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The Sexual Grammar of the Cold War: The James Bond Film Posters


Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad

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Cultural production during the Cold War largely contributed to establish and propagandise differences between capitalism and communism, reinforcing the ideological confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. The James Bond films are some of the most recognisable cinematic examples from the Cold War era that effectively construct the meaning of the war itself. This article focuses on the James Bond film posters to illustrate the ways in which the Cold War was reflected in them. My particular interest is in the portrayals of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality that, I argue, largely define the principles of capitalist ideology and the free West in the Cold War era. Through the overt hypersexualisation of women and the emphasis on male masculinity via, for example, the presence of phallic weapons, these posters create what I dub the "sexual grammar" of James Bond films but also of the Cold War itself. I demonstrate that through these sexualised images, the posters – especially those for the earlier films – become a form of political propaganda that, on the one hand, strengthens the image of the free West, yet, on the other, aptly communicates the problem of patriarchal female oppression that existed in the West during the Cold War era, thus largely contradicting the very image of the West as "free".
How to Cite: Prorokova-Konrad, T. (2022). The Sexual Grammar of the Cold War: The James Bond Film Posters. International Journal of James Bond Studies, 5(1). DOI:
Published on 01 May 2022.
Peer Reviewed


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