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Message withdrawn at poster's request.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.


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:

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!

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 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 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
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 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)"


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.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Harry Potter, too: Hermione talks to Professor McGonagle about her exams and quite a few of the female characters talk to each other about monsters/spells/house elves etc.

Valpollicella Thu 23-Jun-11 23:20:23

Good one SGB, hadn't thought about A2A but you're absolutely right

And quite a lot of Jilly Cooper's books (if not all) have the female characters talking to each other about their jobs/art/music/each other. Also, my favourite author Christopher Brookmyre passes for sure with Pandemonium - several heart-to-hearts between named female characters about faith and mythology and bullying.

HerBeX Thu 23-Jun-11 23:33:20

I think books must be better at the bechdel test, no?

Don't know why I think that, just an impression/ expectation... based on... dunno really...

DilysPrice Fri 24-Jun-11 08:31:54

Harry Potter is quite feeble at the B test given it's size and scope and number of characters, but some of that can be excused by the fact that Harry is the viewpoint character, so conversations without him in will not normally get reported.

DontCallMePeanut Fri 24-Jun-11 08:55:40

I think UP was the most spectacular fail of the Bechdel test. In fact, the only female speaking characters had about a line or two each. Never even met.

TrilllianAstra Fri 24-Jun-11 08:57:46

No guessing allowed - if you want to know if EastEnders passes then you (unfortunately) have to sit down and watch an episode and see if that particular episode passes. smile

Good point about 1st-person books, if it's written in proper 1st-person then there will be no conversations at all without the main character in them, unless they are eavesdropping.

Another high-passing series is Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins novels. Absolutely loads of female characters talking about all sorts (well mostly religion/murder/ghosts but also about their lives and their wishes).

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HerBeX Fri 24-Jun-11 17:48:43

Fantasy of bossy mother figure?

It's what some men want their wives to do isn't it... "keeps me on the straight and narrow ho ho"


ChantingAsISpeak Fri 24-Jun-11 21:06:51

I watched the new True Grit - sort of passes, there is a conversation about a room, not exactly earth shattering and as the boarding house landlady doesn't seem to have a name it probably won't count. But Mattie is a fabulous character. She holds her own, does what she wants and the Apprentice candidates could learn from her negotiations. I had seen the original but it didn't seem to have the same impact.

I watch quite a lot of Dr Who as DS adores it and so we have a lot of the DVDs. Quite a lot of episodes pass, some fail (seems to depend who is in charge of the script).

TrilllianAstra Fri 24-Jun-11 21:26:24

I want to watch In Bruges tonight, but the tv seems to be stuck on tennis. From what I know of it there are no female charcters so it'll be a surprise if it passes.

I like Dr Who. Does The Doctor count as a man? Technically he is an alien...

There is a female character in In Bruges but as far as I remember it is a big fail!

ziptoes Fri 24-Jun-11 21:32:20

Surely what we want are films/books for our kids that pass the test so we don't pass this down another generation so..

the Narnia/Dark is Rising books (and Famous Five, but I'm not sure talking about cake is any better than man when we're talking about kids books)
Pippi Longstocking
Swallows and Amazons
Can't think of ANY films

Fails: (sad as DS loves these films)
Finding Nemo
Monsters Inc - OK the chief of police is a woman monster but she only talks to guys
the Incredibles (the mum and the small black dressed woman only talk about the dad- can't remember the names) might have to move this DH has just pointed out that the mum talks to the daughter
Wallace and Gromit (poo I love these)

Damn this is depressing. My mum used to change the gender of characters in storybooks so I had some role models (before I could read obviously). Sad to think we still need to be doing that.

thisonehasalittlecar Fri 24-Jun-11 21:37:07

Bridesmaids kind of passes because they do chat about a lot of other stuff (not all of it very edifying, you may have heard about the food poisoning scene) but then again they are all only thrown together because of a wedding. I'm pretty sure it fails the reverse test though, now that I think about it you barely see the women's OHs at all.

Does it have to be a proper conversation
(thinking easyenders
"Pack o faaags luv"
"six pand forty"

would that count?

Would imagine that Disney's Cars fails too sad

What about if a woman is making a speech to a mixed audience?

ah hang on no thats about a man

well boy car

thisonehasalittlecar Fri 24-Jun-11 21:42:47

I took a couple of feminist lit classes and in both of them Desperately Seeking Susan was mentioned as being quite revolutionary in that it has two female leads who not only are not looking for a man but the whole premise of the film is that they are looking for each other.

HerBeX Fri 24-Jun-11 21:58:01

oh yes and it has all that fab madonna music grin

I remember going to see it and wearing crucifixes and everythign...

CelebratedMonkey Fri 24-Jun-11 22:12:53

I think about the Bechdel test a lot - when watching stuff but also when doing my own writing. It is so easy to fall into the trap of 'need to create an extra character' and starting from 'white male is the neutral choice'. Why on earth, as a woman, do I still make random characters male rather than female?

Anyway, Gilmore Girls as already mentioned generally passes.
Bones has a strong female cast so usually passes.
Same with Grey's Anatomy.

Female leads mean the show is much more likely to pass while having good quantities of male characters too. Get a male lead and you're more likely to get just a couple of token women.

You get the same problem (more so) in videogames too.

Men are nearly always the character placed at the centre of the show or the film or the game. They they have a circle of friends or acquaintances, and some of them may be women, but because they are on the periphery they never actually talk to each other - only through the central men. Rubbish and unrealistic.

<thinks about own work and whether it passes the test. Oh dear. Out of 3 published novels only one actually passes..... Can I be not taken outside and shot if I plead that writing erotic fiction generally means that the characters generally talk about each other>

comixminx Fri 24-Jun-11 22:18:48

Transformers fails because although it has more than one female character they are in two "streams" of plot and never talk to each other - they are adjuncts to the main, male characters.

Sin City passes, annoyingly in some ways - no one could claim it as a pro-feminist film! But the leather-clad hookers discuss how to reclaim the city from the corrupt police. Sure they're talking about corrupt policemen, but not as sex objects; I think it counts.

Hmm, yeah - is it 'talking about something other than men' if it's talking about something that involves a man or men eg The War, a plot development of some kind, or their families?

ensure Fri 24-Jun-11 22:43:53

Talking about men or a man I think means it doesn't pass, even if they are talking about the man or men in a non-love-interest manner. Like apparently 8 Women fails because the 8 women are always talking about the death of a man. I read that, I haven't actually seen the film myself!

I watched Water Lillies today. That passed, not surprisingly. The only male character barely says two words.

mrsjohnsimm Sat 25-Jun-11 00:08:07

I'm sure that at some point they talk about something else in 8 Women, but it's been ages since I watched it. Hmm.

I have always thought that things would pass the test if the women have some conversation that is not about a man simply because, unless a story has no male characters at all, there are going to be mentions of male characters by female ones and vice versa.

pickgo Sat 25-Jun-11 02:14:44

Lord of the Rings - terrible... the film even worse (2 out of 3 female characters turned into love interest functions)

BTW well impressed SGB @ 3 published books oh so casually dropped into your post!

ensure Sat 25-Jun-11 03:37:15

Sorry SGB, I meant when there is only one conversation between women in the film.

So, Sin City would fail if the women were saying "We have to get rid of Jim and Bob, those two corrupt policemen, hey I sure do dislike those fellows." / "Yes, we should push them off the bridge later."
But it would pass if the women said "Police corruption in this town is terrible and affects us badly." / "I agree, the whole system is a mess."

DilysPrice Sat 25-Jun-11 08:33:55

I don't think LOTR the film is any worse than the book - Eowyn and Arwen are pretty much defined by their romantic roles in the book just as much as in the film - the dialogue that Eowyn lost was all about how she needs to get over Aragorn and make a dynastic marriage to someone more suitable. And she still gets to kick against her restraints and save the day, which makes up for quite a bit.

Pickgo: not that impressive really, one softcover novella, one sort-of self-published (though it did come out as an ebook) and one that did actually appear in bookshops about 15 years ago...

TrilllianAstra Sat 25-Jun-11 10:17:14

Yep, In Bruges big fat fail. Two female characters but they don't talk to each other at any point. It does have a low-ish character count though.

Tolkien just doesn't get girls/women. I think he went from an all-boys school to Oxford (which had no females at the time - or if it did they were hidden away up the hill) and stayed there forever. It's probably best that he didn't try to write females.

ensure Sat 25-Jun-11 13:34:39

500 days of Summer failed, watched that last week. But I don't think it would've passed if it was applied about men either.

msrisotto Sat 25-Jun-11 17:35:39

Bridesmaids passed.

buzzsore Sat 25-Jun-11 18:16:58

I quite liked the Coen Brothers' True Grit recently. I think it struggles to pass the Bechdel test, because I'm not sure whether the hotel woman had a name or whether she was significant enough of a character to count. But Maddie was a good character.

buzzsore Sat 25-Jun-11 18:17:18

Mattie, I mean.

I like bones because despite being stunningly beautiful all the women are portrayed as highly intelligent and competent- as are a lot of the men. I am having trouble with the new Hawaii 5-0 (don't remember the original!) because I like it, and I like the bickering/ slashy relationship between the two male leads, but the only woman is very thin and young and I'm not sure how convincing she is at kicking ass! Anyone any thoughts?

mrsjohnsimm Sat 25-Jun-11 21:27:30

The actress isn't actually very young -- Grace Park is 37 which, OK, is younger than me but not "young" precisely -- but the character is supposedly 23 or so, I think. And she is a Cylon so v good at kicking ass grin. That character in the original was male, so I suppose it's progress of a sort (and the men are, let's face it, pretty easy on the eye and spend as much time as she does surfing and wandering around in swimwear (well, Alex O'Loughlin does at any rate).

[Disclaimer: am not claiming that Hawaii-5-0 is actually a feminist tract]

Crikey I can't believe she is 37! In that case I am not sure she should be playing the probie?

mrsjohnsimm Sat 25-Jun-11 23:18:41

It gets complicated, though. She doesn't look 37 by any stretch and does only look mid-to-possibly-late-20s so it's probably fair enough to cast her as being that age (I've seen online reviews that complain that she looks too young for the part as it is; if she were cast as her real age with 15 years' experience under her belt no one would believe it [interjection: because the rest of Hawaii-5-0 is just soooo realistic and believable, obviously]). I think it's better than the reverse casting situation where for example someone's mother is played by an actress only a decade or so older than him rather than by an actress of the right age.

Just watched an episode of Fringe - 3 strong female characters who talk to each other about scientific development on cases, not men. Actually, if you count the alternate universe there is 6 strong female characters. smile

TrilllianAstra Sun 26-Jun-11 10:57:59

mrsjohnsimm It is interesting, isn't it, how men often play characters who should be younger than they are (think Harrison Ford being the romantic lead well into his 50s) whereas younger women are cast even in "older" roles.

Grace Park kicks ass, but you couldn't cast her as being nearly 40 unless you wanted every new character to remark on how young she was to be that rank/position.

TrilllianAstra Sun 26-Jun-11 10:59:35

DP is watching Top Gear. Fail.

Albrecht Sun 26-Jun-11 11:43:49

Have never heard of this before but its such a great obvious idea, will definately keep it in mind in future.

(For years I have fantasised about remaking so many popular films just reversing the genders. I'd start with Ferris Bueller I reckon.)

Only film I've watched in ages is I Love You Philip Morris which fails I'm pretty sure but not that surprising as its a gay male love story.

TrilllianAstra Sun 26-Jun-11 11:52:49

Don't start with Ferris Bueller - he is a manipulative selfish twat!

Albrecht Sun 26-Jun-11 12:02:28

I know I bloody hate that film! But I think it would confound some stereotypes to have it reversed, all the best friend stuff, being a smart arse stuff, inventions etc. Women don't usually do that kind of thing in films.

steviesmith Sun 26-Jun-11 21:34:21

Watched Mamma Mia which passed and it might even have failed the reverse test. I would never have chosen to watch this but it's actually one of the most feminist mainstream films I've ever seen.

Also watched the first Shrek again which is a disappointing fail.

TrilllianAstra Sun 26-Jun-11 21:44:16

Memento fails, only one female character (and one oher in flashbacks).

Trillian: if you could find an episode of Top Gear which passed I would quite happily shag James May.
Though I think, actually, the Bechdel Test only applies to works of fiction.

HerBeX Sun 26-Jun-11 22:52:15

Surely no one would happily shag James May?

blush Well if it was him, Richard Hammond or Clarkson and you have to do one of them or be shot.... which one would it be?

DilysPrice Mon 27-Jun-11 09:08:43

<thinks furiously>


In the Top Gear episode when they tested small practical Japanese cars they got their mums in to test them because they were the target market. 3 women, named (admittedly the names given were Mrs Hammond, Mrs Clarkson and Mrs May, but those are their names), talking about cars.

I have found an episode of Top Gear that passes the Bechdel Test!
Now do I get to shag James May?

<hopeful but missing the point rather>

<departs feminism board in ignominy clutching Lifetime Ban>

MavisCruetTheFairy Mon 27-Jun-11 09:49:10

I think it's SGB who has gets to shag James May, but perhaps she'll send you a photo?

LadyPeterWimsey Mon 27-Jun-11 10:14:45

Watching the final season of 24 last night, it struck me that not only are there a few female characters, but they would never dream of talking to each other about men. It's all data-handling, and drawing concealed weapons to advance the incoherent stream of consciousness plotline. grin

TrilllianAstra Mon 27-Jun-11 11:01:58

I'd rather shag James May than Clarkson.

msrisotto Mon 27-Jun-11 17:00:25

I'd rather do Hammond (but not be seen in public with the shortie) than the other two.

TrilllianAstra Tue 28-Jun-11 08:53:10

Watched two episodes of V last night and both passed. The main alien is a woman, so that helps.

TrilllianAstra Tue 28-Jun-11 09:00:18

Only one proper-character human female, unfortunately, but the female aliens are the females of their kind, not just look-like-women-actually-alien.

HerBeX Tue 28-Jun-11 20:37:11
Albrecht Wed 29-Jun-11 09:55:22

Random episode of that Star Wars cartoon thing, Clone Wars, passed.

Although I'm still annoyed that the male warrior characters wear robes and full body armour while the females ones wear boob tubes and tiny tank tops. Why, huh, why?

TrilllianAstra Wed 29-Jun-11 11:24:05

Princess Leia mostly wore quite practical clothes for running around and shooting stuff - apart from when she was a bikini-clad slave for a giant slug of course.

this is a superb test, I like it.

I just finished watching the Shadow Line. there were four female characters - joseph's wife, glickman's girlfriend, gabriel's wife and gabriel's mistress. (it's not doing very well is it?)

the only dialogue that any of them have with eachother (so far as I can recall) is when gabriel's mistress confronted gabriel's wife to talk about .... gabriel.

It's a FAIL isn't it?

But I will admit that I enjoyed the show a lot, and so did Mrs Stubborn. But this test I will remember from now on.

TrilllianAstra Thu 30-Jun-11 13:48:20

I've watched a few episodes of The Event, and the only female-only conversations have been one woman holding a gun to the other's head and the other saying "my boyfriend will rescue me". Lame. There are some interesting female characters (who could easily have been male, their being female is not a plot point) but it's still failing as they are not talking to each other.

thecatspjs Thu 30-Jun-11 21:08:37

Battlestar Galactica (the new one - don't think the old one would pass do you?).

Agree with the Phil Rickman books - lots of female characters who are generally fairly reticent about talking "relationships".

Buffy obviously.

TrilllianAstra Thu 30-Jun-11 23:17:29

The Rock - fail! (unsurprisingly)

I've watched a couple of films recently that passed with flying colours - Mamma Mia was one, as was the new St Trinian's film, which has about three male characters in the whole thing. I'm not sure I'd class it as a feminist film, exactly, but I was quite heartened by all the female anarchy and the way the men are all idiots.

The Bechdel test has actually made me rethink several films which I kind of dismissed as vacuous fun before - things like Legally Blonde and Miss Congeniality. They actually look pretty damn feminist compared to some of the crappy romcoms that have come out more recently.

ComradeJing Fri 01-Jul-11 17:04:30

Black swan passes.

TrilllianAstra Fri 01-Jul-11 17:55:55

I don't think having few/no male characters makes a film feminist. Neither does portraying men as idiots. As far as I am aware feminism isn't about a world without men, or about thinking that men are stupider than women.

It's perfectly possible to pass the test and still be anti-feminist, or to fail the test and not be anti-feminist (although I imagine hard to fail the test and be pro-feminist).

ensure Fri 01-Jul-11 23:51:11

Whip it- pass.
Six degrees of separation- spoiler I think it fails because the only time I can remember two named female characters talking to each other is when one tells the other she is getting married. But maybe that is a pass because she, the daughter, is only getting married to annoy her parents and the groom is never named or mentioned. Does 'getting married' count as talking about a man? Views?

CaptainBizarro Sat 02-Jul-11 20:08:29

Love & Other Drugs - epic fail. And not just for not passing the test.

HerBeX Sun 03-Jul-11 14:52:05

Potiche passes with flying colours

3 good female roles, a few women extras, all talking politics, factories, strikes etc. as well as relationships, family, love. Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) really is the centre of the film, even such a big (in all ways) actor as Gerard Depardieu is secondary in this.

And it's hilarious. I recommend it!

TrilllianAstra Sun 03-Jul-11 18:09:26

Interesting question - if you are talking about a wedding as an event then that's not talking about a man, but if it's about getting married to the man then that is a conversation about a man. If you were discussing marriage in a philosophical way or in a "does marriage make people happier?" way then that would be talking about the institution of marriage. So, er, maybe.

No, Trillian, of course having few men in a film or making the men idiots doesn't make a film feminist. I was just saying that's why I enjoyed it wink

Thistledew Mon 04-Jul-11 20:55:59

Do animations count?

I think many of the Studio Ghibli (sp?) films pass with flying colours. I'm thinking in particular of Spirited Away in which many of the main characters are great, strong females. It works well for adults as well as children.

DontCallMePeanut Mon 04-Jul-11 23:26:40

Thistledew, I think animations are some of the most important, in terms of the Bechdels test and feminism. Animations are so prominent in childhood, and subsequently helps to shape our DC's imaginations.

But I think it's important to remember that passing the Bechdel test does not make a film pro-feminist. Cinderella, for example, passes the Bechdel test, yet fails miserably as a feminist text (film)

Passing doesn't make the film pro-feminist, failing doesn't make it anti-feminist. It's just interesting to see how many fail, and the general trend indicates that something is wrong in the world.

The Event finally had an episode that passed: two women had a conversation about how one was going to shoot the other, without any "my boyfriend will come and find me".

Thistledew Tue 05-Jul-11 09:14:53

I think Spirited Away would pass as a 'feminist' film. It doesn't push a feminist message per se, but the story of the film is definitely feminist in its approach.

The main character of the film is a girl who ends up in a magical land with her parents, who get turned into pigs. Fearing herself an orphan, she finds work in a bath house, from where her adventures are based. Many of the other characters are female, and indeed the society seems to be led by strong matriarchs. The girl conquers her fears to help the people and creatures she encounters. The characters are mainly helpful an kind, and even the ones that initially appear scary for the main part turn out to be that way because they are trying to overcome their own problems. There is none of the 'scary monster - kill it' machismo that you get in a lot of films.

Yes, the girl does get a very innocent love interest- but she has to, well not slay, but cure a dragon to rescue the prince. And instead of living happily ever after with him she eventually returns to her parents- transformed back into humans- and to her normal life.

The only problem with the film is that it is not suitable for young (British) children as it is in Japanese with subtitles.

Thistledew there is an English dubbed version of Spirited Away that would be good for children.

DontCallMePeanut Tue 05-Jul-11 12:25:44

*Makes a note to search out Spirited Away

I'm contemplating using feminism in my dissertation next year, but want to do something about measuring feminism in film and literature. I think the Bechdel Test will come under some scrutiny, there grin

Harry Potter 1 was on yesterday.

I forgot to pay proper attention but I think Hermione and Prof McGonagall may have spoken in class, but I might be remembering that from the book rather than the film.

I think it gets better when we spend more time at the Weasleys and once Ginny and Luna are introduced as characters.

HerBeX Sun 17-Jul-11 16:34:09

I went to see the new Harry Potter yesterday.

Great big fail.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 18-Jul-11 10:26:02


When do I get to see the version with She Who Must Not Be Named and The Girl Who Lived?

Bridesmaids passed, with a lot of whatever-the-female-equivalent-of-bromance is about the place.

Muppets Christmas Carol passed grin - if only for the bit where Emily Cratchit (Miss Piggy) is found groffling chestnuts by her daughters, and the bit later where they ask her to stop crying.

Does Labyrinth fail? Oh no hang on - it should pass because of the bit where she talks to the lady with all the piles of stuff, shouldn't it?

Australia passes. And Nicole Kidman's character was quite a positive female role too. Bonus! <Hugh Jackman also a bonus>

Unknown (with Liam Neeson) fails. Only two female characters, and I don't think they talk at all. It's qnot bad though, if you're looking for a thriller-type film.

I spent a good amount of time at the beginning of the film going to IMDB and spluttering that the actress playing his wife was 26 years younger than him! As it turns out you get to see Liam Neeson's character's passport and the character is only 14 years older than January Jones.

Harry Potter (very last film) only passes if you think this counts as a conversation:

Not my daughter you bitch

mwah haha tee hee <I am a mad giggling evil person>

sockpoppet Sun 07-Aug-11 21:05:43

Ashes to ashes passes but life on mars fails. What about spooks?

Ashes to Ashes passes - the series as a whole or on a per-episode basis?

sockpoppet Sun 07-Aug-11 21:08:18

Oh no! I think Amelie is a fail despite a female lead.

Really? I don't remember it too well but doesn't Amelie have chats with the lady who runs the cafe? Or does she mostly talk to herself in her head?

sockpoppet Sun 07-Aug-11 21:15:06

I think they talk about men though.

Wow, I found a very serious website Amelie apparently gets taught to read by her mother.

Message withdrawn

Iron Man is on right now. No chance at all, I imagine.

Message withdrawn

AliceTwirled Sun 14-Aug-11 21:27:14

I watched the Banksy film last night. There were only 2 women in it, fleetingly, let alone time for speaking to one another

sockpoppet Sun 14-Aug-11 23:23:33

Watership down is a big test fail.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Tue 16-Aug-11 13:04:05

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind passes the first two points of the test. That's it.

Fight Club, is complex. It either fails completely, or borderline passes the test. Depends on if you include Chloe's addressing the audience as her talking to another woman (Terry and Marla are in the audience) about her cancer. But then, Terry and Chloe are only in the film for literally one scene.

I'm reading the Morganville Vampires books (someone on here recommended them) and they pass. Claire has conversations with Eve and with Amelie (and sometimes with Monica) that are often about other subjects. I'm not sure if conversations about vampies in general count as "conversation about men", they're conversations about large groups of people, some of whom are men.

Source Code = fail.

Only two women, they don't have a conversation.

leafgreen Sun 28-Aug-11 13:23:08

A while back I saw an Australian film called Jindabyne that passed the test.

It also did a reasonable job of depicting how privilege (both male and white privilege, as well as a combination of those two) functions: how those who have got it can be utterly unaware that they've got it, and fail to even see that the way they're treating others assumes that those others don't need to be treated like actual human people - while those on the receiving end of privileged individuals' behaviour can be only too aware of the less-than-human status they're being accorded.

I did think the ending was far too saccharine and undid some of the good work of the rest of the movie. Would still recommend, though.

GossipWitch Mon 29-Aug-11 09:58:19

Ok im trying to think of some but no, its not happening.

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Aug-11 14:37:38

Sex and the City - pass?

Depends on the episode I think. Anything with 4 (?) seasons of 22 episodes would have to be doing pretty badly to fail in its entirety, so my rules say that TV shows should be taken episode-by-episode.

joaninha Mon 29-Aug-11 18:03:57

Just watched Country Strong which most definitely passes as Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester have plural conversations re. childhood and career ambitions.

Plus it has Garret Hedlund in it blush

Just read Coraline and it passes.


Just read MmeGuillotine's book on Marie Antoinette and it passes (she had lots of sisters).

Jux Wed 14-Sep-11 22:50:26

Amazing Grace passes with flying colours and is very funny too.

cindybextor Wed 14-Sep-11 22:58:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Wrong thread here cindy?

I watched Children of Men last week and I think that the pregnant girl and the midwife had a conversation about her pregnancy. But I'm not 100% sure that they managed to have a whole conversation without whatshisname. It is a very first-person kind of film though, we only see what he sees.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Sep-11 09:41:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

That's a shame, it sounds funny, and I really liked Delusions of Gender.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Sep-11 15:42:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Sep-11 15:42:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hardly ever rude
Even to knobends


Love it

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Sep-11 17:39:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

joaninha Sat 17-Sep-11 19:27:00

"Quite often (Luther, Dexter) the boss of the maverick detective is a woman. What's that about? Always in the wrong and they should have just let the maverick get on with it."

House is like that too. I think it's because the woman boss represents the Political Correctness that today's maverick man must fight against.

Just rewatched High School Musical (sooo cheesy!) after years and was interested that whilst passing test it contains spectacularly annoying trope of Ryan (Sharpay's brother) as being emasculated, effeminate and dumb because he is the underling to his Alpha Bitch sister. The only time he becomes likeable/ fanciable is when he rebels against his sister's authority in HSM 2

It made me think of Shrek 2 where the Prince Charming is portrayed in a similar hair-flicking way who is mollycoddled by his bossy mother.

So, the moral is, if you are a real man you must rebel against female authority or be regarded as a sissy.

kickassangel Thu 29-Sep-11 01:53:09

ok, the rom-com I can Never Be Your Woman passes the test, and does challenge some sterotypes, I actually quite like it.

Isn't the point of the Bechdel test to look at the numbers of films that do/don't pass, to give an idea of the scale of the problem. 

I also think that movies with less than 5 named characters should be exempt, and ones in a setting such as WWII sub. They should be added to the general 'body count' though as they show just how often films are made by men, about men, for men.

So don't give a good WW2 movie a hard time cos of its bias, but DO give the movie industry a bollocking as they don't often do female equivalents (e.g. Made in Dagenham)

kickassangel Thu 29-Sep-11 01:55:42

hmm, what about tv/films where there's a woman in a typical male environment? I'm thinking about The IT Crowd. There's only one woman, but it both uses & abuses stereotypes, and she's the most sane character in there, with most of the men looking pretty stupid compared to her.

Trills Wed 02-Nov-11 08:52:09

I don't think we need exemptions - failing doesn't mean a film is antifeminist and passing doesn't mean a film is feminist, it's just an interesting thing to note.

Films set on WWII submarines are to the Bechdel test what bodybuilders are to BMI - outliers that do not invalidate the test because the point of the test is to look at populations rather than individuals. (individuals may be healthy while being in a "wrong" category, but if 50% of the country is overweight or obese it's unlikely that they are all bodybuilders).

skrumle Wed 02-Nov-11 09:40:41

the help passed by a mile (obviously!)

and interestingly the main plot cut out (and i would think probably filmed but then removed based on the bits that remain) is skeeter's romance.

as an aside - has mary steenburgen made a deal with the devil??? she looked FABULOUS in the film and i couldn't work out the actress playing the character till her name appeared in the credits, and even then i had to think about it!

sozzledchops Wed 02-Nov-11 13:52:57

watched 'In Her Shoes' the other night. Passed, actually don't think there were any conversations between 2 men.

givemushypeasachance Fri 04-Nov-11 16:03:48

Just sticking my head in out of curiosity - I've heard of this test before and think it's pretty interesting.

I've got what is quite an odd one - the Batman Arkham City computer game which I've been playing recently. I think it just passed. It's clearly not a "feminist game" since the target audience is pretty thoroughly male; the male characters are mostly bulked up and overtly macho while the female ones are scantily clad and not adverse to using their sexuality to get what they want.

Aside from some passing technically named female characters like female medical staff that as Batman you rescue from hostage situations then discard and move on, the three named female characters are Harley Quinn (scantily clad in biker-chic clothes, everything she does is motivated by the Joker), Poison Ivy (even more scantily clad, green and plant-obsessed, hardly appears in this game) and Catwoman. Now she does have more clothing on but it's very very tight for someone clambering around on rooftops and it gets shredded up a bit as the game goes on. Plus her extremely hip-swaying walk and the fact that when you play as her you can make her sneak around by crawling on all fours probably indicates where her appeal is aimed... She does kick ass and saves Batman's bacon in the storyline, but there is a lot of cheesecake factor at play.

The one Bechdel Test beating moment is where Poison Ivy and Catwoman talk about Catwoman not watering some flowers Ivy gave her, then Catwoman going and breaking into a vault to make up for it. It's not much in the scheme of things!

givemushypeasachance Fri 04-Nov-11 18:10:51

Hang on - on my way home I realised that I missed one character out. Talia is another female character, sort-of a love interest for Batman and a go-between for the "big bad". She has a bunch of nifty female bodyguard ninja types but she only talks to them about Batman...

ecclesvet Fri 04-Nov-11 19:12:47

mushypeas The latest Batman game sparked a lot of talk after someone made a blog post about the sexism. Don't miss the follow-up post, although the 'Hulk speaking' gimmick gets tiring quickly.

Selky Fri 04-Nov-11 20:34:22

I watched "The Tourist" last night. Big fail. I think that Angelina Jolie is the only female character in it.

sozzledchops Fri 04-Nov-11 23:00:06

Lesbian Vampire Killers passes with flying colours.

MMMarmite Fri 04-Nov-11 23:05:58

Persepolis passes with flying colors! It's an animated film (originally a graphic novel) about a girl growing up in Iran. Would recommend it.

I'm sadly realising that Big Bang Theory is failing miserably though. Damn it, I was enjoying that show.

Trills Sat 05-Nov-11 19:27:32

The Princess Bride appears to be failing.

Trills Sat 05-Nov-11 20:31:11

Girls and women (with names) are talking to each other about singing and about hair dye and about cheerleading in the episode of Glee I'm watching.

givemushypeasachance Sun 06-Nov-11 13:02:29

ecclesvet - good lord, the caps-iness of that blog is pretty scary! An interesting read through the capslock shouting thogh; I read posts ones and two but I'm still not over-convinced that some specifically female-oriented insults are even the most sexist thing about the game, and if bitch is overused then to me it came across as more a sign of some lazy dialogue writing than anything else.

MMMarmite - what series of Big Bang Theory are you on? I reckon earlier series when they pretty much had just Penny and some guests as female characters then they would have failed pretty hard, but now there are three female regulars they do seem to have at least the odd conversation that doesn't revolve around the guys.

QuimFabray Sun 06-Nov-11 17:30:21

Whip It, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, passes.

The male characters are very much secondary, as the main focus is Ellen Page's character joining a roller derby team, and her relationship with (female) best friend.

NotJustClassic Sun 06-Nov-11 17:37:37

I love Whip It. Great film.
Gnomeo & Juliet. Epic fail.

Tianc Sun 06-Nov-11 18:00:05

Joyfully re-watching the 1987 BBC adaptation of Dorothy L Sayers' Gaudy Night. Not only passes with flying colours, but the women talk to each other as independent, intellectual beings – not just as plot-fulfilling roles like pushy granny, mad catwoman neighbour, doting mother, efficient secretary.

Hmm, do the other two DLS adaptations in that series pass?

In Strong Poison, Miss Climpson has extended conversations with the female nurse (who has a name but I forget) about spiritualism.

From memory, Have His Carcase is less promising, because most female-female conversations are about the murdered man or the male chief suspect. There's an exchange between our heroine and a snotty receptionist, but someone else chucks Lord Peter Wimsey into that conversation.

KRITIQ Sun 06-Nov-11 21:16:32

Tintin - definitely fails. Apart from a few female characters in the background, all are male. I don't think any female characters even speak, let alone to each other. My MIL wanted to see it as she'd been a fan of the books. I'd not read them so it was an okay yarn with the CGI and all. She thought it was okish, but not as good as the books.

Tianc Sun 06-Nov-11 21:59:00

The novel of One Day is passing.

So far our main female character has had at least three conversations with other women wrt work. Some are short but they're all important to the plot and to the character's development.

Chandon Wed 23-Nov-11 09:39:15

interesting thread!!!

Saw "knowing" on TV (don't ask me why i watched it) and it FAILS...

all female characters are there to support the male leads, and never interact without the men (not even the daughter and mother!!!)

Chandon Wed 23-Nov-11 09:41:03

I think you have actulaly spotted a big option in the market, and maybe that is what made bridesmaids and Sex and the City so successful. All these women talking!...still, it is mainly about men though....

This thread is very interesting. I think I'll start posting my reading/watching heresmile

Recently I've read
Dracula, which passes, I think..? Lucy and Mina discuss men much of the time, but they also discuss Lucy's health, as do Mina and Lucy's mother.
The Hobbit fails spectacularly; I don't remember any female characters at all
Carpe Jugulum passes. I love witches.
Good Omens - I'm not sure. I think it fails. So many of the characters are male, and the female ones are surrounded by men.
Snuff - if it passes, it's because of some tiny conversation between Sibyl and a servant or something. Most of it is seen through the eyes of a male character, so if he's not present, it doesn't get reported.
The Amber Spyglass passes several times over.

Haven't seen any TV or films lately, so I don't have anything therewink

Applying it to books is interesting. As someone said, you'd think it'd be easier for a book to pass, and still so many fail...

Can a man be present at or involved in the conversation? This was a little unclear to me. If he can't, it would automatically rule out every book with a male main point of viewconfused

Chandon Wed 23-Nov-11 13:37:15

I realise I (subconsciously) ONLY read books that pass this test.

I get bored with just the male perspective on things. You get so many male perspectives, on the radio, TV etc. .

So I think I can safely ok ALL:
Anita Brookner novels (not many men feature, really)
Ann Tyler novels (men and women very much equally hopeless, and interesting)
Elizabeth Jane Howard
Mary Wesley
Amy Tan
Barbara Trapido
Barbara Pym

I am really stuck with female novelists though...

One of the great things about Bridget Jones was the fab convo's with her friends (Shazza in autorant). Sadly, in the film this was minimised hmm

SweetTheSting Wed 23-Nov-11 13:49:02

I think 'PanAm' passes - Maggie talking to Kate about Laura standing on her own two feet, Maggie defending Laura against the weight-dragon lady (who does have a real name!) etc.

I thought that the conversation being about a man meant a man in a romantic/sexual way - but does it mean, as Tianc suggests, if it's a chat about a male corpse or male crime suspect, it also doesn't count?!

Trills Wed 23-Nov-11 20:49:39

I've been reading the Clan of the Cave Bear books, nearly all of which pass (generally women discussing medicine or ways to make things or cooking). The second one doesn't unless you count her talking to a horse, but she does spend most of the book alone in a cave.

Well, the horse IS femalegrin

Trills Thu 24-Nov-11 08:30:23


Trills Sun 04-Dec-11 19:35:39

Just read Ann Patchett State of Wonder and that passed.

Now starting Blod Sisters which despite the title is not vampireish (it's set in France around the time of the revolution) and named women have already had conversations that are not about men.

MyBrainIsOutOfChristmasTunes Tue 06-Dec-11 21:39:45

I think Agatha Christie's Third Girl passes. Mrs Oliver goes off on a bit of sleuthing on her own and talks with some women about this and that.

AbsofCroissant Wed 07-Dec-11 10:21:38

Right, recently read:
The Help - passed with multiple flying colours (there's only about two men in it)
Anna Karenina - passed. Very good convo between Anna and Kitty about children and how crap it is to be a woman
The Bluest Eye - passed, it's mostly about women
Still reading - Paradise - passing

TV Shows
How I Met - two of the main characters are female, and have lots of convos not about men
Arrested Development - the mother and sister occassionally speak to each other. Will have to pay more attention
Modern Family - lots of female characters, lots of talking about diff topics, sometimes about men
Seinfeld - Fail sad as there's mainly just Elaine, though in some episodes she talks to other women, not about men, so pass! (and also cos it's the best show ever).

Trills Sun 18-Dec-11 15:26:40

Harry Potter last night (Order of the Phoenix)

Professor McGonagall had a face-off with the new evil pink teacher (she does have a name). So that's a pass.

But as far as I could see there were no conversations between any two female teenagers.

Selky Mon 19-Dec-11 14:14:24

I watched " Another Year" That passes. Lots of conversations with Gerri and Ann. Gerri and the doctor (who is named but I've forgotten) about work etc.

ElfenorRathbone Mon 19-Dec-11 21:03:06

Yesterday I watched 3 episodes of ~Merlin

2 passed - Some queen or other played by Lindsay Duncan, had a voncersation with Morgana about Camelot. In the other episode, Morgana had a conversation with a magical old hag about hwo to get souls back from the dead.

1 failed. Gwyn asked a magical creature who is a woman what her anme was and said her name was Gwyn but not sure if that constitutes a conversation

msrisotto Sat 31-Dec-11 09:19:05

Mission Impossible 4 fails, as does Men In Black 1. I watched these over the xmas-new year break. In both there are 2 women who speak in the whole movie.

limitedperiodonly Mon 02-Jan-12 12:02:30

Bit OT because I can't find the feminist films thread from a while back but I want to mention this.

I watched Tootsie for the first time in years yesterday and I was surprised to find one of its major messages is feminism.

The most striking thing is a scene where Dustin Hoffman masquerading as an actress, Dorothy Michaels, reluctantly invites her lecherous co-star to her flat. Dorothy only does it because the co-star is making a racket and annoying her neighbours and she feels sorry for him because he's a figure of ridicule on the film set.

Once inside he leaps on her despite her protests and it's only broken up by Dorothy's male flatmate Geoff coming in. Co-star immediately leaves apologising for trespassing on Geoff's territory. Geoff then teases Dorothy, who he obviously knows is his friend Michael, along the lines of: 'why did you invite him here if you didn't want anything to happen?'

The thing that stunned me is that Dorothy/Michael snaps that 'rape' is never funny.

Up to that point the scene was played for laughs, like all reluctant woman/sex pest scenes in comedies are. And everything that goes before is exactly how most rapes happen: the woman is guilted into being alone with the man, she tries to handle it politely, even her friends ask what on earth she expected.

With the rest of it: Dorothy constantly ad-libs during filming to dodge set-ups that will allow her co-star to grope her or allow him to assault other actresses.

Her ad-libs also present her character, a hospital administrator, as a strong responsible and caring person rather than the menopausal wimp her producers want her to be.

She changes lines that should have her advising a victim of DV to seek counselling to telling the woman to call the police and kick her husband out and shames the female producer into agreeing that's the responsible advice to give. The actress playing the beaten woman is the one who kicks up the biggest fuss about Dorothy changing the lines.

Dorothy insists the director calls her by her proper name like he does the men instead of Tootsie, Toots, Baby etc. She tries to get the other actresses to do the same and advises his girlfriend to leave him.

Even though the director hates her she becomes such a popular character with the millions of women who watch the show that he can't sack her.

They also chuck in bits about workers' rights and the general treatment of women by men.

It doesn't pass the Bechdel Test because the only conversations between women are with a real woman and a man in drag. And they only ever talk about men. But the passing the BT isn't a guarantee of feminism though it's a good starting point.

And it's sexist in the idea that only a man can truly help women but there's far more good than bad in it.

limitedperiodonly Mon 02-Jan-12 12:08:04

And it's also got lines about the amount of money and time women spend making themselves look acceptable to society.

Trills Mon 02-Jan-12 12:13:03

Last night's Sherlock may have had a few lines exchanged between Irene Adler and her assistant (Kate) where they discussed makeup, but it was all in the context of getting ready for a man so I think that's a fail.

Trills Mon 02-Jan-12 12:14:11

Tootsie sounds interesting!

blondechristmas Mon 02-Jan-12 13:10:28

Yesterday I watched:

True Grit (original version)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (American version)
Terminator 2

All striking in that they feature (even centre around) a strong, unconventional female character but fail the Bechdel.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Mon 02-Jan-12 13:46:36

Watched The Princess Bride last night. One of my favourite films, but good grief, it failed spectacularly.

The mother was in the film, only to introduce the Grandfather for the narrative role. There were other women featured in the film, aside from Buttercup, but only one had a spoken role, and that was to talk to Buttercup about her upcoming wedding, so by default, about a man.

What was even more noticable was that, even though the film was apparently about Buttercup, the main focus was on Westley's story, and that of Thingymajig Montoya. Buttercup became something of a side story.

Prolesworth Mon 02-Jan-12 16:50:08

Sherlock was shockingly bad from a feminist POV. Apart from Irene Adler, who was the only female character shown any respect by the male characters and only then because she represented as some kind of man in a woman's super-sexy body (but ultimately let down by her inability to resist Sherlock, even though she claimed to be a lesbian, but a lesbian who says she wants to 'do' Sherlock over a desk until he begs for mercy), there was the horrible humiliation of the female pathologist - a pathologist portrayed as a stupid, inarticulate, lovestruck idiot - by Sherlock, and Watson's hilarious inability to distinguish between his girlfriends which leads him to getting dumped, and the Una Stubbs housekeeper dogsbody who idolises her 'boys'. Utter misogynist TRIPE.

MMMarmite Mon 02-Jan-12 18:58:21

Watched Charlie Brooker's screenwipe, in which male comedians talked about mostly male news.

I watched the film Love and Basketball, it passed the Bechdel test and the main character was a strong young woman who plays basketball. It was pretty feminist as far as a romance can be (given that the main point of straight romance films is to get the guy). The writer/director and all the main characters were African-Americans, it was refreshing to see something that avoided the usual stereotyping.

limitedperiodonly Mon 02-Jan-12 21:38:25

I have a very dim view of Charlie Brooker because he bores and irritates me.

It's not just from a feminist viewpoint, but there's a start.

My view of 'comic' panel shows except for R4's News Show is even dimmer.

MMMarmite Mon 02-Jan-12 23:14:22

I quite like news-related comedy, but the only stuff I ever see is all men or one token woman, which is almost as bad because one woman can't really stand up to misogyny from four men at once. I'd love to see what a news comedy show made by women only would be like.

OneHandWrapping Tue 03-Jan-12 14:51:56

The only conversation between two women I can remember in Girl With a Dragon Tattoo is between the eponymous Girl, (Elizabeth?) and the dragon administrator at the Vanger head office. So it's hardly passed with flying colours. Largely because, despite the title, and the unconventional female lead, it's really all about the man, Blomkvist (Daniel Craig).

She even shags him, despite, apparently being gay. Because you can't have a film where the 45 year old male lead doesn't get to sleep with the 22 year old assistant. They even started with her on top, but he turns her onto her back to -- put her in her place-- give her a proper submissive seeing to. Plus you get to see pretty much all of her, and not nearly enough of Daniel Craig.

Trills Tue 03-Jan-12 17:43:20

She's not gay, she's bisexual. You can tell by how she chooses to have sex with both males and females. And the sex (with him, at least) was entirely on her terms.

(note: have read books but not seen film so not sure if it is less obvious in the film, but the sex between the two leads was entirely her idea)

Trills Wed 04-Jan-12 08:21:27

Although I think there's no particular need for them to be anything but friends. Really no need. But since Blomkvist is the author avatar he just has to be irresistibly attractive to all women.

I've been watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles - does it count if one of the named females is actually a robot?

LadyFlumpalot Thu 05-Jan-12 10:05:56

Apologies if it has already been mentioned but Rosemary and Thyme passes (I think) two independent, crime fighting gardeners!

msrisotto Thu 05-Jan-12 21:26:01

LOL Rosemary and Thyme, it's beenbloody ages since i've seen that!

Trills - I have no idea about the acceptableness of robots....I reckon robotwomen do count, but some might think it a contentious issue. grin

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 09:17:53

No need to apologise, mention anything that you have seen even if it has been said before!

Maybe robots count the same way as transgender - if they self-identify as female and/or if everyone says "she" when referring to them then they are women for the sake of the test.

LadyFlumpalot Fri 06-Jan-12 11:35:40

Any of the Terry Prachett witches novels. The three witches have chats between themselves (not all about men/or sex).

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 12:10:12

I'm reading a first-person novel with a male protagonist at the moment so I'm a bit stuck, I fully believe that women have conversations without him present but obviously they are all offscreen (literary equivalent for offscreen?).

MMMarmite Fri 06-Jan-12 16:21:43

The secret life of bees - strong pass, possibly fails the reverse bechdel test.
An excellent film, I recommend it to everyone.

EduStudent Thu 12-Jan-12 22:11:05

Just found this, marking my place to remind me to post.

In a similar vein, I'm writing an essay currently about gender bias in children's books. Actually, off to read about the Bechdel test to see if it's referanceable...

WidowWadman Fri 13-Jan-12 10:53:55

Trills "You can tell by how she chooses to have sex with both males and females. And the sex (with him, at least) was entirely on her terms."

As imagined by the male author of the book - of course the 22 yo token bisexual goth must decide to shag the twice her age not remotely interesting guy. It didn't make sense, and I really don't get why Lisbeth Salander is seen by so many as some kind of super duper feminist hero, I think she's quite the opposite.

Mind I've only seen the american movie, which thorougly turned my stomach, because the book bored me too much to go on past the first 80 or so pages,

OnlyANinja Fri 13-Jan-12 11:09:00

She's a fictional character, so yes her sexuality is decided by the author. That's how it works.

I didn't particularly think that there was any good reason for them to have sex, but it seems to be one of the constants of that universe (like gravity in ours) that all women want Blomkvist.

msrisotto Sun 15-Jan-12 19:25:18

War Horse fails.

EduStudent Mon 16-Jan-12 22:18:06

New Girl well and truly fails.

msrisotto Tue 17-Jan-12 16:44:56

Yeah, it was quite funny though wasn't it?

Oneofthechildlessones Tue 17-Jan-12 21:37:15

Never let me go

Are there at least two women = 3 main characters 2 are female
Who have a conversation = lots of conversations between a variety of women
About something other than a man? = about genetic engineering

EduStudent Wed 18-Jan-12 11:32:50

Oh I do love New Girl. Most of the episodes failed the reverse test too, although the last one I watched (I think it was Episode 4) had two of the male characters discussing job prospects.

OnlyANinja Thu 19-Jan-12 08:19:00

Conversations about genetic engineering? Sounds like the sort of thing I'd like to watch!

FrothyDragon Sat 21-Jan-12 10:05:23

Now off to watch Tintin. On a scale of 1 - 10, how much do we think this is going to fail the Bechdel Test? 12?

EduStudent Sat 21-Jan-12 10:45:01

Well, there was one lady. She was a fat, diva-ish opera singer.

There might have been a couple in the background... Maybe?

OnlyANinja Sat 21-Jan-12 11:33:14

Miss Congeniality 2 passes (it was on last night)

Oneofthechildlessones Sat 21-Jan-12 11:48:29

Watched case 39 last night and that passes.

OnlyANinja Sat 21-Jan-12 11:49:16

One Day fails, I think.

Unless you count a parent telling a small child to go and get dressed a "conversation".

FrothyDragon Sat 21-Jan-12 16:48:20

Edu, there were a couple, non speaking women in the audience when the Diva sang. SPECTACULAR fail on the Bechdel test.

Tintin: 0/3

MMMarmite Fri 10-Feb-12 21:15:25

Saving Face - passed by miles.

It's about a chinese american lesbian and her mother, who are both struggling with the expectations of their family and community. A nice love story with plenty of humour.

The Social Network - failed I think.

I didn't expect much from this film, but actually quite enjoyed it. The misogyny in student culture is portrayed, and not exactly condemned but not shown as entirely unproblematic either.

OnlyANinja Fri 10-Feb-12 21:53:03

You'll think that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. It's not true. Girls don't like you because you're an asshole.

MMMarmite Fri 10-Feb-12 22:28:23

I loved that scene, OnlyANinja smile

Onesunnymorningin2012 Mon 13-Feb-12 22:19:12

I watched Alien vs. Predator on Saturday night. It wasn't the best film I've ever seen, but the I was pleased that
- Two women talk - about guns...
- The last survivor is a strong woman, who had originally been leader of her team

blonderthanred Fri 24-Feb-12 22:00:23

Drive is failing (surprise). Current scene is the first featuring more than one woman, fortunately all topless, dumb and motionless.

Pity, I was quite enjoying it.

Trills Fri 24-Feb-12 22:08:13

Coupling is doing OK. Two women just had a conversation while one was pretending to be "Gisele the French bitch"

blonderthanred Fri 24-Feb-12 22:33:41

I love Coupling. So does DH. Crying shame it never got recommissioned.

Trills Fri 24-Feb-12 22:34:31

I didn't watch it properly at the time, currently having a massive catchup on NetFlix

ecclesvet Fri 24-Feb-12 22:54:15

blonderthanred, that isn't the first scene with more than one woman. There's the scene where Carey Mulligan's friend comes over to babysit (no lines, though), as well as the party scene which has lots of men and women.

Also, you make it sound like because it fails the Bechdel test, it's completely ruined for you. That isn't what it tests.

Also also, you were enjoying it up to then? So you didn't mind Christina Hendricks being punched in the face then shot in the head, but some strippers ruined it? confused

Bit touchy about Drive, it's one of my favourites grin

blonderthanred Fri 24-Feb-12 23:42:47

I was being slightly lighthearted, apologies for any offence caused.

ecclesvet Fri 24-Feb-12 23:47:15

Apologies, blonderthanred. It's sometimes hard to tell on this board!

EduStudent Mon 21-May-12 14:55:06

Bumping this again.

Watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. Complete and utter fail.

sashh Tue 22-May-12 05:00:02

Bones (TV) passes every week then. Yeah.

SweetTheSting Wed 23-May-12 23:35:27

Bliney I think pirates if the Caribbean passed - Elizabeth and the female pirate talking about the best way to sail the ship to escape attack

msrisotto Fri 25-May-12 11:34:05

The help passes with flying colours, might fail the reverse bechdel though. Good film.

skrumle Mon 28-May-12 16:17:54

unforgettable passes every week. main detective, secondary detective, techie, coroner all interact with each other about stuff other than a man.

msrisotto Mon 28-May-12 16:36:21

50/50 - moving film but fails

msrisotto Mon 28-May-12 16:43:40

Oh, and Moneyball failed too.

StarsAndBoulevards Tue 29-May-12 05:26:19

Beauty and the Beast marginally passed. Great big fail on every other Feminist test going.

BlackSwan Tue 29-May-12 05:40:25

This explains why I find so many films unwatchable and boring. They have nothing to do with me.

On a similar note - so much of the news is middle aged men being interviewed, it's depressing.

stillfeel18inside Wed 30-May-12 10:56:04

Whip It (Ellen Page film about a girl who joins a roller derby team) - great film AND made me really wish there were roller derby teams in the UK to join (are there?)

stillfeel18inside Wed 30-May-12 10:57:59

Just wondering whether "The Women" passes or fails - that film with an ensemble cast of all women (Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes). Obviously there are loads of conversations between named women but most if not all of them are about relationships with men!

lambethlil Wed 30-May-12 11:04:11

Big Love- series about polygamist family with three wives- passes; the sister wives talk a lot about the husband, but more about their Faith, children, working outside the home and extended families. In fact the relationships between the women are really finely drawn.

Dexter- series about a sympathetic serial killer passes shock. The female characters talk to each other about work.

EduStudent Wed 30-May-12 11:59:07

Batman The Dark Knight one fails. Unsurprisingly.

msrisotto Sun 03-Jun-12 09:41:34

Men in Black 3 fails. I was going to say "Unsurprisingly" too but ...these are films aimed at men and women aren't they? I'm sure there are female aliens...

SweetTheSting Sun 03-Jun-12 23:08:59

Have just finished watching The Killing 2 (Danish version) and despite the fabulousness of Sarah Lund I am not sure every episode would pass, maybe even the minority. Lund interacts with her mother, Louise, buch's assistant and the female member of Team Aegir but not much more and mostly fairly briefly.

SweetTheSting Sun 03-Jun-12 23:11:09

Also trying to remember if Homeland passes. Probably cos of Mrs Brady and Dana.

Pan Sun 03-Jun-12 23:31:19

Breakfast At Tiffany passes.

Sound of Music passes.

Beaches passes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 1-3 passes.

Nothing else matters really, does it?

msrisotto Mon 04-Jun-12 08:18:29





Isn't it weird that none of those were within this century? Are we going backwards?

I know i'll never go and see Piranha 3DD but i'm pretty sure it not only fails but is pretty offensive with it!

comixminx Wed 06-Jun-12 18:12:37

Alison Bechdel's new memoir, "Are You My Mother?" passes, not surprisingly... grin Lots of conversations with her (female) therapist about her mother, her self, and all sorts...

MrsMcNulty Thu 07-Jun-12 13:14:36

I watched Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe last night and that passes.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Fri 08-Jun-12 18:58:42

Watched super 8 with the family - a family type sci fi movie. Its not a bad movie in itself, but totally fails this test. Its main characters are a group of kids 10-11? consisting of 4 boys and 1 girl. The main characters - a boy and girl only have a father, so there are no real mother characters even.

The girsl role starts off not too bad, but ends up with all the boys coming together to rescue her from the monster. When they find her she is semi comatose and the main boy character has to slap her to bring her round.

Christ, why am I watching stuff like this! I need a Bechdel Test symbol on lovefilm pronto

SweetTheSting Sun 10-Jun-12 00:00:23

Kiki's Delivery Service (love Kiki!)

Trills Sun 10-Jun-12 19:46:38

Serenity has already passed - River questioning a teacher talking about the Alliance vs the "Independents".

Trills Sun 10-Jun-12 19:47:10

Or maybe not - I just called her "the teacher", I forgot that she needs a name

<Looks through DVD collection>

Winter's Bone
Ab Fab
Vicar of Dibley
The Simpsons

err... <ponders>.... hmm

Margerykemp Sun 10-Jun-12 20:58:35

The Breakfast Club passes- molly ringwald and alley sheedy exchange words on lying and make up

Heathers- mostly female cast, talk about teen suicide

Death Becomes Her- the leads talk about looking young (which really should be a fail)

Reality Bites- the women talk about work/money

Clueless- clothes talk

The Craft- witchy talk

Scream films- NC and CC do mention the murders ( but does this count as talking about a man's actions?)

Trills Sun 10-Jun-12 21:01:28

Serenity not doing so well if the teacher doesn't count - the series was better. Kaylee and Inara seemed to go and brush each others hair (or something) quite often.

msrisotto Tue 12-Jun-12 21:04:23

Just watched the First Wives Club again. God I love this film. Passes. Gloria Steinham herself even makes an appearance!

msrisotto Thu 14-Jun-12 21:52:31

Calendar Girls. Yes it's about women getting naked but it's based on a true story and is a great film. Passes.

EduStudent Thu 14-Jun-12 22:05:29

Men in Black 3. Need I even say it?

Trills Fri 25-Jan-13 11:31:26

Wicked passes very well - I was very pleased to see a play where the two main characters, taking their bows last with everyone else around them, were women.

Trills Mon 04-Mar-13 10:16:49

The 2012 spiderman movie fails miserably - only two female characters with names and they have no interaction whatsoever. I think one says that the other is pretty.

On the other hand the love interest is a girl at school who is doing a science internship and beats him in tests, better (IMO) than the ditsy failed-actress in the previous set of films.

poppycack Mon 04-Mar-13 23:01:04

I'm really interested in the relationship between feminism and pop culture so I've just started a blog on women onscreen. Would be really interesting to see what people thought - my first two blogs are about the female characters in Lightfields, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Skyfall. Would be lovely to get some feedback from an interested audience if anyone has the time. The blog is at:

kim147 Mon 04-Mar-13 23:06:23

Just turned off a Fish called Wanda. It had Jamie Lee Curtis as the main female character and it seems her main role is to be sexy with every male in the story.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 11-Mar-13 12:07:57

Watched The 40 Year Old Virgin. Teeters on a pass - one conversation between the mom and daughter about sex (which could be viewed as being about their respective partners, in which case it would fail).

However, it has a horrible scene where the friends of the lead character, Andy,let themselves into the house of a woman he's gone home With (book shop woman)  to persuade Andy to stick with his girlfriend instead - and then one of the friends stays back when the others leave and goes to see BSW in the bath.

BSW of course "deserves" to be surprised naked and vulnerable by a strange man because (a) she wanted a ONS with the lead character and (b) she masturbated in front of said lead character. So she must be sexually available to anyone, right?


Trills Mon 11-Mar-13 12:26:27

I failed to pay proper attention to Dredd - I think that Mama and Anderson may have had a conversation but I'm not sure exactly what it was about.

They could easily have made both "the rookie" and "the drugs baron" be men, but there was no reason why they should be men.

Recent films watched that passed:
Ballet Shoes with flying colours. A French film I watched on iplayer the other night, called something like 'I waited for you'. Xena warrior princess mostly passes I think.
A book that I am reading, Lady of the Rivers, scrapes past just.
Watched Mayday last week and I think it passes but not in all episodes.
Then a Japanese film called 'Crime and Punishment' did. And then Pretty Young Things just about scrapes through with one or two conversations between main female character and smaller female character.
There was a great article on Jezebel the other day about why Return to Oz is totally dreadful in regards to female characters.

Dozer Mon 11-Mar-13 22:25:41

thedoctrine I really really hated the40yearoldvirgin, awful. although not as much as 50 first dates, where the "happy ending" is for amnesiac drew barrymore to have a baby and sail away with a man who is a stranger and every morning when she can't remember him tells her how great her life with him is confused

My main viewing atm is Disney shite and American trash.

Tangled passes (evil stepmother/daughter conversations about the outside world and "mother knows best") although dodgy messages generally.

Mary Poppins (just) passes (servants talking to mrs banks about womens suffrage). Chitty chitty bang bang fails. Toy story fails too.

Call the midwife is mainly women talking to women.

Revenge passes some weeks, e.g. mother/daughter stuff. Greys Anatomy too. Good Wife used to do better.

Sorry, I meant 'Oz: The Powerful and Mighty' or whatever it's called.

BonnieWeeJeannieMcCall Wed 13-Mar-13 09:51:52

Watched "North and South" with DD. It passes. Lots of female characters - Margaret, her mother, the housekeeper, her cousin, her aunt, the two mill girls, Mrs Thornton, Fanny Thornton. So lots of different combinations of women talking. The female characters talk about the cotton industry, the effect of cotton on their lungs and the impact of the strike. Margaret writes to her cousin Edith describing Milltown. Occasional female talk about pianos, wallpaper, etc too. A candidate for a servant's job tells the housekeeper she can earn more at the Mill.
The men talk about the strike, the price of cotton, etc etc.
One of the women (Mrs Thornton) has a keen grasp of the economics of the industry, Fanny talks about investments, and Margaret discusses her financial situation.

It passes with flying colours in every way. And it's based on a book written in 1854.

Trills Sat 16-Mar-13 22:56:33

Coyote Ugly passes - the main girl and her friend-from-home have a conversation near the beginning about how they've never followed through with anything, and she has a conversation with bar-owner about how the bar is her life.

Date Night passes (and I highly recommend it btw, love Tina Fey) as Tina Fey has a conversation with the babysitter about the children (who are not "a man or men"). She also has a conversation with her recently-divorced friend about how the friend can go out dancing if she wants, which is not explicitly about a man but is sort of about a man because it's about her freedom now she is divorced.

AbigailAdams Sun 17-Mar-13 00:07:14

The Tourist. Epic fail (on several levels). Only one woman in it.

kim147 Sun 17-Mar-13 11:48:38


AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Sun 17-Mar-13 11:54:00

Watching 'what to expect when you are expecting'.

I think it passed. Pile of crap, but it did pass. Women talking about breastfeeding and piles.

OneHandFlapping Sun 17-Mar-13 11:54:54

The Bechdel test is pretty low standard though, isn't it. Someone way back mentioned Castle. It fulfils all the criteria, but the women are all satellites orbitting The Big Man. The Mentalist is exactly the same.

I can think of very few films/TV shows which are actually about the women wihout being romances. Scott and Bailey perhaps.

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Sun 17-Mar-13 11:56:28

Yes, it's a low test. I think that's why it is powerful.

It's not asking whether a film or book represents women and women's experience. It's just showing how many do not even feature women except as a love interest.

BertieBotts Sun 17-Mar-13 11:58:35

Most episodes of Fringe pass.

Community passes on some episodes at least, although a lot of the stories centre on the male characters with the female characters' storylines being based on their femaleness hmm

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Family Guy failed on most if not all episodes. The Simpsons I'd expect to pass a few - Lisa talking to Marge or another female character.

I thought it was interesting how someone said early on in the thread that Doctor Who seems to pass/fail depending on who is writing it. I'm guessing most Moffat episodes fail?

Trills Sun 17-Mar-13 12:03:00

Yes, it is a low standard. That's why it is interesting - that so many films/TV shows/books can't pass even this very very basic level of "are the female characters actually people or are they just accessories to the male characters?".

Passing doesn't make a film "good" or "feminist" and failing doesn't necessarily make a film "bad" or "anti-feminist".

It's a bit like BMI. Someone could have a very low or very high BMI because they are unusually proportioned or because they are a heavily muscled athlete, and there's nothing wrong with that individual, but on average if half the adult population has a high BMI then something clearly is wrong.

2beornot Sun 17-Mar-13 13:53:32

Was thinking about this last night whilst watching inception. Only two female characters at all and they only talk about Leo D-C's character.

But not only that, I thought to myself "Do these characters need to be male?" And the answer was definitely not, but Hollywood had chosen it to be!

kim147 Sun 17-Mar-13 13:56:48

Watching Summer Holiday. Don't hold out much hope for this smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 18-Mar-13 01:39:58

Just finished Cover Her Face. Pass - two women discussing the murdered woman, plus other reported conversations.

Skybore Thu 09-May-13 14:15:21

Watched Showgirls last night - spectacular pass, and some!

Almost all lead roles are female, many conversations, rarely about men. As a bonus all males are in negative roles, and the girls are hot as hell and frequently naked. Oh, that last bit's not good is it? confused grin

sashh Sat 11-May-13 03:58:32

AND made me really wish there were roller derby teams in the UK to join (are there?)

There are indeed

memberfor Sat 11-May-13 04:03:33

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Sat 11-May-13 06:24:58

Oh Kiki's Delivery Service is great. I really rate it. I like that she has mainly female friends guiding her through her (generally self guided and independent) life. I think that's much more true to life than a male rescuer scenario which you see in stories so often.

I wonder if I can recall whether the other Ghibli films I have seen pass or not.

My Neighbour Totoro
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away


Porco Rosso


I think?

Meringue33 Sat 11-May-13 07:56:33

Mermaids - passes
Dirty Dancing - fails
Honey - passes
Homeland - fails
Nashville - passes (created by a woman, brilliant career rivalry between two older/younger women at the heart of it).

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 11-May-13 08:05:30

Some episodes of homeland pass - Dana and Jess talking about going to the police.

ThePavlovianCat Sat 11-May-13 08:21:43

I'm fairly sure the new star trek film fails the test. In fact I can only think of two women in it and I'm sure they didn't share any scenes.

delilahbelle Sat 11-May-13 08:23:42

Watched Star Trek last night, a definite fail, which spoiled the film a bit for me.
Iron Man passes I think though

HilaryM Sat 11-May-13 09:08:58

An excellent pass from Parks and Recreation - not only is the main female character fantastic but her friendship with Ann is adorable.

OneHandFlapping Sat 11-May-13 09:13:02

Can anyone think of a film/tv show that passes a reverse Bechdel test?

I mean two or fewer men in it, who don't have a conversation, or if they do, it's about one of the women characters?

Becasue one doesn't immediately spring to mind.

LurcioLovesFrankie Sat 11-May-13 09:19:29

Anyone feel like they can be bothered to explain the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions to memberfor? Not sure I've got the energy to deal with the hard of thinking first thing in the morning.

LurcioLovesFrankie Sat 11-May-13 09:20:30

Ah, I see the mods got in and deleted.

HappyJustToBe Sat 11-May-13 09:42:57

Scott and Bailey passes. Probably passes the reverse test too.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 11-May-13 14:05:15

OneHand, SATC? Definitely some of the episodes.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 11-May-13 14:06:38

Kiki's delivery service too, I think.

OneHandFlapping Sat 11-May-13 16:15:12

Oh yes - SATC.

And Scott and Bailey - will have to watch out. DSis says "It's totally unrealistic having all those women in the Police." I wonder if that's true - it certainly shouldn't be.

garlicyoni Sun 12-May-13 17:31:05

Just watched one! Mystery Woman. It's a lightweight murder mystery, sort of a young Miss Marple for Sunday afternoon viewing. The murder victim was a man - so it fails technically - but the sleuths are all women who, amazingly, are not trying to get off with any of the men!

ithaka Sun 12-May-13 17:37:41

I watched Company of Wolves last night - definite pass.

Watched The Skin I Live In a couple of nights ago - fail, I think.

garlicyoni Sun 12-May-13 17:45:05

Oooh, OHF, I've just seen your reverse test and think this afternoon's film may have passed it! There could have been some other talk between the men - I wasn't watching out for that - but they barely spoke to one another; it's all about the women.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 12-May-13 18:04:59

Some episodes of Buffy probably fail the reverse test - can't recall in enough detail...

EduCated Sun 12-May-13 20:49:47

St Trinian's passes with flying colours, but is highly questionable in many ways confused grin

louisianablue2000 Sun 12-May-13 23:44:55

As an assessment of how feminist any individual film is it's no good though, e.g. The African Queen fails but I'd happily let my daughters watch it. I have a feeling that there might well be more old films that pass than modern ones, unless of course they are those rare 'female ensemble' films.

Dr Who passed this week, The Politician's Wife I'm not sure, there were conversations between named women but think they were all about David Tennant so that fails. Think I mainly watch BBC4 documentaries for a reason... Oh, my Mum's favourite Scott and Bailey definitely passes but you'd hope so with two female leads!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 13-May-13 06:14:17

Lou, it isn't really a measure of feminism. It's a measure of the extent to which women are agents as opposed to adjuncts to the men in the film.

Lio Mon 13-May-13 10:14:21

Apologies, haven't time to read thread so possibly a repeat, but...

Iron Man Three passes the Bechdel test. Rebecca Hall and Gwyneth Paltrow talk about Rebecca Hall' s work for about ten seconds. Slightly less good (and avoiding spoilers): a woman gets shot dead by a man in a position of power over her, and the biggest groups of women are contestants in a beauty pageant wearing bikinis and what I assume are trafficked women being kept for sex.

But it does pass the Bechdel test and I enjoyed it a lot.

louisianablue2000 Mon 13-May-13 13:46:13

Well the reason I used The African Queen as an example of a film that fails the test is precisely because there is no way anyone would think it was a film in which the female character is an adjunct to the male character.

It's an interesting test because of the broad results across all films, if only a few films failed (e.g. the war films previously mentioned) that's fine but I think over half of all films fail and some barely pass which shows there is a systemic problem.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 13-May-13 18:44:54

Haven't seen it, Lou - does it fail the reverse test ie the only conversation between two named men in the film is about a woman?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 17-May-13 09:26:45


Skybore Fri 17-May-13 11:11:37

OneHandFlapping Sat 11-May-13 09:13:02
Can anyone think of a film/tv show that passes a reverse Bechdel test?
I mean two or fewer men in it, who don't have a conversation, or if they do, it's about one of the women characters?
Becasue one doesn't immediately spring to mind.

Yes, Showgirls again! Passes all ways smile

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