I don’t know what to make of the video Equals, released today for International Women’s Day. The two-minute short has Daniel Craig in a dress to publicise gender inequalities that continue to exist around the world. I understand the publicity aspect – it works. I’m writing about it. But the idea makes me uneasy. There’s an invitation here that works on a very basic level:
LOOK! (the publicity aspect) A MAN DRESSED AS A WOMAN!
From other points of view (other than the PR agency) this doesn’t seem a helpful attitude to encourage. The scripting of the text that accompanies the video, despite good intentions for a worthy cause, hardly makes up for this appeal to less enlightened urges.
Dame Judi Dench provides the voice, as if she’s narrating a children’s book with anthropomorphised animals as the characters. She is reprising her role as M, female boss to Craig’s masculine underling Bond (an anthropomorphised thug). She asks Craig if he has ever put himself into a woman’s shoes.
‘For someone with such a fondness for women,’ she says, ‘I wonder if you’ve ever considered what it means to be one?’
Which would seem to suggest that being a woman consists of having long blonde hair, putting on make-up and wearing a dress. I wonder if this is an idea that International Women’s Day was designed to promote?