Feminism Friday: Bechdel Test

You may have heard of the Bechdel Test for movies. It was mentioned in the comments of my recent post on women in television series and so I thought it might be worth covering in a separate post. The thing is, this won’t be a long post because the test is extremely simple and consists of only three parts. To pass, a film must:

  1. Have at least two [named] women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

It might seem like unnecessary feminist whining to apply silly tests like this to a mainstream entertainment medium such as cinema but, as TV Tropes points out, “the Bechdel Test is not meant to give a scorecard of a work’s overall level of feminism”. A movie can have no feminist themes whatsoever and still pass with flying colours. However, the reason the test is inherently feminist is because a fundemental part of feminism is not treating people differently because of their gender. When roughly 50% of the world’s population is female, why is it that the film industry is still dominated by men? Where are all the female directors and producers, the amazing leading roles for female actors, the supporting casts of women? If we encounter such a mix of genders in our everyday lives, what does it say about movies when they still don’t represent that? Sometimes it’s all too easy to forget which century we’re living in.

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