Useful Notes The Bechdel Test Discussion

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03:44:18 PM Nov 19th 2014
So if a movie can fail the test while still possessing overtly feminist themes or pass the test without portraying women in a very good light, then what's the point of the test?
11:51:17 PM Nov 19th 2014
People have different opinions on what a film has to have to count as feminist. This test is one particular idea.
11:57:56 PM Nov 19th 2014
Some people believe women have the right to be portrayed in films without always being shown in relation to men.
02:41:05 PM Nov 20th 2014
Quoting from the trope page:

"This is because the Bechdel Test is not meant to give a scorecard of a work's overall level of feminism... 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 uncomfortable things about the way Hollywood handles gender."
12:22:46 AM Aug 3rd 2014
edited by
I believe Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran would pass the Bechdel Test. The two protagonists, Ran the Ronin and Meow the Martial artist do have conversations about subjects other than men.
05:00:06 PM Nov 7th 2013
Would it not be a good idea to have on this page a list of (at least notable) films which pass the test?
12:38:52 PM Nov 13th 2013
There Is No Such Thing as Notability. This page also used to have examples that passed the test but were removed.
01:52:07 PM Nov 28th 2013
Just because that's true doesn't mean examples must be notable. They just have to exist.

Mind you, perhaps the list might potentially go on forever...
03:03:14 PM May 20th 2014
I can see how having a list on the page might make the entry rather long. Or perhaps not, seeing as that's the whole point of the Test and all. But either way, maybe if there was a separate page of works that pass the test? I know I'd be interested in seeing such a list.
11:33:06 PM Jul 23rd 2013
"or murderers they're trying to catch" what is the Gender of the suspect is unknown? Or they assumed it was a Male during the conversation but turns out they where wrong, or visca versa.
08:25:37 PM Jul 21st 2013
I removed this entry:

  • As of summer 2013, the highest ranked movie in the IMDb's Top 250 to pass the "weak" form of the test is Raiders of the Lost Ark, at #27. Marion and another female character talk about a monkey. (It doesn't pass the strong form since the other woman is not named, and the conversation is less than 60 seconds.)

The header says that the examples should be works that reference the test (named or not). It should list arbitrarily chosen works that may or may not pass.
09:23:04 PM Jul 21st 2013
That said, I think including that tidbit somewhere in the description wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, because I do think it's pretty interesting.

But yes, most definitely shouldn't be in the examples section.
11:19:06 PM Jun 30th 2013
It'd be interesting to create an inverted Bechdel for girl-, and woman-oriented media. Most movies/series/books that boast about passing the Bechdel test with flying colors wouldn't pass a male version of it. Take Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City. Or in kids' media Winx Club or Totally Spies!. In the latter, male characters except Jerry are either irredeemably evil or handsome beefcake to be swooned over, occasionally both. Even series with a strong cross-gender appeal and Periphery Demographic like Powerpuff Girls or My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic would struggle; heck, they'd hardly pass requirement #1. In the webcomic series No Pink Ponies, not one of the male characters is ever named, even though its only lampshaded with the male lead. I guess it's like with abuse: as long as males are the targets, nobody cares much.
12:33:31 AM Jul 1st 2013
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is aimed at girls. Girls want to see female characters. There are plenty of things that target neither a male nor female audience but don't pass the Bechdel Text, like Lord of the Rings. I don't mind action movies not passing the Bechdel Text. The ponies are fine.
05:17:35 PM Jul 13th 2013
Lord of the Rings, with its war and last stand of Humanity setting, is pretty much male-oriented. A better example for mixed gender appeal would be Harry Potter or The Princess Bride, though I have to say the former would probably only pass the test by a hairsplit, if at all. I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy that media designed "for girls/women" suffers the same problems with inverted gender roles. You're right of course, I wouldn't want stallions featured in MLP just so the producers can say "There, happy now?", or a Very Special Episode about gender equality; it just struck me as odd that the two major recurring male characters hardly as much as shared a scene, much less talk to one another.
06:59:49 AM Aug 21st 2013
It's good to keep in mind that the Bechdel test really has nothing to do with the quality of a given work. A work isn't necessarily bad if it fails or good if it passes. It's really just designed to show that, in general, media does not do a good job of portraying women as independent characters. It's less about the individual works passing and more about the ratio of works that pass to ones that don't. That's why people don't really care about the male version. There's certainly media, mostly aimed at women or girls, that passes the Bechdel test but wouldn't pass the reverse. But it's a minority compared to the media that doesn't pass, including a lot of stuff that's supposed to appeal to both men and women.
11:35:29 PM Jan 11th 2013
So uh...if this trope isn't meant to be a score card, why is it that 90% of the entries outside of this page mostly just consist of "Passes it."
10:22:57 PM Feb 22nd 2013
True, it probably shouldn't even be named a "test" in that context.
12:43:20 AM Apr 26th 2013
Would you like to suggest a better way to say it?
02:32:02 PM Jun 12th 2013
Chemicals don't "fail" a pH test, and bacteria don't "pass" a Gram stain test. Bechdel-positive or Bechdel-negative perhaps?
02:09:10 PM Oct 10th 2013
Thing is, the test is undergoing Trope Decay in the real world. As it gets well known more and more people use it as a score card, including some of the examples on the page, without considering that 90% of nunsploitation films pass with flying colours.
07:59:25 AM Dec 11th 2013
Eagal: Because it's a simple way to look at the issue of sexism without needing to think about context and setting and nuance and all that pesky stuff.

Michael: I'm not sure if it can be called trope decay if the predominant usage of the Test ignores all nuance. I'm not sure how a scene could've been inserted into Saving Private Ryan, for example, that passes the test. Inception doesn't pass either, and that's because Dream Mal is clearly obsessed with Cobb. Und so weiter.
02:53:35 AM Jan 5th 2014
edited by
Jonn, by Trope Decay I refer to people using the test as a score card for the sexism levels in individual works, which it was never really intended for. BloodRayne passes the test easily but you would have a hard time arguing it's less sexist than Saving Private Ryan.

What the test is good for is measuring one aspect of the health of a section of the entertainment industry. For instance if it turns out that films made by company A are more likely to pass than films made by company B, or if it turns out that steampunk works pass more commonly than urban fantasy works, then that is interesting and potentially useful information. Likewise, I would predict that films of 2015 will be more likely to pass than films of 2009.

To answer your question, by the way, you would lever in a pass scene for Saving Private Ryan by giving modern-day Ryan a female chauffeur who gets a scene to herself. It would be obvious, it would detract from the film and it would be likely to increase the levels of sexism rather than reduce it.

Editing to add: This is a great example of the test being used to study trends. Of the top 50 films in 2013, 24 (48%) passed the test and took in 67% of the box office takings of all 50.
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