Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Passing The Test

How many films in the last few months that you've seen feature more than one woman having a conversation, that isn't about men? In fact, how many films have you seen where two women actually talk to each other? Still going further, have the films featured more than one woman?

These questions are the basis of the three rules for passing The Bechdel Test.

The Bechdel Test was first introduced in 1985 in Alison Bechdel's comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For (see above). The comic strip entitled 'The Rule' featured an unnamed female character saying she would only watch a film if it satisfies 3 requirements. Those are:

1. The film has to have at least two women in it
2. The women have to talk to each other
3. The conversation they have has to be about something besides a man or men

Variants for the test have been mentioned, such as, the women characters have to be named and their conversations have to be longer than 60 seconds.

In 2013, Swedish cinemas and the Scandinavian Tv channel, Viasat Film incorporated the Bechdel test into some of their ratings. This move was supported by the Swedish Film Institute. A new rating system has even been invented and films have been given a pass or not according to whether the film passes the Bechdel Test in some way. The reaction has been, so far, positive. 

Film School Rejects recently posted about The Bechdel Test and a list of some of the most critically acclaimed films that failed the rest. You can read it here.

Looking over my 10 favourite films, I think only one passes the test, but only just. 
As Film School Rejects points out, it is a sad fact that there aren't enough roles for women and the role that are out there, are limited. Look for for those films that celebrate female roles that aren't just the same old thing. And ignore anything with Angelina Jolie in it, she's just awful. Personal preference, but its still important I say it. 

When watching a film, keep The Bechdel Test in mind. 

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