Playing With: The Bechdel Test
Basic Trope: Two or more female characters in a given series or movie have at least one conversation that is not about men or anything really relating to men.
Go back to The Bechdel Test
- Straight: Alice and Betty discuss yesterday's math test.
- Exaggerated: Despite being surrounded by men who affect every facet of their lives, including yesterday's math test, Alice and Betty never mention the existence of any male in dialogue.
- Downplayed: Alice and Betty only meet once for the entire course of the story, they quickly greet each other, say goodbye, and run about their business.
- Alice and Betty have other topics to discuss, just as real women do.
- Alice and Betty are in an Improbably Female Cast where males are rare, if not entirely nonexistent.
- Alice and Betty spend the whole movie facing a predicament that requires their full and immediate attention; for them to discuss men would be absurd and counterproductive.
- Aaron and Bob have a conversation not about women.
- Alternately, every conversation but one Alice and Betty have is about men.
- Alternately, every conversation but one Alex and Bob have is about women.
- A meta example: Bob Harrison invents "the Harrison Test" and in order to pass the story must meet three criteria: there are at least two men, they have at least one conversation, and it isn't about women. And this is often used to point out how men's lives seem to be defined by women in the movies.
- Subverted: Alice and Betty have a long, fruitful and insightful conversation about a friend of theirs, with no gender pronouns given, only for the last sentence to reveal that they are talking about Bob...
- Double Subverted: ...and it turns out that "Bob" is actually Roberta and uses the masculine nickname.
- Every time Alice and Betty mention a male, they must wash their mouths out with soap. This includes talking about Euler's Method and units of energy (Newtons).
- In the middle of a scene revolving around a male character doing something major and attention-grabbing, Alice and Betty completely ignore him and talk about something inconsequential.
- Zig Zagged: Alice and Betty's conversation keeps drifting to men, only for it to be revealed that they are not talking about men at all, except they are...
- There are no women, there is only one woman, Alice and Betty never speak to one another, or Alice and Betty only discuss men.
- All of the characters are genderless.
- Enforced: The writer wants to create women who are as multidimensional as their male counterparts and so gives them dialogue unrelated to any man or male character.
- Invoked: Alice and Betty have an important conversation because they refuse to be like the women on TV who only talk about men.
- Exploited: Someone sticks a completely superfluous scene of two women talking into a work, and then brag about how feminist it is.
- Defied: Alice and Betty talk about men because they refuse to be like the women on TV who believe talking about men is beneath them.
- Discussed: "There's more to life than guys and romance, you know."
- Conversed: "Is their refusal to talk about men supposed to be feminist? It seems odd when they have a mutual male friend."
- Implied: Alice and Betty could not possibly have missed Donnie sitting just outside the door to the room where they had their conversation, but they act as if he isn't even there on their way out.
- Deconstructed: Alice and Betty avoid discussing men, but it is revealed that they avoid the subject so completely because they both have some sort of psychological trauma related to men and that they cannot bear to relive it.
- Reconstructed: They deal with their trauma through regular therapy practices and discuss men in a rational proportion to the rest of their lives.
- Played For Laughs: Alice and Betty's conversation involves a witty, funny anecdote or observation.
- Played For Drama: Alice and Betty's conversation means a lot to the plot and/or delves into Contemplate Our Navels territory.
Go back to The Bechdel Test