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Sounds Off! The Legacy of Bond's Buxom Bimbos

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Dec 13, 2001 | 7:28am EST

The latest Hollywood buzz says Halle Berry will star as James Bond's next leading lady.

And...

Since her less-than-brilliant role in Swordfish, the first thing that flashes (no pun intended) through my mind upon mention of her name is, well, bare bosoms. I'm not alone, either.

In conducting my own scientific (!) survey (bouncing from cube to cube amongst co-workers), I asked my colleagues to tell me the first thing that came to their minds after I prompted them with two words: Halle Berry. Given the office environment, the response the actress' name elicited was universally polite: "Er, nice body." Wink, wink.

Of course, I expected as much.

Whatever talent and beauty Halle Berry possesses has largely been forgotten now that everyone's seen her topless and all eyes focused on that heretofore hidden midsection of her anatomy.

Ah, well, I suppose it's only natural she follow in the long tradition of buxom beauties and go Bond. James Bond.

I mean, all the Bond bombshells have been willing to get skimpy. While Bond movies themselves don't allow frontal nudity, it's obvious that some of the contenders were "chosen" after they had bared all, like Berry. Others, who only teased Bond on the big screen, were later presented with the opportunity to really show it (and many of them took that chance).

They may have been successful at it, but I have this funny feeling in the back of my mind that keeps nudging me to ask, "Is it all worth it?" I mean, consider this. Once a woman bares her chest to the world, she's forever known for precisely that thing--make that two things.

This does a disservice to women. For one, it keeps women "in their place," good enough for sex symbol status and nothing else. Take what Samuel L. Jackson says about Berry's nude scene in the December issue of Empire magazine, for example. "It's just that part of the cinematic experience for us as guys is to see girls naked. As sad as that is, it's true."

Who wrote the rule on that, anyway? If guys have to see girls naked to get a "cinematic experience," then they're sending a very specific message to women: it's only their bodies that really matter. The Bond girls, then, who are (once again) not naked, fall into this same category. Hey, they might not take off their clothes, but we get the idea that what's really important are a pair of bulbous mammaries.

Knock, knock. Hello? What happens when perky goes away? (Because guess what? They do). Kids, age, weight loss or gain…they can't and won't stay perfect forever.

That said, back to the "Bondies." Since 1962 with the first Bond film, Dr. No, to 1999s The World is Not Enough, it appears as though many of these femmes fetales have surrendered their reputations to the male "cinematic experience." They either reveal their pretty pectorals prior to coupling up with 007, or do so after they've joined the Bond Brothel.

Take Teri Hatcher, Denise Richards and Sophie Marceau.

Hatcher, before her role as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies, revealed her breasts in Heaven's Prisoners (1996) and The Cool Surface (1993). Then there's Denise Richards (…wait, does she speak?) who appeared topless for ménage à trois in Wild Things (1998) before starring as Mrs. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough. Sophie Marceau, who appeared opposite Richards in The World is Not Enough as Elektra King, has shown up nude in so many films that it's not surprising the 34-year-old started throwing it all off at just 17 in L'Amour Braque.

It's as if the Bond series is the Playboy magazine of film, and 007 is a cinematic good ol' Hugh Hefner. Speaking of which...

If these actresses couldn't get naked before or in their Bond films, they made the most of what they could show and then bared more of it later in Playboy photo shoots. Among them: Ursula Andress (Dr. No) in '65 and '66, Lana Wood (Diamonds are Forever) in '71 and even Jane Seymour (Live and Let Die) in '73.

But back to Berry: the newest Bond gal. (See, even the adjectives used to describe these women imply they belong to men, 007 in particular.) I happen to think she's beautiful, on the inside and the outside, yet she sells herself short by choosing to put all the focus on the outside. I mean, did you know she's actively involved in the campaign for the National Breast Cancer Coalition? Yet few will remember her for her charitable work, unless you call charity finally giving the guys a quick glimpse. What's next for her, a Playboy spread?

I started with two words when I asked my colleagues about Halle Berry. Unfortunately, maybe those two words are synonymous with Typical Bimbo.

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