Last week, I was catching up on some of my blog reading and I read something that REALLY intrigued me. It’s called the “Bechdel Test.” It’s used to identify gender bias in fiction, especially in films, though it easily crosses over into the written word. In order to pass the test, the movie or book must contain the following three criteria:
1. It has to have at least two named women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man.
You’d think there’d be a TON of movies and books that have these three elements in them, but last night, my step-mom and I were trying to name some movies that pass the Bechdel Test and it was surprisingly difficult to do. Here’s the link we used to check our movies in our impromptu quiz: Bechdel Test Movie List.
When you start breaking it down and REALLY thinking about it, there are TONS of movies where male, “named characters” talk to each other about something other than a woman. They talk about war, and politics, and saving the world. They talk about LIFE! Why is the reverse true? This makes NO sense to me!!! Even if the “named” female characters aren’t talking about their husbands or boyfriends, they’re talking about their father, their son, a male teacher, a male coworker…they’re still talking about a man. I don’t get it!!! And…I’m surprised I’ve never noticed this before. Seriously? I’m a woman. I do have female friends. We talk about things besides the “males” in our life. Yes. It can be done. LOL So WHY isn’t this reflected in movies and literature? This was taken straight off of Wikipedia’s site:
Explanations that have been offered to explain why relatively few films pass the Bechdel test include the relative lack of diversity among scriptwriters, or their assumptions about the audience’s preferences: A scriptwriting student at UCLA wrote in 2008 that she was told by professors that the audience “only wanted white, straight, male leads” and not, as she quoted a male industry professional as saying, “a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”
Wow! Umm… Yeah… Us gals only talk about pantyhose and lip gloss. No wonder no one wants to listen to what we have to say. Pfftttt!!!!!! I must have missed that particular memo. Maybe I was out taking pictures, or catching up on world events, or working in my garden, or putting new brakes on my car!!! Sadly, if two named female characters do have an insipid conversation about shoes or makeup, the movie or book passes the Bechdel Test, though I think it misses the point of the test. Big time!
I’ve seen lots of movies and read lots of books that have male and female characters in them. And yes, I’ve seen these characters interact with each other as equals. So why can’t the “named” female characters interact with each other as people. Why do they only interact with each other directly when a guy is involved? Would we all run for popcorn if two women talked to each other about ANYTHING other than a man? Would everyone ask for their money back?
Let me check my calender…I think I need to see what century we’re living in.
Have a great day!