Posted by: sarahsilke11 | April 10, 2013

4.11 Initial Post

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kw1UVovByw

This past weekend I watched the new 007 firm, Skyfall and loved its new action, adventure, and plot. While watching the movie though, I began to think of our women and leadership class and how “M”, the woman in charge, was a perfect media example of a woman leader in a predominantly male role. As the film goes on, the plot begins to revolve around M, as the objective of the new bad man, Silva, is to kill her. During the firm, M is being questioned by her colleagues and superiors if she is no longer capable of her position due to her emotions getting in the way, as she had hesitate for a final shot when James Bond had been in the way. The board who appoints her position suggests that she resigns, but being the powerful, capable woman M is, she rejects their idea and says that they may as well fire her. She goes on throughout the movie doing her best to find this new villain, as he continues to ruin her life and chase after her seeking revenge.

Throughout the 007 movies, M has always been the woman in charge that no one messes with; independent, capable, courageous, and confident. Seeing her in the films and always being the one to instruct 007, it never occurred to me to question her effectiveness or style as a leader due to her gender. This may have been due to the fact that 007 never questioned her leadership (except in being the unruly Bond that he is) and always treated her with respect. Or it may be because she dressed the part, lived up to the expectations for the role, and created her own gender strengths in which she brought to her position. In this film, however, the villain reveals that he is after M for how she ruined him as a previous 007 agent. He saw her as a motherly figure due to her being a female in her leadership role, where he looked up to her with the hat of a mother, rather than the hat of the head of agent operations. In class we have seen that it is easy for people to associate female leaders as motherly figures simply due to the multiple roles women do play, the various hats that they wear, as well as the nurturing aura woman tend to have. However, this villain takes her leadership stances as a woman to the next level, saying “this is what she made us”, as if M did have some hands on interference in how the villain as well as 007 were created and brought up. As seen in the trailer he explains to Bond that “she set you up knowing you were not ready and that you would likely die… Mommy was very bad,” emphasizing how he was convinced that she was the nurturing mother that ruined his life due to her leadership.

Do you think as a leader in this position that M had the power to create them and form who they are? (Especially in this kind of industry?) Do you think that a woman in this type of position is good because they are able to include emotion and care for their agents, or does this ruin the 007 hard shell image? Did you ever question M’s leadership abilities due to her gender or even think about it?

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Responses

  1. I think that when a person is in a position that could put his or her life in danger, a leader can influence who he or she becomes. I do not think the leader becomes a mother figure, but possibly a mentor. When I watched Skyfall, I got the impression that because M believed in 007, then he believed in himself. Having faith in one’s self can be reinforced by a respected mentor also havin faith in one. 007 in my mind has always been capable, but after being shot, he didn’t seem motivated. M’s faith in 007 restored that motivation. So a leader with that much faith can have the power to create a willing and motivated follower. However, it is up to the follower to question some of that faith. No leader knows another person’s physical or mental abilities better than that specific follower. So the follower must maintain enough autonomy to know when to tell the leader no, or even to accept that if the leader thinks it can be done, then it will be done.

  2. I think considering the career field that M as a leader would have a large affect on how agents would be shaped in their career. M is the one that calls the shots and orders agents to pull the trigger or not. This power over leadership enables M to mold the persona of each agent. However being a woman could have a more positive outcome because a woman is more relational and able to be more emotionally supportive. In this kind of industry support is a must and since secrecy is a top priority support systems in their area of expertise is essential. But M must also take a hard line on most things to maintain a competent image and gain respect. I never considered the fact that she was female as anything but ordinary. But thinking on it, I suppose it would be quite a feat to gain that position as a woman in this society.

  3. I watched this movie during the past semester, around the time that our class discussed how the media portrays women. Interestingly enough, I did not look at this movie through the eyes of gender portrayal. Although it is impressive that M has this kind of role in a male dominated field, we cannot forget that she was incapable of protecting herself at the end of the movie. She was a woman who was independent, driven, strong-minded and strategic. She was mentally capable of running a sector of the business and making decisions that were respected and trusted by all. But physically, M, felt short of the requirements. So at the end of the day, people watching the movie remember 007 for his leadership and his capability to take care of and protect this women who he highly respected. I think M gets overlooked. But if examined through this lense, I do think she is a very good portrayal of a woman that can effectively lead in a male dominated role. (Almost funny that this movie takes place in Europe instead of the US).

  4. I have never seen any of the James Bond movies so when I read this blog post I was a little weirded out by the fact that he calls M “mommy”. In my opinion that seems rather strange to call your boss. Why view her as a mother figure rather than a powerful woman leader? I wonder if one of the reasons he saw her as a mother figure was because it was easier for him, and other characters in the film to view M as a mother figure rather than a woman who had a great deal of power and authority. In many movies, women are not allowed to be solely a strong leader with power and success. Rather, for the character to be accepted, she typically has to appear motherly. Earlier in the semester we watched a clip from a TV show about doctors (I don’t remember which one). The african american woman was in a position of power but she appeared motherly. Rather than just be a strong, powerful leader, she was also portrayed as being viewed as a mother.

  5. This post was really interesting to read and made me think a lot about M’s role in the movie as a female leader. She is really uptight strict and pretty hardcore which shows her “manly” qualities that so many believe are necessary within a leader. Despite having seen the movie several months ago I recall a few scene in which M has an emotional encounter with James Bond, almost as a mother figure to him. This was a side he was not used to seeing and she had his well. It reminds me of the mask wearing that woman do within their roles as leaders to hide the qualities society has deemed too feminine for leaders.

  6. I never questioned “M”s leadership because she was always a great leader. She embodied her leadership position well and she did not bring emotions into her business. I don’t think “M” brought emotion into the workplace so I don’t think she was intentionally acting as a mother figure in raising her agents. I think that the agents may have seen her as a mother figure simply because she is a woman but that doesn’t mean that she actually was wearing the “mother” hat. I think that she may have encouraged authentic leadership because she was such a good leader but in no way did she bring emotions in to raise her agents, she simply encouraged them to be the best they could be.


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