First, thanks for setting this thread up Dustin.
I want to expand on this notion. A story-in the sense of narrative/plot–does not call for an ethics–or rather, it calls for it secondarily. The creator first provides her story world with an ethics, which his story then follows.
Where I disagree with you is here:
Why would a character’s (or a person’s for that matter) ethics vary from category to category? Admittedly, I come to this question as a Buddhist: I follow the Noble Eightfold Path, and, e.g., right attention is required in all situations–whether general or sexual. Individual manifestations of right attention may differ, but the ethic is constant. In my own life, this is why I tell people that as the pandemic recedes (we hope), I am not experiencing a new normal, since for almost four decades my normal has been the Eightfold Path–situations and circumstances change, but the ethic I bring to them is constant.
This was not how I was raised. I was taught that in business (for example) rules might be bent/changed, and actions permitted that in other areas would not be allowed. That was a world of “Thou Shall” and “Thou Shall Not,” with the caveat that in some cases a “Shall Not” can become a “Shall” (just war theory for example). This was a world where intrinsic natures and instincts were allowed to take over, e.g., “Well, that’s just how men are” or “That’s just the way things are.” [A much longer conversation is how such thinking emerged when Aristotle’s notion of telos was incorporated into Christian thought]
It was a world where a person possessed a general ethic, which could be modified situationally, sometimes to the point where it was contravened (though it seemed that while the general ethic was binding on all, the situational ethic was sui generis to the moment and–especially–the person).
Does this sound like something MrKiddWInt has thought and read about a lot? LOL. Aesthetics and ethics have been the two main occupations of my career as a writer and essayist.
A vulgar way to present the difference as I currently understand it would be to say that in Buddhism, the ethical imperative is to act always with compassion, i.e., manifesting compassion is the guiding ethic. In Western Abrahamic ethics–a rules-based system (with the rules set/propounded by a higher authority, sometimes of supernatural/transcendent origin)–the rules can be modified/suspended depending on circumstances. Societal rifts/friction occur when the modifications are not universally agreed upon:
Rule: marriage is between one man and one woman.
Rule: wives obey their husband.
Historically, both of these rules were justified by appeals to human nature: a human being’s telos is to reproduce, so same-sex desires and behaviors are intrinsically disordered, and should be prohibited. Does that cause suffering for queers? Sure, but ethics are ethics. Rules need to be obeyed in order for there not to be chaos.
Back to Bond: what are proper sexual ethics between men and women? Are women created/designed to be submissive to men’s desires? Is sexual aggression a natural/innate characteristic of men’s natures? If yes, then women submitting/acquiescing to Bond in a film is merely a correct narrative representation of human nature–in other words–authentic.
They inevitably fall because it is women’s nature to do so vis-à-vis a man. The inevitability is in-built.
Sorry for the raggedness of this post. But so glad to have the conversation, since I truly believe that we are witnessing in the world today (and, of course, in its art) a battle between two different conceptions of human anthropology.