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Putting Children's TV to the Bechdel test

(86 Posts)
KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Thu 17-Jan-13 11:15:39

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!

Imsosorryalan Thu 17-Jan-13 21:46:26

Slightly off topic but I am finding it hard to actually find many current cbeebies programmes with positive female leads!
Everything's Rosie?
Angelina boring ballerina? - hardly inspiring..
<hops back over to feminism boards, grumbling>

Schooldidi Thu 17-Jan-13 21:46:52

There are quite a few that wouldn't pass either way aren't there?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 21:47:01

DadOnIce, there are a fair few episodes of Doctor Who that do fail (the one with the scary dollhouse, for example). But a lot would probably fail a test whereby any two characters who are not the Doctor discuss something that isn't the Doctor, or the Doctor and Rory only talk about Amy.

So an episode with Amy and River in would pass if they were discussing their travels but fail if discussing Rory or the Doctor. Ditto an episode with Rose and her mum or Martha and her mum might or might not pass depending on subjects discussed.

( I love Doctor Who and RTD is much better than most at gender mix and also his female characters are pretty varied, unlike Ballpark's description above)

Schooldidi Thu 17-Jan-13 21:50:42

Imsosorry what about Nina and the Neurons, I can cook, Me too! (Granny Murray is brilliant!!), Wooley and Tig (dd2 loves this). These are the ones we watch most often.

PelvicFloorClenchReminder Thu 17-Jan-13 21:51:14

The Flumps - pass
Bagpuss - pass
Little Einsteins - pass

The Wombles - fail
Ivor The Engine - fail

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 21:57:53

Well IgglePiggle and Makka Pakka talk in ITNG sometimes. And Wiki says MP is male.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 17-Jan-13 22:12:42

Dangermouse, massive fail. sad <clings devotedly to DM boxset despite its fail>

DoubleYew Thu 17-Jan-13 22:14:04

Agree, I think a lot of ones for younger viewers are hard to do as lots of the characters are hard to sex or don't really speak. I mean what gender are all the Tellytubbies? How do you tell?

Alphablocks - pass surely?
Show me Show me - pass
Me Too (I had to look up what this is called, the "Honey Pie" one) - Pass

Not sure about other progs, will watch with (slightly more) interest.

Imsosorryalan I really like Woolly and Tig. She is allowed to be grumpy or scared or whatever, sure she learns a lesson but I find it a refreshing change from all the simpering. Plus its not her job to mother all the other characters. But her dad is the gay one out of Taggart which I always find a bit distracting!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:00

Will record w

duchesse Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:29

double, Everything's rosie fgails for me on the basis that Rosie is "mother" to all the other characters, most of which are male, and that the boy is an utter little shit. I guess that's not the bechdel test though.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:18:21

Will record wooly and tig and Me Too - thanks.

Scooby Doo probably mostly fails.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:19:43

Rory the racing car -fail - though Cici and the female mechanic maybe talk occasionally?

TomDudgeon Thu 17-Jan-13 22:20:25

Tweak and dashi so two
Suspect it still fails though. Can't think of any times those two talk to each other

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:21:49

My friends Tigger and Pooh - maybe 50:50? Darby must talk to Kanga and the hedgehog character sometimes...

Maisy Mouse - I think this passes as both Maisy and Tallulah are female, though whether they engage in conversation is debatable hmm

Thomas - big fat fail.

Pingu - erm. Not entirely sure what gender all the characters are or what they 'talk' to each other about but Pingu is deffo a boy penguin.

I have a toddler. Can you tell?

I also have a 9yr old DD and I don't let her watch any TV aimed at children her age as I find it all utterly narsty and depressing. So I have no idea about TV for bigger kids. She does like films though, I shall pay close attention next time we watch something. The last thing I can think of was Mary Poppins which I think passes.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 17-Jan-13 22:27:56

Scooby Doo passes every time the main villain is female because Velma always does the exposition. Daphne and Velma don't talk to each other much, but there's normally a decent size cast of guest stars for them to talk to.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:36:12

Good point, ladyIs - I was thinking that velma and ds

Queen, I think the seal is male, the baby sibling is female. There was a female friend in Pingu and the Snowboards. So where mum and sister are featured, it's a pass - otherwise mostly a fail.

Christ, this shit is In My Brain. I used to Know Things. <sobs>

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:36:53

Velma and daphne rarely talk, that was supposed to be.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:38:53

If I don't know what they are talking about because it's not real language, I'm giving it benefit of the doubt if it's two named females talking.

Lazytown? Are there any girls in the gang apart from Stephanie?

Ah but what are they talking about? Its hard to tell grin but I suspect its Pingu himself a lot of the time which would make it a fail?

stubbornstains Thu 17-Jan-13 22:40:08

Abney and Teal only fails because there is only one male character and one female character and all the rest are indeterminate (oh no, sorry, I forgot Toby Dog, he must be male..And then of course, there was the slightly odd episode where Bop had babies, which means she must be female)

. But Teal is the active, adventurous character, whereas Abney is the careful, home loving one who cooks and knits....

Oh ok x post there.

pluCaChange Thu 17-Jan-13 22:42:15

Big Barn Farm: pass (Petal is so self-centred, she would never talk about anyone but herself. Her mum, Mrs snuffles, is similarly besotted by Petal)

Show Me, Show Me: I think it passes, if you accept that Pui's ventriloquising is interaction with female characters like Momo and Miss Mouse.

Numberjacks: BIG pass! Three may be annoying, but she's dynamic, and she does adance plots. the "older" numbers are more expository, and since every other is female, that's all covered.

64 zoo Lane: pass

Good discussion idea!

Imsosorryalan Thu 17-Jan-13 23:08:40

Yes, I'll accept Woolley and tig and nina but thinking of this from a positive role model perspective and not linking this to a bechdel test;

I can cook- its another woman..doing the cooking.
Me too! - a woman looking after the kids

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 17-Jan-13 23:17:33

One of the million reasons I hate ZIngzillas is because it replaced Space Pirates, which wouldn't have passed the Bechdel Test but showed decent female characters. The girl crewmember wasn't just one of the smartest characters, but she was active and scruffy as well. The singing rat who led the band was a girl. And they showed quite a few female musicians and singers - and now there's ZingfuckingZillas which has girly wussy squeaky females who are usually in the way or having to be looked after, and very few female musicians.

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