m kidding. Of course, everybody has a climate, but I am really interested in the question of vulnerability and climate and have been for years. But I feel like since COVID, I’ve become more and more interested in it. So I remember when the lockdowns first started in March 2020 and everybody said, you know, there are a lot of think pieces about how disparate the impact was going to be. And throughout the whole pandemic, we’ve sort of come up with different ways to articulate that disparate ness and talk about it in different ways and from the observation that soon became really commonplace that you know, kids who didn’t have access to school lunch who were poor. We’re going to suffer food insecurity from, you know, the realization again and again that essential workers are more exposed, all of these things. That was something we’ve been thinking about a lot and more and more I’m starting to see starting to feel like a lot of what’s happened and COVID has fallen a lot on women and children. And so now bringing together what I have observed going on with COVID and what I’ve always worried about going on with climate, I’ve started to think a lot about women, children and climate. And how did you you become interested in anger?
S3: Well, I had always been a political junkie. I mean, for years I had been diligently following electoral politics. I started my audio journalism career at FiveThirtyEight and then later on with Wonder Media Network coverage of the 2020 election, with this show called Winning Wisconsin and really dove into it that way. And that has always been something really accessible to me. I was always interested it by it, and yet I found that climate change. I had the opposite reaction. I didn’t want to talk about it. I got anxious, I was focused. I was. I just shut down. The thing, though, as you mentioned that you’d like, you’re a woman with a climate. I too am a woman living in climate, and I grew up surrounded by nature in the Pacific Northwest, out on tidal flats, sailing. Kayaking my world was very water based, it was very nature based, and I’ve seen it change so much since just when I was a kid. And similarly to yourself in terms of viewing how the world responded to a crisis like COVID, I just saw an immense lack of empathy everywhere. And that, I think, is something that’s also really been missing from our climate conversation and part of how when I thought about entering it and trying to figure out how I would make a show about something I personally hate talking about, how I could infuse it with as much empathy as possible, ground the story in a way that would make it more accessible to maybe even people like myself. And that would deviate from the political discourse that I normally am far more comfortable with the roundtable chat shows, etc.. The Slate Political Gabfest of the world, which I listen to diligently. So that was how I try to unravel that puzzle for myself is kind of how as she rises came to be and it was all really heightened by COVID as well. And just figuring out how those voices could be different and how it could all sound different and how we could feature the voices we’re not typically hearing in this conversation, which Shankar Tandon tend to be women.
S2: Coming up, we’re going to talk through all the different ways that you could argue that climate is a woman’s issue. Like when people say that, what do they mean? And we’ll also talk about how climate changes, impacts on children play into that sort of argument to. Thanks so much for listening. I wanted to take a second and welcome all our new listeners and our old ones too. We haven’t forgotten about you. If you’re loving the show and want to hear more, subscribe to our feed. New episodes come out every Thursday morning while you’re there. Check out our other episodes, too. Like last week’s, which was about whether or not it’s possible to have a feminist wedding. Welcome back. So let’s talk about this argument, Grace, that climate can be considered to be a woman’s issue. So I have so many ideas about this and it’s so hard because you don’t want to be essentialist, but there are a bunch of arguments about physical differences and social vulnerability. So this is something that, again, I feel like I’m getting better at thinking about this since the lesson of COVID, whether the society is getting better at dealing with this. I’m not sure, but I feel like my thinking has gotten better about it. So I think of the climate as a woman’s issue argument, as maybe I sort of sorted into three different buckets. So there’s economic vulnerability. Women are poorer worldwide. We know there’s disparate health problems. So when researchers look at what happens to people after disasters and in moments of crisis, like moments of drought or food insecurity, they sort of can sort out like which which gender gets affected in different ways. And they say that women are affected differently by heat and air pollution, just like physically, especially when they’re pregnant. So pregnant people who are, you know, stressed by heat and air pollution and like the experience of being evacuated from a disaster area, creates issues for women and their babies. And then there’s a physical vulnerability issue. So if you’re this is when, you know, if you’re evacuated from a natural disaster area, women have a higher risk of sexual assault, higher rates of anxiety and depression. So all of the all these issues? So which of these issues show up in your reporting around women and climate and how have you been been thinking about it?
S3: Yeah, this was actually when I, you know, first published the show. This was one of the first questions I got where someone was kind of like, loved the first episode. Thank you so much for for highlighting these voices, but like, why are we really hearing from women? And to me, it was such a kind of an innate feeling to me because one of my one of my guests, Colette Pichon Battle, who kind of opened the series in our very first episode, she said in order to combat the climate crisis, we’re going to have to listen to those our capitalist society values the least. And that, as we are all well aware, is women of color and indigenous women even more specifically. And so that to me is like, if aren’t human civilization has gotten so out of whack with the natural world that, of course, the people who hold the answers are the people we’re not listening to. Otherwise, we would not be this out of whack. And so that to me, felt like a more natural way to enter the conversation. And I kind of backed into this fact that women are often the people on the frontlines of climate change, both in experience it and then in the activism that follows. And this isn’t, you know, just my hypothesis playing out, as you mentioned, like, these are these are just objective truths and I understand not wanting to be essentialist. And at the same time, when we think about global realities, women are more likely to be displaced by climate change. I think the U.N. estimates that’s like 80 percent of people who have been displaced by climate change are women. And that is because globally, women do tend to be poorer. They tend to be the people who are more immediately concerned about providing for children with either like food or fuel, like they are less likely to migrate for work. There’s a host of scenarios that leave women kind of just like more exposed and you highlighted a bunch of those. I think that the other thing that I wanted to highlight in in my reporting and that I think is really important is that not only are women the most affected, and I’m finding that women are by far the people who are really leading the charge in terms of trying to make things better, but that women make up a significant minority of decision makers. Women make up only 30 percent of national and global climate change. Decision making bodies when they’re 80 percent of the people being displaced is a huge discrepancy. Like we talk about having a seat at the table, women do not have a seat at the table right now. And to me, that is something that is an immediate need of being rectified.
S2: You mentioned the idea that when there’s an area where people leave to look for work, women stay. How does that make them more vulnerable, such as because you’re staying in a place that might not have resources anymore?
S3: Exactly. And or you’re staying in a place that, like is experiencing severe weather. So when something more damaging happens in that area are more devastating. Women are just in the crosshairs of that of those severe events in terms of migration, if women are the people who are staying behind in places that, to your point, are maybe more vulnerable to these severe weather events than there are in the crosshairs of those events. And they do occur, and to your point, that like in the event of those types of disasters that women are more physically vulnerable to either sexual assault or depression or abuse of some kind. There’s also the more immediate and practical effect that women may just be more physically vulnerable even in the moment. There was a tsunami that hit Sri Lanka, I believe in 2004, and it was found after the fact that men out survived women three to one in that catastrophe. And so it’s not just that women are less mobile. I think that that, like mobility actively puts them at a greater risk when severe weather events like tsunamis do occur.
S2: Yeah. And that kind of brings us back to the caregiving question in a way, because I mean, if you think about I would never want to say that my dear child drags me down, it’s not really what I mean when I talk about that, but there’s an obligation that comes with caregiving that when things get tough in a society, it seems like the caregivers get submerged a little bit. I mean, this is another thing that we’ve seen in COVID, which it’s like, you know, I don’t know if you can 100 percent say this, but it doesn’t seem like the unequal effect on women in the United States from COVID has extended necessarily to physical harm. But it when it comes to harm to their like economic power. I do think we can say at this point that the disaster of COVID has created a drag on women.
S3: Yeah. And I mean, even to the question of physical harm, like we have seen a rise in domestic abuse since COVID. So I do think that like it is within the realm of reason to say that in the face of catastrophe, that women are generally on getting the shorter end of the stick. And it’s no surprise, then, that climate change happens on a similar global scale when women are the people who are more often than not. And of course, these are large generalizations, but it it is the majority of the case that women are caregivers, that women are providers, and that women are not going to be the ones to leave the family first.
S2: Right? I mean, yeah, just even in terms of like the logistics of exactly.
S3: Yeah, now it’s like from it’s very practical. And that’s and that’s part of what makes this such a complicated issue is because we can’t possibly posit that women should just like, completely change their roles on the planet in order to, like, be more equipped to adapt to climate change. Like that’s probably not going to be the way that we completely upend society, but we do have to recognize that, you know, there’s this idea that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. And I think that where I found frustration in a need to change the conversation was that the people who are closest to the problem are not the people we hear from. We hear from a lot of people who tend to look Bill Nye esque in. And yeah, and and are, you know, coming at this from like a really removed scientific perspective. And while of course that’s all valid and important, there’s an abundance of that. And right now I feel like there’s an incredible lack of voices that are more representative of the people who are going to actually have to adapt their lives in the absolute immediate to hopefully save their homes and their communities.
S2: I feel like it is so analogous to what’s happening with COVID and again, in terms of the way that sort of the domestic impact of just a giant complicated political issue, like if there’s anything that’s more complicated than COVID, it’s climate change. Like it seems like it seems like COVID is already like overwhelmed. Our decision making capability is created so much strife broken down, so many, like parts of our culture. And honestly, it doesn’t give me very much hope that anyone’s voice gives very light can change very much at all. But maybe I’m being too negative about that. The scale of it is such a such a problem because it’s so long. But you’re also talking about, you know, the people that you are interviewing and showcasing on your podcast are already experiencing it in an everyday sense.
S3: And I will say the something that surprised me was that every single one of the people I talked to found a way to have hope. And combating the grand large magnitude of the problem was foundational to how we designed the show. And so I just want to say that there is hope to be found, and I was surprised that that was indeed the case.
S2: We’re going to take a break here, but I have a special announcement for you today. So this year unbelievably marks the 25th anniversary of Slate.com. For a limited time only. We’re offering our and. Well, Slate Plus membership at $25 off, so as a member, there is benefits like no ads on any of our podcast, unlimited reading on the slate site now hitting the paywall and member exclusive episodes and segments from us and other shows like Slow Burn, Political Gab, Fest, Anarchists and so on. For the past quarter century, Slate has been covering all the major news events, from elections to social issues to historic court decisions. And as a half a decade long employer employee, actually, I can say that being part of covering things like the 2020 election and COVID has just been so impressed by everything my colleagues do, and I just I love watching them do it and doing it, being part of it myself. Our culture shows have debated whether things are sexist in the best summer songs. Explain the latest TikTok trends, which is very useful to me personally. So if we become part of your listening routines, we ask that you support our work by joining Slate. Plus, you can sign up for Slate Plus at Slate.com. Slash the Waves Plus to keep us going for another twenty five years. And again, don’t forget we’re giving you twenty five dollars off the annual membership through Halloween, October 31st, so sign up now at Slate.com. Slash the Waves
S3: Plus. And if you want to hear more from Rebecca and myself on another topic, check out the Waves Plus segment. Is this feminist where today we’re going to be talking about bond girls and whether or not bond girls are feminist?
S2: Let’s get back to talking about climate media, your podcast and the idea of hope. OK, so I know that you said that you were sort of reluctant to put together a podcast on climate or to read climate content to participate in the debate. What good do you think it does for the climate debate to make it specific in this way to to create something that has sort of mostly women and non-binary voices in it to make it specific to to that segment of humanity, to sort of meld poetry and activism in the way that you have? I have lots of thoughts on it because in some ways it helps sharpen the argument and in other ways, I sometimes worry that the often repeated point that this big problem is going to affect the vulnerable more than other people, I used to think that that was a great point to say a lot. And now I sort of wonder if maybe that makes people who are powerful right off the whole problem because they they don’t see themselves in it.
S3: Exactly. No, that is such a valid concern and something that I grappled with a lot in making the show because I’m coming at this from a huge point of privilege. You know, I am not in any way trying to pretend that I have experienced climate change on the same level as many of the people I’m speaking to. And so figuring out the role I had to play in that was really complicated and something that we spent a lot of time working on. And I feel as if where the show has landed is the the best version for what the show could have been. But it’s really hard to figure out how to do that, and I think where I ultimately came down was that empathy is is the most important thing that we can try to infuse the climate conversation with. And to your point, earlier about making maybe taking politics out of it. In some ways, that was important for me too, because to to present these people as victims or as suffering is inaccurate. These are people who are merely who are actually very proactive, very able, very capable. They just happen to be facing a very specific set of problems. And the specific set of problems are often outside of their control, are often connected to larger global trends, but in their immediate communities, do not feel as if they are acting on behalf of global interests. They’re just trying to save the boundary waters. They’re just trying to, you know, lead a reforestation effort in Puerto Rico. These are so focused, so specific and so genuine, and these people are incredibly powerful. And so to give space for those stories and to make them that specific so that we realize that this isn’t just something that’s affecting the most vulnerable, these are affecting just unique communities that have a unique set of challenges facing them. I think ideally that kind of narrowing in and that focus allows for empathy because we’re not thinking of these people as being different than ourselves, but we are able to access and understand their perspective on their homes and how tiny that is. I found to be really relatable and actually empowering to me as a listener because I can help that effort. You know, there are people doing this work. It’s not like I alone sitting in my Brooklyn apartment need to figure out how to stop global warming. That’s a recipe for a panic attack. But but I certainly sitting alone in my Brooklyn apartment, can learn about the Gulf South for a Green New Deal action series and figure out how either a I can donate or B get involved, or c call a friend down there and ask them to, you know, it just made it so that there was something to do and to give people that ability to support these people who are leading these movements felt so worthwhile and so not fearful.
S2: Have you ever read the Octavia Butler parable series? No, I haven’t. Oh, OK, so I recommend it highly. Maybe this is one of my recommendations, but it’s a science fiction series about a woman who basically sort of happens during climate change a little bit. There is climate, a climate element to it, but it’s sort of an apocalyptic scenario. And there is a woman who ends up leading a community of people and she becomes sort of a prophet like a minister, basically. But her whole thing is there is going to be big changes that go on in life. And the only way to get through them is to have an objective and to try really hard on that objective. I mean, it should be a good one. Well, she calls it a positive obsession. You know, I was thinking about those books a lot when I was listening to your podcast just because, you know, the Octavia Butler Butler books are also very female centric, but it’s also this idea of like having a small project that hopefully is helpful to. The bigger problem, but the more than anything can keep you from going crazy.
S3: Yeah, and I really think that that is not a wise way to approach the climate crisis. And and I say that while also not wanting to pile on to this, like if you independently fly two times less a year, like there are like large systems that need to be held accountable and that need to change. But in terms of feeling as if you cannot make a difference or that there is no action that can be taken like that is luckily not true. And there are ways and people who are doing incredible work that you can support that can make a genuine difference in small communities.
S2: How did children and mothering parenting come up in your reporting? There’s a couple of mentions from women who feel a certain way about bringing kids up in their changed environment. Yeah.
S3: One of our poets for our Alaska episode, John Navajo Cocaine, she’s Inupiaq, and she is having to grapple with the fact that the Alaska she grew up in is not one she’s going to be able to really show her children. And how then does she pass on her culture if she can’t do it through experience or through, you know, visual on shared memories? And so her way of doing it is to turn to language and to make sure that her native language is preserved, and that also that she shares that with them and encapsulates those memories in her native language. And I think that that’s also why poetry was such an important part of the series was because in terms of audio mediums, we have to communicate grand ideas in a economy of words that helps us kind of expand beyond what’s literally being said. Poetry is pretty undeniably the vehicle for that, and that’s kind of the whole thesis of the show is that by going incredibly intimate and small, we can understand this grander. Event that’s taking place all around us and poetry is kind of, you know, the the metaphorical vehicle of that as well. And I know that you have been very interested and focused in how we talk about climate change with children, which, you know, I didn’t even remotely try to tackle in this show. I’m just trying to be able to myself talk about it. But you’re a mother.
S2: Yeah, that’s right, Carol.
S3: Oh, wow. Have you started having conversations about the climate and do you worry about this sort of, you know, climate depression that we hear students talk about? I would say more explicitly, but also that, you know, I as an adult most certainly have experienced and I think many people do. How are you thinking about that?
S2: I mean, I think about it all the time, unfortunately, possibly. I have not brought it up in like a descriptive way with her. You know, we do talk about sometimes we’ll talk about, Oh, you know, it’s the middle of October, and it’s still 80 degrees like my husband and I will be commenting on that to each other. And well, you know, we’ll end up talking about how that wasn’t the way that it used to be and like sort of naturally will end up, you know, talking about the way that the climate here in southeastern Ohio is changing a little bit. You know, she is lucky in that she has not, gosh, knock on wood, where am I? We have not had a natural disaster. We don’t live in a place where there is smoke, really. Again, knock on wood because I know there’s smoke, a lot of places that didn’t used to be. And so I know that the people who I can’t remember if the women in Alaska addressed this specifically, but I know that one way that people with younger kids like kids who aren’t yet in elementary school like mine have had to talk about climate has come about because they can’t go outside because of the smoke. So like my friends in California with the same age, kids have talked about some of the stuff already. And I have not had to. It’s controversial to say, but I sort of follow the school of thought that I know about it because of reading the work of David Sobel. He’s an environmental educator. His idea is that kids that learn first about the threats to nature rather than falling in love with nature don’t have a chance to develop like an ecological bond that it’s better to allow them to develop an ecological bond and that that creates environmentalists basically like that. His argument
S3: that that makes a lot of sense to me personally just from the perspective of like empathy is what actually leads to like compassionate decision making,
S2: right? That’s I mean, that’s the idea is supposed to be that your kids, if they have a lot of outdoor experiences that are like tied to the best moments of their lives, you know, like, I try to do this by, you know, like I take my kid into the woods and we hang out on a big rock and like read books and and sing and stuff. I’m trying to sort of like a teacher that the woods are fun, although sometimes she goes, I don’t want to go in the woods or whatever. But part of what kind of worries me a lot again from my seat of privilege is that more and more kids who grow up in places where there is like ecological anxiety, uncertainty, evacuation from natural disasters, fear instability. It’s like a harder prescription to fulfill in a way, especially if the adults in their lives are really anxious and uncertain about what’s going to happen. I’m not even talking about like, what’s going to happen with quote unquote climate change with the two big seas. But like, what’s going to happen with our river are like, you know, with our, you know, like the women in Alaska that you interviewed, you know, what’s going to happen with our permafrost, that parental anxiety around it? I don’t know. I just think it’s going to get a little bit harder and harder to sort of create the sort of like the magic experiences or I don’t know, it’ll just be a different set of skills, I guess, for parents and educators to to to have,
S3: you know, and and speaking as a non parent who has not had to think through how I would explain this to us, to a younger child. I do think, though, that. Making sure that nature is not something to be feared, and that’s something that Kimberly Blaser, who is our poet in our episode about the boundary waters that just launched on Indigenous Peoples Day, who is an indigenous woman herself. She really reflected on how poetry in particular helps us understand how small we are in relation to the Earth, and that that is a wonderful thing and something we should celebrate and marvel at. And I think that part of the reorientation we can help a younger generation have, and I think that that they already have just growing up with this reality is that our smallness is not something to be feared, but that the great respect we can then have for our ecological existence and for the planet that which we live in. That’s the point from which meaningful change that actually leads towards a more sustainable future is actually going to come from.
S2: Before we head out, we want to give some recommendations. All right, Grace, you go first. What are you loving right now?
S3: OK? Two very quick things one more women focused, one more climate focused. Two to make sure I hit everything today. The first is another show that I have a great pleasure of working on is called Womanica. That’s another wonder media network show, and it’s like five to 10 minute stories every single day of a woman throughout history that you may not know about, but definitely should. They’re really fun. They are, in general, really great for kids. Although I will say this month in particular is we call them calling them troublemakers, but it leans villainous, which is really great for those of you who love true crime because these are very empowering stories of female serial killers. But the each month is a different theme, and it’s just a very fun way to explore the breadth of women throughout history. So I do recommend checking it out. And then another show that was a huge influence on creating as she rises and I think really is exceptional is fall of civilizations, where a historian kind of leads you through stories of the fall of civilizations throughout history and spoiler. A lot of those collapses had to do with climate change, but these stories are told with such beauty and care and thoughtful, evocative descriptions and sound design. It’s just really exceptional, kind of unlike any other podcast out there. I really recommend specifically the episodes about the Greenland, Vikings and Easter Island.
S2: OK, well, I better recommend one book and one TV show. So the book is The Trouble with White Women by Kyla Schuller. And so this is a history book that’s, I believe out this month, and it’s all about different ways that white women in American history have profited from. Slash benefited from slash in other ways, gained an advantage from the oppression of non-white people. And it’s one of those books that’s like she synthesizes a bunch of other history in a really creative and interesting way. There’s stories about, you know, books I’ve read before about, you know, how women were actually slave holders, and you don’t actually hear about that that much. And, you know, it’s sort of stories about this, and she kind of brings everything together and sort of like an hour an argument. So that’s really good. And then the TV show that I watched a couple of weeks ago to write something about it for Slate, and I can’t stop thinking about it, which is called Midnight Mass. So this show is a horror show by Mike Flanagan, and so be careful because it’s bloody. So if you don’t like that, then maybe give it a pass. But it’s kind of a horror show about religion in a way. There’s a big religious versus atheist versus agnostic sort of subplots subtheme to it, and it’s just really beautifully done. And as I read about for Slate, there’s a one of the main characters is played by Zach Gilford, who played Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights, and I loved seeing him again and he was so good in it, so I have not watched it again. I’m trying to stop myself because I have other things to watch, but I think about it all the time, so I think that’s a pretty good recommendation. Midnight Mass.
S4: What it took to get it.
S2: So that’s our show this week. The Waves is produced by Shane ERA.
S3: Susan Matthews is our editorial director with June Thomas providing oversight and moral support.
S2: If you like the show. Be sure to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts. Please consider supporting the show by joining Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast and bonus content from shows like this one and only a dollar for the first month. To learn more, go to Slate.com. Slash the waves.
S3: Plus, I myself am a Slate Plus member. Just just throwing that out there and slate. We’d love to hear from you so you can email them at the Waves at Slate.com.
S2: The waves will be back next week. Different host, different topic.
S5: Same time and place.
S2: Thanks so much for being a Slate Plus member, since you’re a member, you get this weekly segment, is this feminist where we argue and debate whether something is feminist? This week we’re talking about bond girls. Grace, are you a big James Bond fan?
S3: I do really like a James Bond movie in general. I like any kind of secret agent Hastie esque film like the Bourne movies. I’ve seen one good jillion times front to back. But what I’m particularly interested about in this Bond girl conversation is that the latest Bond movie just came out no time to die, which I think is maybe one of their worst titles of all time. Yeah, I’m sorry, but just like from the onset was like, Oh yeah. But anyway, it’s Daniel Craig’s final Bond movie. I think he’s been a great bond. But the thing that’s really interesting is that Lashana Lynch has joined the cast as another double 007. So she’s not James Bond, but she is an equal, a total equal in terms of talent and skill. And along with her is Ana de Armas, who is playing a more stereotypical bond girl named Paloma. And now I have not seen this movie yet. And Rebecca, you have an idea yet, right? Nope. OK, so there’s no spoilers beyond that. Yeah, no, really. We literally can’t give it away. But what I have heard is that Ana de Armas is quite fabulous. And then we have this introduction of like a true equal to James Bond, kind of for the first time, who is a woman? And I think that where my question is, this is why I love your feedback on is having seen Bond movies at some point in time. Did you find the concept of a Bond girl to be insulting or anti-feminist? And do you think that like adding another portrayal of a woman in the show or in the movie? Does that effectively evolve the Bond franchise’s perspective on women?
S2: OK, I’m going to be no fun at all. You’re ready. I don’t know the secret agent stuff like it feels a little bit like the way that people get excited when there’s like female prosecutors or cops. Like, I’m like, I like just having having another secret agent who like does the will of some government like behind the scenes without democratic oversight is like not. I know women can do that too. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s no offense like, I mean, I love that kind of movie, too. Like, I believe me, I love to watch that kind of stuff. But then I don’t know. Like, I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit tired of like the glorification of it. A little bit like part of me is kind of like, Oh, God, like, who knows if this stuff is really happening in real life, but if it is, it’s probably not good. So the idea that a woman could do it too is like, not I don’t know. Like, is I? I totally agree. I don’t know. Not to be. I don’t know. I used to love the show alias that was like my yeah, like early 2000’s like spy show.
S3: But as Jennifer Garner, right?
S2: Yeah. Jennifer Garner. That was like her for. I think that was her first breakout. Kind of. And Bradley Cooper was on it, weirdly.
S3: Yeah, I I really agree in that like to me, the Bond films didn’t need just to have like another female killer in order for me to be like, Oh, at long last, we finally have the quality. So I think that I am interested to see how they do it, and I know that they are really intentional on how they did it. They brought on Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a writer, so I know that they, like really wanted to take a concerted effort to make this a more equitable portrayal of women, which we can appreciate. I think I’m honestly more interested in the Ana de Armas character, who like still is resting on the stereotypical bond girl attributes of being like undeniably sexy, wearing a provocative gown while holding the gun. And I think that
S2: she’s very hot,
S3: whatever, if that character that’s still going to follow all of these like trappings of femininity, if they’re also evolving her character to be a bit more well-rounded. I almost feel like that’s a greater success for them than to kind of portray like either you can be sexy or you can be good at your job. Like, I’m very worried that that’s where we have landed.
S2: Oh, I see what you mean. Like, we got two different examples of
S3: women, right? So congratulations, we did both of them. And it’s like, like, come on, we were so close and just show a spectrum.
S2: Well, I hate to say it, but I mean, stepping aside from the the larger geopolitical critique, I just made the whole idea of a bond girl like even in the very name you’re describing them by using his name, like the whole point is that it’s like hot women that he meets the he kind of like beds and then abandons, I don’t know, abandons like I don’t know. Like, it’s like the whole idea is that they’re one in a sequence. So very true, sir. Yeah, I’m just not sure
S3: that I could ever get there.
S2: Yeah, well, you just can’t you can’t keep, I don’t know, like the the in the cosmology of James Bond, the idea is that there is a series of woman that he meets and and has like sex with and whatever like that. That’s like the way it is. And I don’t know, like what I would want to change that. Like, Oh, he settles down or something like, I think I can just imagine thought commits. Yeah, I can just imagine how mad that would make, you know, traditionalists about it and the very fact that it would. I can imagine how mad they’d be sort of tells me that the very idea of a bond girl is like diminishing in some way. Like if people want to keep it so badly, I don’t know.
S3: I know, I think that you’re right. I think that inherently those all of those things are true. And does a bond girl usually end up dead by the end of the film? Absolutely, yeah. And and that’s wildly problematic. I think that where I see more of a grey areas that I find the idea of a femme fatale, to be sure, problematic, but also incredibly empowering. And that, like these women, yes, are often bad, I guess you could say by Bond in more recent seasons, it’s definitely seemed more consensual. But they. They are also trapping him, I think, repeatedly over and over and over again and often tricking him. And so that is a tried and true trope as well. I mean, our film noir history has shown us a million versions of women who are the downfall of great men. That is also not great, but I think that there isn’t. I think that there is I think that where I come down is, I think there is room for the Bond girl to evolve. And just because the they’re like identity is in many ways an association with the titular character doesn’t have to negate the opportunity for it to be a feminist character.
S2: Well, I hope we both see it, and then we communicate with each other later. We actually think,
S3: let’s make a pact. OK, I agree. I can’t wait.
S2: Is there something you’re dying to know if it’s feminist or not? We love to hear from you, and we’ll pronounce a verdict. Email us at The Waves at Slate.com.