Feminist Friday: How Valuable is the Bechdel Test?

Victim to Charm

Think about the last movie you saw. Were there two or more female characters? Did they talk to each other about something besides men?

The Bechdel test, created by Alison Bechdel, examines female roles in movies by asking three questions:

  • Are there two or more women in the film?
  • Do they talk to each other?
  • Is their conversation about something other than a man?

alison bechdel, dykes to watch out for From Alison Bechdel’s comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” (1985).

The test seems simple—women talk to each other about things besides men all the time in real life—yet a surprisingly high number of movies fail to represent this basic activity.

5540832_origThe test is so basic because it’s a standard that should be easy to pass. The fact that so many movies fail to achieve one, two, or all three of the test’s clauses highlights the rampant misogyny of the film industry. If a movie can’t…

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The Translation of I Love You

Writes With Pencils

Rosalie births a Francophile

For me, my early childhood didn’t exist before the book Rosalie the Bird Market Turtle was a part of it. The drawings were sketched out in improv jazz riffs of the early sixties. The palette was simple.  Shades of sienna and black line sketches were smudged with charcoal from a Montmartre street artist’s tray and stained with strawberry details, the old-fashioned kind that are red all the way through and smell like jam. The illustrator included all the classic Parisian scenes. The gendarme pointed with authority on a street corner. A waiter in a long, white apron and thin moustache served patrons at a busy sidewalk café. Lovers gazed at each other as they passed a green grocer in a cobbled market street. Vendors sold old books and artists painted along the Seine. And gargoyles perched on the towers of Notre Dame watching the street life below. I was fascinated…

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