Putting Children's TV to the Bechdel test

(72 Posts)

Usually films are put to the Bechdel test and fail miserably. For anyone unsure what this test is - the film has to include at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Sounds easy, but very few films pass it.

I've started to pit Kids TV against the Bechdel test to see how many programmes pass, to see what the message is being sent to my DD at an early age.

For those of you who have Disney Channel, a good example is Jake and The Neverland Pirates, where 6 of the 7 main characters are male, as is the parrot and even the sodding ship that they sail on. There is one female character, who, of course is dressed in pink and is only called into action when pixie dust is needed. Other girls are generally mermaids or parrots in distress, who need Jake and his crew to come and save them. Giant FAIL.

Pick a program and put it to the test - does it meet the bechdel criteria? Give it a go!

TheSmallClanger Thu 17-Jan-13 23:38:37

Tracy Beaker, although disliked on MN, passes.

nailak Fri 18-Jan-13 00:03:24

Ben and holly pass

Mickey mouse pass

The winx club pass

Kid detectives pass

Handy manny fail

Oso fail

MikeFlowersPops Fri 18-Jan-13 00:14:46

I find cbeebies massively sexist. Everything's Rosie is appalling, as is Driver Dans story train and Zingzillas. I don't remember kids tv being this bad when I was small <showing my age here>

LadyKinbote Fri 18-Jan-13 05:30:21

Little Princess - pass
Dora the Explorer - probably pass depending on who she meets along the way
Green Balloon Club - pass

Po (red) and Lala (yellow) are the female Teletubbies btw.

SpeverendRooner Fri 18-Jan-13 06:59:36

I was just about to say the opposite about Dora the Explorer. Among the recurring characters, Isa, Mum and Grandma are the only female characters and only Isa gets a name. Arguably Backpack is a named female (within the Dora naming conventions), but she seldom interacts directly with Dora. The quest objectives sometimes come from named females in which case the episode passes, but the majority (that I've seen, at least) fail.

LadyKinbote Fri 18-Jan-13 08:19:20

Speverend you obviously watch more Dora than me!

lisianthus Fri 18-Jan-13 21:35:42

Rastamouse- pass. Yippee! Bechdel test Has it's limitations, but is an interesting tool. The Tweenies pass, but the girl characters were so awful it is the only show I've actually banned.

Trekkie Sat 19-Jan-13 00:10:31

Peppa pig and Ben & holly - same makers - deffo episodes that pass AND have funnyness for grown-ups which is a plus. Today we had the Mutiny on the Bunty episode which is a personal fave smile

other than that... hmm... we are generally off cbeebies and into disney jr and dear lord it's awful

allthegoodnamesweretaken Sat 19-Jan-13 00:39:13

queenoffarking Mary Poppins definitely passes, plus the mum is a suffragette.

notcitrus Sat 19-Jan-13 01:01:10

Rastamouse fails every episode I've seen - Scratchy never gets to talk to the rare female minor characters.

Two Octonauts episodes pass out of 50 or so, when Tweak's friend Sandy the turtle turns up. The Penguin Race special actually has Dashi and Tweak conversing, but about Hugo...

Alphablocks passes - A and I are female.
Balamory passes easily.
Bob the Builder, Postman Pat, Roary the racing car - may pass sometimes.
Andy's Wild Adventures, fail as Kip only talks to Andy.

noblegiraffe Sat 19-Jan-13 09:23:33

Tilly and Friends passes. Three out of the six characters are female, including the lead. Unfortunately Pru, the chicken, is vain and obsessed with her appearance but this is used humorously rather than as something to aspire to. The male characters are all quite caring and gentle rather than going out and having adventures while the girls make tea, in fact the most actiony of the characters is Doodle, the female crocodile.

snowshapes Sat 19-Jan-13 12:59:06

Well, DS has developed a liking for Peppa Pig, so we watched 'Mummy goes to work' this morning.

It may pass the Bechdel test, but here is what happened:

Mummy Pig at computer doing 'important work', Daddy Pig in kitchen making soup. Peppa and George ask Daddy Pig if they can watch Mummy Pig working, end up sitting on her lap, bashing the keyboard, and 'breaking' the computer. Mummy Pig calls for Daddy Pig to come and fix it while she goes and finishes the soup. Daddy Pig fixes it by switching it on and off. Daddy Pig and children pigs end up playing some chicken game and giggling, Mummy Pig finishes the soup, comes upstairs and joins in the giggling at the chicken game. The End.

I'm just hoping that Daddy Pig got the kids dressed for the park after they had eaten the soup and left Mummy Pig in peace and quiet to finish her important work (but you don't see that bit).

noblegiraffe Sat 19-Jan-13 13:15:46

Daddy Pig gets a raw deal, he's frequently incompetent and has to be rescued by Mummy Pig.

LaCiccolina Sat 19-Jan-13 13:17:26

Sheesh u need to run this test to know the general answer?

snowshapes Sat 19-Jan-13 13:19:55

okay, I will reserve judgement until we have watched more episodes of Peppa Pig then.

Waybuloo passes, and I'd have though ITNG does too.

Haven't been exposed to much other new Kids TV yet, so 80's ones that pass
Button Moon
Fraggle Rock
She Ra
Thundercats

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sat 19-Jan-13 14:07:03

Hmm I have doubts about Mary Poppins because Mum's suffragetting is clearly interfering with her ability to be a good housewife and mother - DC are neglected because she's messing about with politics hmm.

Definitely passes the B test though.

In Mary Poppins don't the children end up being really proud of their mum and even the dad is won round at the end?

Hobbitation Sat 19-Jan-13 14:19:11

Kids TV was massively more sexist in the 80s though, and indeed TV in general. Practically all female characters were accessories and you hardly ever had a female lead. If there was a female character they were a stereotype. I was frustrated by this as a child and I'd never heard of feminism. The girl was always the weak one who needed rescuing or who tripped up in the woods when they were being chased by the baddies.

Sometimes now I find it slightly unbelievable when all female characters in something are kickass heroines. Let's have a variety of characters! Men and women can be wimps!

Really? I know I grew up with stuff like She Ra and Jem and the Holograms. They were usually the ones doing the rescuing, not being rescued! Oh and Cheetara from Thundercats!

Schooldidi Sat 19-Jan-13 16:09:35

My favourite program when I was growing up was SuperGran. That definitely passed as the gran had a granddaughter who was brilliant, wore dungarees all the time and constantly out performed the grandson.

Charlizee Sat 19-Jan-13 23:14:00

My little pony- pass with flying colours.

The Simpons isn't a show for young kids, but it passes on the episodes that focus on lisa or marge. These 2 characters feature a lot more episodes focusing on them than early seasons.

Night Garden has a small handful of female characters- upsidy daisy, 1 of the tombliboos and half of the pontipine family. But characters in this show have even less of a volcabulary than the teletubbies. Apart from squeaking all they can say is their own name.

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