Bechdel Test Thread

(331 Posts)
TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 20:52:16

I thought having a thread for "I just watched this and it passed/failed and I thought..." would be good to encourage me to think of the Bechdel test when watching TV/films or reading books. I wonbe watching/reading anything on purpose for the thread, just thought I would apply it to whatever I happened to be watching or reading.

The test doesn't necessarily say that a film is feminist/antifeminist, but it is interesting.

Rules reminder:
Are there at least two women (some versions say "two women with names")
Who have a conversation
About something other than a man?

Feel free to join in smile

SkullDuggery Wed 22-Jun-11 23:58:26

Somewhat bizarrely 'street dance 3D' does in fact have the two lead females talking about dancing competitions and future careers and then the lead female and another girl talking about her becoming too tall for ballet....no mention of blokes at all...

...plenty of blokey romance in it though - just not at those moments...

floyjoy Wed 22-Jun-11 23:58:53

Sometimes Lois talks to Meg about the fact Meg looks like a man...so that's not about 'men' exactly... half a point?

SkullDuggery Wed 22-Jun-11 23:59:51

But it stood out to me as being a chat about female career and aspirations which is pretty sad in itself....

SkullDuggery Thu 23-Jun-11 00:00:43

not the chat obv - the fact that it stood out...

Valpollicella Thu 23-Jun-11 00:01:34

Floy, I was pretty convinced that it might pass the test, but this episode is proving otherwise.

And now thinking about it, this is exactly how most of them are...

Fail, Family Guy grin

floyjoy Thu 23-Jun-11 00:02:40

If they had just made Stewie a girl...

itisnotacompetitionyouknow Thu 23-Jun-11 00:04:34

Gilmore Girls!!

floyjoy Thu 23-Jun-11 00:08:06

itisnot Yes! There's loads of female characters in it.

I ought to go and watch some tv right now.

ComradeJing Thu 23-Jun-11 10:31:13

I'm stuck in a hotel room today so watched lots of rubbish tv that I don't usually watch.

Grey's anatomy passes
Private practice passes
90210 (the new one) fails

Recently read The Wise Mans fear = fail iirc.

TrilllianAstra Thu 23-Jun-11 10:48:51

I think TV shows definitely have to pass or fail on an episode-by-episode basis.

Empusa Thu 23-Jun-11 10:50:59

I'd never heard of this before, that's quite interesting. I'll be keeping that in mind for anything I watch from now on.

In terms of books, the last three I've read all pass.
Phantom of the Opera
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders
and
Little Women

TrilllianAstra Thu 23-Jun-11 10:54:58

One thing to remember is that passing doesn't mean the film is feminist (two women could have a nasty mysogynist discussion) and failing doesn't mean the film is anti -feminist (I'm thinking war films here where there are no women because there weren't any women in the trenches).

floyjoy Thu 23-Jun-11 11:48:15

Yeah. The criteria's so 'basic' that it functions well in terms of showing how many films have no women at all (not saying they all should) and, much worse, how many only use women as sex interest, etc. You have to look at the presentation of the women (CSI would pass but the women conform to a such a stereotype in terms of appearance that it's still problematic), the male gaze, etc.

The thread's highlighting how much tv I watch...as I just remember Damages with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne...

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fenouille Thu 23-Jun-11 12:55:39

I was quite surprised the episode of House I watched last night passed, I was certain it wouldn't. Cuddy discussed a missing baby with a female nurse and the mother of said baby.

TrilllianAstra Thu 23-Jun-11 18:08:37

Just watched an episode of Glee - two named girls (Rachel and Sunshine) had a conversations about vomiting and singing and how they don't like each other. So that's a pass.

DilysPrice Thu 23-Jun-11 18:18:36

Almost all ongoing TV dramas sails through the B test, because they have ensembles who are mixed sex, who then have to interact with the Patient/Witness of the Week. And I suspect there are more women controlling remote controls (if only because they're living alone) than there are women buying movie tickets in all female groups, and a mixed sex group is unlikely to go to see a "chick flick" (it's the classic cliche about girls will watch/read stories about boys but not the other way around thing).

DilysPrice Thu 23-Jun-11 18:24:33

The Shadow Line OTOH failed the B test by a country mile - huge and complex cast of men with a handful of women sprinkled lightly on top, one per scene, except for the scene where the hero's mistress advises his wife about how to handle him. I loved it but it was an epic fail from a Bechdel POV.

TrilllianAstra Thu 23-Jun-11 18:31:27

The worst fail is where you pass 1 and 2 but fail part 3.

Plenty of legitimate reasons to fail at #1 (e.g. you're on a WWII submarine). Fewer for #2.

floyjoy Thu 23-Jun-11 19:11:12

DilysPrice You're totally right about ensemble cast series and I'm sure about the remote control. I noticed the Shadow Line was very male centred which surprised me a bit cos Hugo Blick wrote Up in Town, the series of monlogues with Joanna Lumley and Sensitive Skin which was also revolved around her character. Guess cops and gangsters means men. The stylised dialogue had me giving up after a bit...

msrisotto Thu 23-Jun-11 19:26:19

Watched The Hangover 2 last weekend. It fails. Probably no surprise to anyone!

HerBeX Thu 23-Jun-11 22:17:01

Ha. DD and I watched To Catch a Thief today (it was on Film 4).

I said "surprisingly I think it passes the Bechdel test, because the mother and daughter (Grace Kelly) have a conversation about her airs and graces and finishing school"

And DD (9) said "no Mummy, they're only talking about that because of him (Cary Grant)"

grin

And I think she's right.

TrickyWoo Thu 23-Jun-11 22:21:58

Made in Dagenham... But not surprising really.

Ooh, Ashes to Ashes would pass, because Alex talked to Shaz quite a bit about Shaz' career prospects. And Alex talked to her mother and her daughter a lot in the first series.
THough I haven't watched it for Decades, wouldn't Eastenders mostly pass? It has a lot of female characters and surely they talk about the launderette/the market/each other.

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