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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsjohnsimm Wed 22-Jun-11 20:55:57

I think it does need to be "named female characters", because otherwise plenty of films sneak in by, for example, having a woman checking into a hotel with a female desk clerk.

TV is generally far more likely to pass than movies, I think.

Onemorning Wed 22-Jun-11 20:56:10

It's not a film but... Nurse Jackie. Lots of interaction between female characters, only some of which is about men.

TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 20:57:30

I just read Before I Go To Sleep and it passes but only near the end. Of course there are only 3 characters for the first 3/4 of the book so it'd be difficult.

TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 20:58:17

Inception failed, I think. There are two named female characters but they don't have a conversation that I noticed (although I wasn't thinking of the test at the time).

Kung Fu Panda 2 - pass

Tigress and Snake - talking about kicking arse and saving China and actually getting in there and doing the kicking. To be fair, it is an animation.

mrsjohnsimm Wed 22-Jun-11 21:08:19

I think the two named female characters do have a conversation in Inception, but IIRC it's about Cobb.

sunshineandbooks Wed 22-Jun-11 21:11:27

I'm not a big TV watcher (maybe one or two hours a week) and can't seem to sit still long enough to watch a film. But I like crime fiction and occasionally grab an episode of CSI or something. Anyway, there was a new crime drama series starting last week on 5 called Castle. As I like whodunit's I thought I'd give it a go. Did anyone else watch it? It is possibly the worst thing I have seen in a very long time. Not only because the acting was so terrible, the plot woolly to say the least and the characters extremely one-dimensional, but the sexism in it was shock. Definitely failed the Bechdel Test. Needless to say I won't be watching it again.

TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 21:12:31

Plus there's the issue of spoilers deleted regarding those characters...

Macaroona Wed 22-Jun-11 21:14:56

Watched Enemy of the State when it was on telly the other night.

FAIL.

I do like the film, just wish it had females who weren't just plot pivots for the heroes and villains to be redeemed or damned over.

wimpybar Wed 22-Jun-11 21:16:11

september issue (which is hidden away at one in the morning) passes surely

Macaroona Wed 22-Jun-11 21:19:39

Ooh I always do films, but never thought of using it in books. I only usually read chick lit on a sunlounger though so... blush

I have just joined a reading group so will put the books to the test. Thanks for the tip!

TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 21:34:24

Chick Lit could definitely do with it.

If there are lots of female charcters then the book should pass easily, right? But do they talk about anything other than men?

TotalChaos Wed 22-Jun-11 22:04:17

I'd never thought of applying this to books either, interesting!

floyjoy Wed 22-Jun-11 22:05:08

Can immediately think of a few old movies would pass the Bechdel test - 'All About Eve' has three female characters and is about careers and ambition. 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' would sail through. 'Johnny Guitar' is pretty atypical as a western with two female leads.

TrilllianAstra Wed 22-Jun-11 22:08:20

It was actually PrinceHumperdink's idea to apply it to books smile

joaninha Wed 22-Jun-11 22:47:44

Juno - passes with flying colours and is interesting enough one of the few that fails the reverse bechdel test (applied to 2 guys talking about a girl).

Fantastic Mr Fox fails fantastically.

What drives me nutso is when they actually switch sex so as to avoid having female characters, eg. in Bee Movie all the worker bees are inaccurately male cos you know you can't have toooo many female characters cos that would just put the boys off ..... grrrrrr

joaninha Wed 22-Jun-11 22:49:25

ooooooooooh btw fab link to website on this kind of thing if anyone is interested:

http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-movies/

floyjoy Wed 22-Jun-11 23:32:12

I ought to see Juno.

9 to 5 is pretty obvious, I guess. I just remembered Steel Magnolias! I always end up watchign Dolores Claibourne when it's on tv as it has three good female roles for good actors. Agnes of God is the same - 3 good female roles, not talking about men...

mrsjohnsimm Wed 22-Jun-11 23:35:02

Castle actually passes the Bechdel test nearly every week -- Castle's mother and daughter almost always talk about something, and Beckett will generally interview at least one woman.

floyjoy Wed 22-Jun-11 23:45:10

onemorning mentioned Nurse Jackie - totally agree. I think that's the best tv show on at the moment for female characters. Even Jackie's young daughter (with anxiety issues) is a well-developed character. I think there's six regular female characters who are all important and not male appendages or 'totty'. And it's not another crime drama.

Valpollicella Wed 22-Jun-11 23:46:19

Hmm DP has just put on Family Guy

Will see if it passes the test....

floyjoy Wed 22-Jun-11 23:49:57

Oh, it must! And gets bonus points for a talking, martini-drinking dog and a matricidal highly articulate English RP-accented baby.

Valpollicella Wed 22-Jun-11 23:55:52

Not so far!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now