[[quoteright:309:[[Webcomic/BadMachinery http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bechamel_test_3843.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:309:[[http://scarygoround.com/index.php?date=20130826 "It means your film is bland and cheesy."]]]]

->''"Your women characters are awful. None of them have anything to say for themselves, and most of them either get shot or stabbed to death within five minutes... and the ones that don't probably will later on."''
-->--'''Hans Kieslowski''', ''Film/SevenPsychopaths''

The Bechdel Test, Bechdel-Wallace Test, or the Mo Movie Measure[[note]] named after Mo, the main character of ''DTWOF'', even though it was introduced in a one-off strip before Mo was introduced[[/note]], is a sort of litmus test for female presence in fictional media. The test is named for Alison Bechdel, creator of the comic strip ''DykesToWatchOutFor'', who made it known to the world with [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/zizyphus/34585797/ this strip]].

In order to pass, the film or show must meet the following criteria:
# ''It includes at least two women'',[[note]] Some make the addendum that the women must be ''named'' characters [[/note]]
# ''who have at least one conversation'',[[note]] Because of quibbles regarding what length of time makes a valid conversation, some have proposed the addendum that it last at least 60 seconds.[[/note]]
# ''about something other than a man or men''.[[note]] The exact interpretation of this can vary; some feel that it's okay to mention a man or men so long as they're not the primary subject of the conversation, while others will demand a conversation where men aren't mentioned '''at all'''. Some make the addendum that the conversation also cannot reference marriage, babies, or romance.[[/note]]

If that sounds to you like a pretty easy standard to meet, try applying the test to the media you consume for a while. There's a good chance you'll be surprised; mainstream media that passes is ''far'' less common than you might think.

Now, by limiting yourself to shows/movies that pass the test, you'd be cutting out a ''lot'' of otherwise-worthy entertainment; indeed, a fair number of top-notch works have legitimate reasons for [[ChromosomeCasting including no women]] (e.g. ones set in [[Film/TheShawshankRedemption a men's prison]], or on [[Film/DasBoot a WWII military submarine]], or [[Film/TwelveAngryMen back when only men served on juries]][[note]] Since jury selection is tied to voting registration, and since the play is set after passage of the 19th amendment, the jury could have had women; Gender/ethnic balance wasn't a standard expectation then, though.[[/note]]), or [[WesternAnimation/TheTripletsOfBelleville with no conversations at all]], or having only one or [[Film/MyDinnerWithAndre two characters]]; hell, if its a romantic comedy, then it's natural that the female characters would talk about men and romance – the male characters will likely only talk about women too. You may even be cutting out a lot of works that have feminist themes (it's been revealed that ''Mulan'', the quintessential SweetPollyOliver story and generally held up as one of the most feminist movies in the Disney Canon, ''[[http://www.btchflcks.com/2012/09/women-and-gender-in-musicals-week-mulan.html failed]]'' - though with good reason, as she spends the majority of the movie as the sole woman in a male-only group of soldiers and the rest of the time being around women who are fixated on her wedding, something she was obviously uncomfortable with). But that's the point; the majority of fiction created today, for whatever reason, seems to think women aren't worth portraying except in relation to men. Things have changed since the test was first formulated (the strip in which it was originally suggested was written in 1985), but [[MostWritersAreMale Hollywood]] still needs to be prodded to put in someone other than TheChick.

The test is often misunderstood. The requirements are just what they say they are – it doesn't make any difference if, for instance, the male characters the women talk about are their fathers, sons, brothers, platonic friends, mortal enemies, patients they're trying to save or murderers they're trying to catch, rather than romantic partners. Conversely, if a work seems to pass, it doesn't matter if male characters are present when the female characters talk, nor does it matter if the women only talk about stereotypically girly topics like shoe shopping – or even relationships, as long as it is not relationships ''with men''.

This is because the Bechdel Test is ''not'' meant to give a scorecard of a work's overall level of feminism. It is entirely possible for a film to pass without having overt feminist themes – in fact, the original example of a movie that passes is ''Film/{{Alien}}'', which, while it has feminist subtexts, is mostly just a sci-fi/action/horror flick. A movie can easily pass the Bechdel Test and still be incredibly misogynistic. For instance, the infamously bad ''Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate'' passes the test, but its treatment of women is incredibly {{squick}}y. So does The Bikini Carwash Company, which is little more than tasteless pandering. Conversely, it's also possible for a story to fail the test and still be strongly feminist in other ways, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. What's a problem is that it becomes a pattern – when ''so many'' movies fail the test, while very few show male characters whose lives seem to revolve around women, that says [[UnfortunateImplications uncomfortable things]] about the way Hollywood handles gender. There are also lesser-known variations of the test, such as the [[DeggansRule Race Bechdel Test]], in which two characters of colour talk about anything other than the white leads, and the Reverse Bechdel Test, [[GenderFlip with the roles of men and women swapped]].

It's obviously easier for a TV series, especially one with an EnsembleCast, to pass this test than a film, because there's far more time for the conversation to occur in. To compensate for this, Bechdel-inspired analyses of television often look episode-by-episode, or compare the series' passing Bechdel's Test with its passing a "reverse Bechdel test" (even without such compensation, it's often surprising to notice how long it takes many TV shows to pass). Another tactic would be the probability that a typical two-hour collection of episodes would pass.

Compare TheSmurfettePrinciple – works that follow TheSmurfettePrinciple include a female character strictly for demographic appeal but make no real attempt to treat her as an interesting character in her own right, outside of her relationships with the male characters. See also NeverASelfMadeWoman, which shows that even a well rounded female character with her own goals is most often only relevant to the story by her relationship to a man. Finally, see TokenRomance and RomanticPlotTumor for the effects of Hollywood's belief that both male and female audiences are generally uninterested in female characters except in the context of romance with a male character. See also DeggansRule, which is a similar rule regarding race.

For other tropes regarding the representation of gender in media, see GenderEqualEnsemble (self-explanatory) and ChromosomeCasting (works featuring only male characters or only female, but not both; the former would be the exact reverse of this trope, whereas the latter could be something resembling its logical extreme).

And for those curious, it's pronounced Bec-tal, [[http://www.thereader.ca/2008/07/rhymes-with-rectal-alison-bechdel.html as in rhymes with Rectal]].
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%% '''[[ExampleSectionectomy No examples on this page, please]]''': it leads to people [[EntryPimp pimping]] works on the implications of the test, rather than the objective parameters. Works which pass or refer to the Bechdel Test ''can'' have it noted on their own pages.
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!!Works that ''reference'' the Bechdel Test (named or not):

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by ComicBook/SheHulk in ''ComicBook/JLAAvengers'': "Yo, [[Franchise/WonderWoman Star-shorts]]! I figured that you'd be getting bored so I thought I'd hang with you. We can talk girl-talk. Y'know, butt-kicking, name-taking, like that."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fanfiction ]]

* The novel-length ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia Chronicles Of Narnia]]'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7364661/18/King_Edmunds_Crusade King Edmund’s Crusade]]'' [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] it, though not by name.
--> A wholly feminine conversation was a novelty to Elizabeth, and perhaps to Susan as well. Both of them lived … in a world where masculinity either ruled or was present. Here, in their private conversations, they found they not only could but ''wanted to'' move away from that. The conversation over the next four weeks was not of lipsticks and nylons and invitations; for such things are only feminine, they realized, in so far as defined by men.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Alluded to in ''Film/SevenPsychopaths'' when Hans reads Marty's script; not only does he note that they have nothing interesting to say for themselves, but the only notable thing they do is die horribly five minutes later.
-->'''Hans''': Your women characters are awful. None of them have anything to say for themselves, and most of them either get shot or stabbed to death within five minutes... and the ones that don't probably will later on.\\
'''Marty''': Well... it's a hard world for women. You know? I guess that's what I'm trying to say.\\
'''Hans''': Yeah, it's a hard world for women, but most of the ones I know can string a sentence together.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' fandom book ''Chicks Dig Time Lords'' includes an essay about companion Nyssa of Traken. The author points out that many of Nyssa's episodes pass the Bechdel test, and includes a brief explanation of what the test is.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode ''Magnetic'' Lana Lang and Chloe Sullivan are enjoying a day at the Lowell County fair, their "girls' day out" when Lana mentions Clark by name. Chloe responds with, "And we almost went through an entire day without mentioning our favorite farm boy."
* In ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' Amy and Bernadette comment that, without Penny around, they can talk candidly about their work instead of it devolving into a discussion about guys and relationships. This falls apart when some prospective suitors at a bar send them some drinks, and they turn into giggling schoolgirls.
* Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 once had a host segment lampshading how the show sort of fails this due to TheSmurfettePrinciple. Crow begins a discussion of how women are poorly represented, which promptly derails into [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1CvTlQSrYY a conspiracy rant about how women don't actually exist]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' references the reverse Bechdel test in the title of [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1426 this strip]].
* Discussed starting in [[http://www.dumbingofage.com/2011/comic/book-1/04-the-bechdel-test/thehangover/ this]] ''Webcomic/DumbingOfAge'' strip. Also played with -- as pointed out in the last panel, most [[GirlOnGirlIsHot lesbian porn]] will automatically pass the Bechdel Test. It further elaborates on the flaws of the test not necessarily indicating feminism, and later one male character implies that his own life would not pass the reverse Bechdel Test.
* ''Webcomic/SkinHorse'' namechecks it [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/skinhorse/series.php?view=archive&chapter=45896 here]], when even the lesbian cast member decides it's fine to discuss local MemeticSexGod Tip.
* ''Webcomic/LeftoverSoup'': [[http://www.leftoversoup.com/archive.php?num=50 "Bechdel Test passed, bitches."]]
* In ''Webcomic/MagickChicks'', when Cerise and Callista go to a date, Callista [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/bechdel_test complains]] that the movie they've seen didn't pass the test.
* ''Webcomic/UnwindersTallComics'' references the test on [[http://tallcomics.com/?id=100 page 100]] with the Rastov Test (which, instead of dealing with feminism, is a dig at overly-elaborate {{Space Opera}}s and TechnoBabble).
-->'''Unwinder:''' You may know a bit about [Warren Rastov] actually. Ever heard of the Rastov test?\\
'''Barbecue Sauce:''' Is that like where a book or movie is only good if it has less than four warring factions, and they have to say at least one sentence that isn't full of made-up space jargon?\\
'''Unwinder:''' That's the one. It was actually a pretty direct response to his father's work. They had some issues.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', it's [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4316 part of the flood of words that beat down Slick when he searches on feminism.]] Later, [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4635 Slick writes a screenplay that, strictly speaking, passes the test.]]
* In ''{{Skull Panda Loves Everything}}'', Rikk Estoban creates a series of [[http://skullpanda.com/post/22831285269 "Skull Panda Passes the Bechdel Test" strips.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Wondermark}}'', ''[[http://wondermark.com/521/ Punching Stuff Until it Blows Up 2: Strong Female Character]]'' passes the Bechdel Test: [[AltText she talks to the ROBOT QUEEN about EXPLOSIONS!]]
* "{{Webcomic/Roommates}} #[[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-304-Bechdel-356375590 304]] - Bechdel" And yes, it has girls talking about something else than men (revenge). In general it's not a female centric work, but a fangirl oriented meta fanservice comic with CastFullOfPrettyBoys[[note]]It doesn't even have any female characters till page 9 and they don't talk to each other more than a sentence on-panel till #62, which almost passes the test with its subject being university stuff but that sadly includes professors.[[/note]].
* In ''Webcomic/BadMachinery'', Lottie has heard of the Test, though she seems to be a bit [[http://scarygoround.com/index.php?date=20130826 unclear on the details.]] Later, she invokes it to show that [[http://www.scarygoround.com/?date=20130912 there's a problem with the timeline she's in.]] Or at least with one of her friends.
* {{VideoGame/Bravoman}}: In the Webcomic titled "[[http://shiftylook.com/comics/bravoman/test-failed Test Failed]] Bravowoman and [[CuteAndPsycho Waya Hime]] get into a fight when Waya Hime mistakes Bravowoman for Bravoman's wife. Bravowoman lampshades it, and Alpha man says her meta jokes are better than Bravoman's. They later realize that the strip would be getting angry letters if the only two females killed each other off so Bravoman stops the fight.
-->"This is Stupid! You realize that we're the first two female characters in this series and we're fighting over a dude? You're ruining our Bechdel Test score!"
* ''Webcomic/Level30Psychiatry'': the author comments for [[http://lvl30psy.thecomicseries.com/comics/71/ this strip]] mention that it is the first with an all male cast, thus passing the Reverse Bechdel Test.
* ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'' features an AffectionateParody strip titled ‘[[http://www.sandraandwoo.com/2014/04/10/0571-a-talk-between-women/ A Talk Between Women]]’, passing, um, [[ParodiedTrope with flying colours]] the ‘something other than men’ part of the test.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* A ''WebVideo/FeministFrequency'' [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/leefalhead/the-bechdel-test-1dq8 video]] shows a large number of popular movies that fail the test. In a running joke, Anita yawns, wanders away, comes back with an apple, and eats it, [[OverlyLongGag while the movie posters are still blinking steadily along in the background]].
** Anita discusses the test again [[http://www.feministfrequency.com/2012/02/the-2012-oscars-and-the-bechdel-test/ here]]. She proposes that the test be modified so that the scene in question must last at least sixty seconds to pass. She also describes a variant of the test for people of color, where at least two named non-white characters discuss something other than a white person. She rejects the concept of the Reverse Bechdel Test as she believes it contributes to the idea that women aren't oppressed.
* Name Dropped in ''AHDotComTheCreepyTeenYears'' episode 2x19. It's noted as being the first time the series actually passed the test. The two women are discussing vacation plans.
* [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] brings up the importance of the third point during his review of ''Sultry Teenage Super Foxes''. Yes, the cast is almost uniformly female, but they never talk about anything but men. Unless you count the villains, that is. Even the protagonists obtaining superpowers was nothing more than a means to the end of them attracting men.
** In "The Culling: ''Legion Lost'' #9" review he notes that Rose Wilson and Caitlin Fairchild technically pass during their DesignatedGirlFight, where they talk about betrayal and the latter's HeelFaceTurn. "[[DamnedByFaintPraise So I guess there's another positive we can give to this idiotic story]]."
* Talked about in ''WebVideo/ExtraCredits'' in the episode "[[http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/diversity Diversity]]".
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick'':
** In her review of ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', she pointed out that it was one of the only superhero movies to pass the test. She then told her audience to go look up what the Bechdel Test was.
** When she reviewed ''Film/{{Matilda}}'', guest reviewer Creator/MaraWilson mentions that everyone's gender in the movie seems entirely incidental, and that it passes the test.
* In ''WebVideo/VampireReviews'' (a spin-off of The Nostalgia Chick, above), [[VampireVannabe Maven]], desperately trying to find ten positive things to say about ''Literature/{{Twilight}},'' notes that it technically passes the test when Bella talks to other women about [[AllWomenLoveShoes shoes]] and [[NeverASelfMadeWoman having babies]].
* ''WebVideo/StuffYouLike'' references this when reviewing ''Film/{{Underworld}}'' [[http://blip.tv/stuffyoulike/halloween-special-5-ridiculously-entertaining-things-about-underworld-5680230 here]]. The scene is [[ActionGirl Selene]] and Erika (briefly) discussing dresses (before going on to talk about... umm... men).
-->'''[[DeadpanSnarker Subtitles]]:''' Did they just pass the Bechdel Test?
* The website of ''Bitch'' magazine ("[[{{Tagline}} Feminist responses to pop culture"]]) has posted [[http://bitchmagazine.org/post/televism-the-bechdel-spectrum an entire article]] on this subject.
* Bernie Su, a writer of ''WebVideo/TheLizzieBennetDiaries'', comments as WordOfGod on passing the test with episode 16, in which Lizzie and depressed Charlotte discuss their career plans and prospects. Bernie Su says it was fairly late episode, but not that surprising when you consider that ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' is the source material for their adaptation. However, earlier episodes might count as passing with flying colours, e.g. episode 2 has Lizzie and her sister Jane discussing Jane's professional life.
* In ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-4-best-moments-in-worst-movies-ever-made_p2/ The 4 Best Moments in the Worst Movies Ever Made]], Luke [=McKinney=] points out that the movie based on the video game ''Franchise/DeadOrAlive'' "physically beats the shit out of the Bechdel test" "within the first 10 minutes".
* A Website/PlatypusComix article dedicated to the obscure ''Franchise/ArchieComics'' series ''Marvelous Maureen'' comments on a scene of Maureeen and Clarissa [=DuBois=] arguing over Wonder Blunder like so:
-->...if they're trapped in the vacuum of space with a presumably finite air supply, and they want to spend their time flunking the Bechdel Test, then I guess so be it.
* Referenced by Creator/DougWalker in the Sibling Rivalry of ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2'', as he complains that the movie would have been better if Lucy and the daughters had actually talked to each other. His brother and co-reviewer (Rob) however, thinks that's a stupid thing to complain about in a kid's movie and makes him drop it.
* While agreeing with every point about female representation, and even stating the test, when taken on the whole, is useful for provoking thought, Creator/BobChipman delivered [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/8695-Blecch-Dull-Tests a scathing criticism]] of making too much of a particular movie passing or failing. He points out that ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'' with Linda Hamilton's kick-ass Sarah Connor, and the very progressive ''Film/PacificRim'' with its strong leading lady Mako Mori, would both fail. Meanwhile, ''Debbie Does Dallas'' and ''The Bikini Carwash Company'' – two movies which, to state the obvious, are about as far removed from the feminist movement as could be – would both pass with flying colors, as would many Creator/NicholasSparks novels. He proposes an alternative test, one that judges films by whether they have
## at least ''one'' major female character,
## who has a fully-developed story arc,
## that doesn't revolve around a male character.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Other ]]

* While she didn't call it by name, Creator/LaurenFaust referenced this trope, claiming that a [[RomanticPlotTumor focus on romantic plots and subplots]] is what [[GirlShowGhetto ruins a lot of girl's shows]].
* This blog [[http://disney-blog.com/2011/05/the-bechdel-test-and-disney-films/ references the Bechdel Test as it relates to Disney animated movies and that one that passes the test is not as rare as you might think.]] Pixar is much worse in this regard. Many Disney films have two female characters interacting about something other than a man, but fail to pass the test due to [[AnimalTalk one of the parties being an animal]].
* [[http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-schools-teach-screenwriters-not-to-pass-the-bechdel-test/ This article]] explains why so few movies pass the test lately, identifying it as a systemic problem that has its roots in what Hollywood producers believe about women and their difficulty with the characterization of women in general.
* In November 2013, several Swedish arthouse cinemas will commence using the Bechdel test to give an indication of the level of gender bias in films, similar to warnings about films containing violence, sex, language etc.
* [[http://sittingduck1313.livejournal.com/501902.html This blog]] applies the Bechdel test to every movie featured on Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000.
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