The Bechdel test: Two named female characters have to have a conversation about something other than a man for the film to pass.  Question Who's Online | Find Members | Private Messages
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68,033 hits 3.0 (2 votes) Share Favorite | Flag 5 years ago by 314159

Does your favourite movie pass the Bechdel test?
The Bechdel test: Two named female characters have to have a conversation about something other than a man for the film to pass.


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5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 3:56:28 PM EST (GMT-5)
I read about this in entertainment weekly a bit ago and was surprised at the failure rate.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:32:35 PM EST (GMT-5)
Alien and Aliens, two of my all time favourites.

That said, this test is ridiculous bullsh*t. Why? Alien3 fails, because it only has one female character. Let's forego that the female in question is the heroine of the piece and saves mankind...
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:36:27 PM EST (GMT-5)
I don't think anyone actually thinks a failure of the Bechdel test means a single movie is necessarily bad or unfeminist.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:41:46 PM EST (GMT-5)
Sadly some do, even though it's never meant as anything more than a comment on the industry as a whole.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:45:15 PM EST (GMT-5)
Having said that, I think Alien 3 represents the whole thing in microcosm pretty well. The people creating films just don't think to put women in. It never had to be al all male refinery. A couple of those characters could easily have been female.

I'm not sure if my favourite film (Run Lola Run) passes. Depends if her mum counts as a named character.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:57:53 PM EST (GMT-5)
It wasn't a refinery, it was a prison. A prison planet, to be exact, with a refinery on it.

Since there were no cells, bars or restraints, making a prison that was populated with murderers and rapists co-ed would be something of a boo-boo, don't you think?
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 4:59:09 PM EST (GMT-5)
I can't choose a top favorite film...so I looked at my highest rated films on imdb and 6 out of 10 of the highest rated films listed pass the test.
Before I went and looked, I expected it was going to be lower.

But I do think the test doesn't take a lot of things into account. There needs to be more added onto it to account for films that revolve around a single female character and give a strong depiction (and other stuff like that).
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 5:00:34 PM EST (GMT-5)
Er, not just a single character. Just, films that have a sole female lead, I meant.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 5:03:11 PM EST (GMT-5)
Trouble is, a lot of films go "let's put a strong woman character in" than forget that for every other character, or, more likely, they get written out by the studio. The guy who made Gravity got told to change the main character to a man because the studio said it wasn't believable.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 5:18:45 PM EST (GMT-5)
I don't think having one female character necessarily makes the film "unfeminist". It really depends on the situation and what the film is about.

I also don't think the female lead necessarily has to be "strong". You can have a troubled or "weak" character as long as they're being represented as a full human being. A good representation of a "weak" character can be more feminist than a hollow, shallow representation of a "strong" character.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 5:19:43 PM EST (GMT-5)
Also, that's just more of me pondering and I'm only half responding to you because I'm not sure why you were responding to me with that and...um...yeah.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/13/13 - 5:31:43 PM EST (GMT-5)
I'm also sort of pondering. Don't mind me.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 3:24:34 AM EST (GMT-5)
The Craft does.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 3:30:04 AM EST (GMT-5)
Well, in some scenes, the witches discuss getting revenge on a man, but that's not what the whole movie is about and it basically revolves around those four women.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 5:02:56 AM EST (GMT-5)
i have lots of favourite movies, but i'm gonna go with mulholland drive and yes it does, with aplomb
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 5:06:14 AM EST (GMT-5)
On Friday 12/13/13 - 4:45:15 PM 314159 wrote:
Having said that, I think Alien 3 represents the whole thing in microcosm pretty well. The people creating films just don't think to put women in. It never had to be al all male refinery. A couple of those characters could easily have been female.

i'm with guilty on this one actually. alien 3 being all male is a good thing because it's about an all male environment specifically. there is a reason for it, it's not just thoughtless. also there are neat interpretations of that film being about aids in the homosexual community. and the alien films in general are about f*cked up sexual stuff so an oppressively masculine environment heightens this (and they do play on it with her being in danger of rape)
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 5:07:58 AM EST (GMT-5)
also the bechdale test is interesting for pointing out how marginalised women are in films in general, but it's useless for analysing specific films
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 5:32:54 AM EST (GMT-5)
i'm going to do this for other films i love because it's fun
cleo from 5 to 7 - lots of women, lots of conversations about stuff not relating to men, a+
my night with maud - all about a guy and which woman he picks, they don't even meet each other, FAIL
master and commander - no women at all apart from one scene where they dock and russell crowe makes eyes at a native girl so the audience knows he's not gay, ULTRAFAIL
leviathan - complete fail but it also fails the reverse bechdale test as nobody has a conversation with anybody
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 8:02:07 AM EST (GMT-5)
I don't think it's fair to apply it to all films. 300, for example, is a hyper-masculine fantasy and it never tries to be anything different. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that.

Rom-coms also tend to be pinged for this but it's quite difficult to pass when your entire plot hinges on man getting with woman.

Anything else is fair game and it is very useful in an age when studios are still rather reluctant to finance films with female leads.

NB. Before anyone counters with Hunger Games, that film would never have been made if it wasn't a hugely successful book franchise first.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 8:06:56 AM EST (GMT-5)
honestly 300 annoyed me a little by introducing an unnecessary subplot with the guy's wife back home. if anything it could use less women
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 9:26:50 AM EST (GMT-5)
Don't diss Cersei! She was awesome in 300.
Also, I thought it nicely underlined how everyone in sparta was pretty badass.

And yes, you can't apply it to individual films. But 300 isn't a lone film about men in amongst loads of films about women, which is the point.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 10:48:24 AM EST (GMT-5)
On Saturday 12/14/13 - 8:02:07 AM Ongooshk wrote:
Anything else is fair game and it is very useful in an age when studios are still rather reluctant to finance films with female leads.


And how is Hollywood to blame for this? Where are the strong female leads in the real world?

Art imitates life, not the other way around.

Give you an Example. Ghosts of Mars. Not a great film, by any standard. But the most unbelievable thing about that film wasn't the ridiculous sci-fi elements, it was the matriarchal society.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 1:13:34 PM EST (GMT-5)
I don't think 2 female characters talk in my favorite movie. I can't remember if either is named.

My second favorite movie... Maybe. Does it count if the characters are Siamese twins portrayed by the same actors? What if one is a child and the other is a midget?
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 10:58:49 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Saturday 12/14/13 - 8:02:07 AM Ongooshk wrote:
Anything else is fair game and it is very useful in an age when studios are still rather reluctant to finance films with female leads.
On Saturday 12/14/13 - 10:48:24 AM Guilty_Spark wrote:
And how is Hollywood to blame for this? Where are the strong female leads in the real world? Art imitates life, not the other way around. Give you an Example. Ghosts of Mars. Not a great film, by any standard. But the most unbelievable thing about that film wasn't the ridiculous sci-fi elements, it was the matriarchal society.


There are many "strong female leads". You just don't notice them, or choose to ignore them.
5 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/14/13 - 11:22:16 PM EST (GMT-5)
I'm pretty sure The Fall doesn't pass.

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