Oh, did that pass the Bechdel Test?
While putting together a quick DVD display at the Ross-Broadway Library Branch this morning, I started thinking about the Bechdel Test. In case you have never heard of it, it's a simple test developed by a cartoonist in the eighties about women in film.
To pass the test a movie must have three things:
- Two or more named women characters.
- Two or more of these women must have a conversation with each other.
- This conversation is about something other than men.
Of course, this is not the be-all-end-all test for whether a movie is feminist or that it is not sexist, but it is a fun thing to think about. And the results can surprise you! The pictured movies are all ones that surprised me by passing the test... I have found that science fiction and horror movie genres have few titles that can claim a passing grade on the Bechdel Test.
Some titles that surprised me by failing the test include: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II; the Star Wars Trilogy; and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Really? With all those characters?
There is a bit of a backlash against the test, mostly to insist that movies that fail the test can still be good movies - and I agree that they can be. And also to opine that passing movies can still be sexist - which many are. And certainly, there is a Reverse Bechdel Test, just to make sure we are not forgetting the men.
In any case, it's a fun little game for the average film viewer like myself. The library is the perfect place to test your own film theories - check 'em out for free!
New movies at DPL that pass the test:
- Flowers in the Attic
- Vampire Academy
- 12 Years a Slave
- American Hustle
- August: Osage County
- Before Midnight
- Blue Is the Warmest Color
- The Counselor
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Despicable Me 2
- Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
- The Heat
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- In a World...
- Kick-Ass 2
- Lee Daniel's The Butler
- Machete Kills
- Only God Forgives
- Red 2
- We're the Millers
- The Wolverine