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Reverse Bechdel?
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Total posts: [16]
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Reverse Bechdel?:

"The Bechdel Test: Passes. Might have something to do with the fact that you can count the number of male ponies on one hand. The only character to ever even show consistent romantic attraction is Spike. Rarity's obsession with Prince Blueblood came up in the first season, but was quickly shot down when she got the chance to act on it."
"One could even say it passes the test with flying colors."
"Unfortunately it seems to fail the reverse Bechdel test as the only two male ponies to have a conversation with each other (Snips and Snails) are talking about the girl they are both trying to woo."
- From one of the trope lists for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

I am not sure if that is the best way to put it, as whether or not they necessarily have a crush on Rainbow Dash (or Trixie, in season 1) is left up to the viewer interpretation, but the point that male conversations are about female characters remains either way.

For what it's worth, I consider that a bit more fitting, as guys are probably a bit more obsessed with the girls they have crushes on than the gender-flip of this anyway. But that alone doesn't seem to be enough to explain away the relatively less concern about things failing the "reverse bechdel" anyway, which leaves me with the impression that reverse discrimination might be playing a bit of a role here.

Of course, that's putting aside that the oddly specific criteria of the bechdel test also seem oversimplifying and all, but even that I'd agree to disagree on if people were more consistent about it.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]The Bechdel test is not the be-all and end-all of a show's quality. It's only notable in that it's a simple standard that a disproportionate number of shows fail to meet.

Works that fail the reverse-Bechdel are far rarer, so the reverse-Bechdel is not generally considered relevant to discussions of media in general.

edited 6th Dec '11 2:27:16 PM by Iaculus

Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
They think me mad
Yeah, the test isn't even really all that needed for stuff with an audience highly directed at a certain demographic that's almost entirely one gender, I mean, every football broadcast fails the test (and a lot of sports movies do too), the test is notable because a lot of movies and books that aren't directly solely at one gender still fail it.
To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
 4 Fighteer, Tue, 6th Dec '11 2:37:39 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
I didn't think the Bechdel Test was even supposed to be listed as an example on works pages... oops, never mind. It's the other way around — no examples on the trope page.

edited 6th Dec '11 2:38:08 PM by Fighteer

 5 Oscredwin, Tue, 6th Dec '11 3:11:25 PM from The Frozen East
Cold.
I've actually brought up the Reverse Bechdel test in other contexts. I claim that if a work fails the Reverse Bechdel test, then the Bechdel test shouldn't apply. I think a medium should be judged by the ratio of Bechdel to reverse Bechdel failures. The closer this is to one (or if the n values for both are small), the better the medium is with respect to gender.

I've seen people criticize romance plots for failing the Bechdel when they also would fail the reverse bechdel (all anyone talks about is who they're into). I've also seen this used to discuss video games, most of which fail both tests.
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Works that fail the reverse-Bechdel are far rarer, so the reverse-Bechdel is not generally considered relevant to discussions of media in general.
But when it comes to discussion of those particular works, it should be judged independently of how common either is. This site is the first place for which I saw reverse-bechdel criticism applied to MLP:FIM, while I have already seen many other works criticized much more for doing the gender flip thereof or milder.

Again, I don't think it's a particularly bad thing, as pointed out in the OP. It just leaves me wondering about the inconsistency with which this reasoning is applied.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
I don't think that the point of the Bechdel Test is so much to analyze particular works so much as it is media as a whole. It's already been noted that the Bechdel Test isn't meant to judge the overall quality of a work. It doesn't even accurately measure whether or not a work is feminist. An incredibly feminist work can fail the Bechdel test while an incredibly misogynistic work can pass.

I think the point of the Bechdel Test is really to get people to realize how few works can pass it. A work with very few important female characters is fine. The problem is when this becomes pervasive. The fact is simply that a lot more works would pass Reverse your Bechdel Test than would pass the Bechdel Test. If it was the other way around, then the Reverse Bechdel Test would be a lot more important and useful.

 8 USAF713, Tue, 6th Dec '11 6:26:57 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I am personally of the opinion that it doesn't necessarily matter how many members of your cast are one gender or another, so much as it matters that you portray that gender realistically given the setting, time period, and environment that character grew up in.

It does little to have a cast full of women if they're stereotypes, and vice versa for men. Both are still sexist, and both are still useless.

That said, modern fiction is rarely good at having casts that, barring gender balance, at least have realistically portrayals of the genders, and thus "how many female characters are there?" is still, if not quite a metric of egalitarianism, then at least whether or not the author at least bothered to try.

The portrayal of the genders matters more than their actual numbers though, on a work-per-work basis. Even so, I highly doubt a reverse-test would be particularly useful; we already know most fiction is full of mostly men. You seriously can't watch TV for all of an hour before you realize this, between whatever you're watching and all the commercials...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 9 Radical Taoist, Tue, 6th Dec '11 6:45:31 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
Waaaaait a second!

Spike had that argument with the owner of Quills and Sofas! They weren't talking about a female there! MLP passes!
I don't think that the point of the Bechdel Test is so much to analyze particular works so much as it is media as a whole. It's already been noted that the Bechdel Test isn't meant to judge the overall quality of a work. It doesn't even accurately measure whether or not a work is feminist. An incredibly feminist work can fail the Bechdel test while an incredibly misogynistic work can pass. I think the point of the Bechdel Test is really to get people to realize how few works can pass it. A work with very few important female characters is fine. The problem is when this becomes pervasive. The fact is simply that a lot more works would pass Reverse your Bechdel Test than would pass the Bechdel Test. If it was the other way around, then the Reverse Bechdel Test would be a lot more important and useful.
This. There's nothing inherently wrong with having a cast full of male characters. The only reason why it's meaningful is because it's so prevalent. So I don't really see why there would be any concern with failing the "Reverse Bechdel" test. To say it has to do with "reverse discrimination" seems to be missing the entire point of the Bechdel Test.

We're Having All The Fun
Why does it matter if it reaches these arbitrary criteria or not? It is a children's show about talking ponies, I seriously doubt it is trying to spread a misandrist agenda.
All I do, is sit down at the computer, and start hittin' the keys. Getting them in the right order, that's the trick.
Why does it matter if it reaches these arbitrary criteria or not? It is a children's show about talking ponies, I seriously doubt it is trying to spread a misandrist agenda.
The gender-inverse could also be said about many shows the "normal" Bechdel test is used to criticise.

Spike had that argument with the owner of Quills and Sofas! They weren't talking about a female there! MLP passes!
Heh, well there you go.

Still though, now I'm curious as to the standards of "not about the opposite sex." Is the entire conversation not supposed to be about someone of the opposite sex? Is it supposed to not be motivated by someone of the opposite sex? (Spike was looking to get a quill for Twilight Sparkle, after all.)

It's strange that even such seemingly specific criteria can be so vague.

I am personally of the opinion that it doesn't necessarily matter how many members of your cast are one gender or another, so much as it matters that you portray that gender realistically given the setting, time period, and environment that character grew up in.
Thing is, what counts as "realistic" is never really certain. It's an assumption by its very nature. Calling something "misandrous" or "misogynistic" doesn't necessarily prove it unrealistic.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
We're Having All The Fun
The gender-inverse could also be said about many shows the "normal" Bechdel test is used to criticise.

That is a valid point and one I agree with entirely. The Bechdel test is a load of wank, just even moreso when you apply the wank of it with the wank of trying to justify why a children's show is a work of art.

All I do, is sit down at the computer, and start hittin' the keys. Getting them in the right order, that's the trick.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
The gender-inverse could also be said about many shows the "normal" Bechdel test is used to criticise.

The Bechdel Test was never intended to criticise individual shows. All it is is a simple illustration of the general marginalisation of female characters in media.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
[up]Indeed, but fans love to miss the point and apply concepts like this to works they love or hate.
Currently taking a break from the site. See my user page for more information.
The Bechdel test is not a load of wank unless you completely miss the point of it. tongue

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Total posts: 16
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