In May of 1997, the world was introduced to Austin Powers. An obvious spoof of James Bond, the series amassed a cult following with its iconic characters and memorable lines. The titular character, Austin Powers, was a 1960s-era British spy with bad teeth. However, his most prominent trait was his sexual pursuits, often flirting with the women he encountered. The last movie of the series came out over fifteen years ago; the world has changed rapidly since then. If released today, Austin Powers may be seen as a sexual deviant, a perfect example of the type of man not to be.
But that wouldn't be true.
Was Austin Powers indulge in a promiscuous lifestyle? Of course, even the most avid fans of the series wouldn't deny that. Oftentimes, the absurdity of his whole conquest was a source of humor for the series, with phrases such as "shagadelic" or asking "Do I make you horny, baby?" Even so, that's not the entire story.
Austin Powers himself is a caring individual.
Again, no one is denying Austin Powers' sexual lifestyle. Though it is important to note, that the character is still a parody. Austin is a symbol of 1960s era sexual exploration; he's merely a product of his time. This is even commented on by Austin himself in the first film. Vanessa, the main female character of the first film, comments on how times have changed, and the era the film takes place in (the 1990s) is more cautious and less curious. Austin then defends himself by stating that sexual exploration was merely a protest to government oppression, and if the consequences were known like they are today, then more precautions would have been taken.
At this point in the movie, Vanessa had been developing feelings for Austin, who had been flirting with her the entire time. Even so, he still treated her like a lady and was completely ready to settle down with her. When she had called him out for his life choices, he even spent time catching up on the past thirty years, learning how to properly act, all just for her.
He knew there were limits.
Defending Austin Powers in the modern world is a difficult task in and of itself. As over twenty years have passed since the release of the first film, audiences are less likely to remember key details in defense of the character, and more likely to remember the sexual innuendos and promiscuity. Ironically, the key details would fare excellently in today's society. In the first film, after Austin treats Vanessa to a night on the town, the two return to the hotel room. Vanessa is clearly drunk and leaps onto Austin's bed before demanding that he kisses her. He then turns her down, mentioning that she's drunk and "it wouldn't be right".
And there it is. Even the most sex-crazed character in film history understood to consent.
However, this isn't the only scene to defend him, it's just the best case. You could take any of the three films, watch his encounters with women, and notice how he never makes any official moves unless she's on board too.
Defending Austin Powers in 2018 may be an extremely controversial position to take on, but has evidence to support itself. I would even encourage men to take some aspects of his personality and apply them. Not by asking women if you "make them horny", but rather by understanding limits, and ultimately, being a gentleman.
Then again, don't look too much into it. Austin Powers is just a great film trilogy.