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Jun 26th 2018 at 7:50:37 PM •••

These links are to a literal male supremacist hate group and should probably be dropped.

Feb 22nd 2016 at 5:49:22 PM •••

> What's a problem is that it becomes a pattern when so many movies fail the test,

According to, almost 60% of movies they checked pass. When the article says "so many movies fail", how many movies was it talking about? Most? Any? Somewhere in between?

Edited by Rebu Hide/Show Replies
Feb 22nd 2016 at 7:56:29 PM •••

The number of movies that pass the test varies based on how much leeway it is given. Some people will hear one word from one woman to another and count that as passing. Other people will want a minute's worth of conversation. The criteria does say, "who talk to each other about something," which sounds like there should be some topic of conversation, not just a few words.

Aug 30th 2015 at 9:44:38 AM •••

I think so too, I was actually coming here to make this exact same recommendation.

Sep 12th 2015 at 6:04:21 PM •••

I agree with this discussion item, but I think discussion pages are too ignored for the decision to be made here.

I'm not sure what would be a good place for it?

Sep 13th 2015 at 2:29:28 AM •••

Trope Repair Shop would be, but it's highly unlikely that it will gain consensus - the common name is "Bechdel" only.

Aug 25th 2015 at 5:11:24 AM •••

Just for the record, I think the current ("Bechamel test") image is rather bad. It even gets the idea's content wrong (starts with "If you have a film with two ladies in it," though that's not a requirement), besides being centered around a pun that's pretty lame at least in the context. And the part in the caption is misrepresenting the idea too, since it's not about judging the individual work. How about just the original comic? Well, no, that doesn't look very good. Anyhow, I don't have time to start a proper discussion over this now.

Edited by VVK Hide/Show Replies
Aug 30th 2015 at 9:45:57 AM •••

Also agree on this, why can't we just use the image that originated the concept in popular culture?

Nov 11th 2015 at 12:56:49 PM •••

Like I said, the original comic just doesn't look good for this purpose. Still, something else would be better.

Nov 19th 2014 at 3:44:18 PM •••

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?

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Nov 19th 2014 at 11:51:17 PM •••

People have different opinions on what a film has to have to count as feminist. This test is one particular idea.

Nov 19th 2014 at 11:57:56 PM •••

Some people believe women have the right to be portrayed in films without always being shown in relation to men.

Nov 20th 2014 at 2:41:05 PM •••

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."

Aug 3rd 2014 at 12:22:46 AM •••

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.

Edited by
Nov 7th 2013 at 5:00:06 PM •••

Would it not be a good idea to have on this page a list of (at least notable) films which pass the test?

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Nov 13th 2013 at 12:38:52 PM •••

There Is No Such Thing as Notability. This page also used to have examples that passed the test but were removed.

Nov 28th 2013 at 1:52:07 PM •••

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...

May 20th 2014 at 3:03:14 PM •••

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.

Jul 23rd 2013 at 11:33:06 PM •••

"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.

Jul 21st 2013 at 8:25:37 PM •••

I removed this entry:

  • As of summer 2013, the highest ranked movie in the IM Db'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.

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Jul 21st 2013 at 9:23:04 PM •••

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.

Jun 30th 2013 at 11:19:06 PM •••

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.

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Jul 1st 2013 at 12:33:31 AM •••

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.

Jul 13th 2013 at 5:17:35 PM •••

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.

Aug 21st 2013 at 6:59:49 AM •••

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.

Jan 11th 2013 at 11:35:29 PM •••

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."

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Feb 22nd 2013 at 10:22:57 PM •••

True, it probably shouldn't even be named a "test" in that context.

Apr 26th 2013 at 12:43:20 AM •••

Would you like to suggest a better way to say it?

Jun 12th 2013 at 2:32:02 PM •••

Chemicals don't "fail" a pH test, and bacteria don't "pass" a Gram stain test. Bechdel-positive or Bechdel-negative perhaps?

Oct 10th 2013 at 2:09:10 PM •••

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.

Dec 11th 2013 at 7:59:25 AM •••

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.

Jan 5th 2014 at 2:53:35 AM •••

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.

Edited by
Aug 25th 2015 at 5:15:27 AM •••

This conversation happened along time ago, but I'll add that "Bechdel positive" is at least as misleading as "passes the test", even if it might technically be more right.

Apr 5th 2012 at 7:25:11 PM •••

I have a quibble with this sentence:

"What's a problem is that it becomes a pattern - when so many movies fail the test, while very few fail to show male characters whose lives don't revolve around women, that says uncomfortable things about the way Hollywood handles gender."

You know whose life revolves around women? Noted feminist icon Barney Stinson.

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Aug 25th 2015 at 5:18:41 AM •••

If anything, this quibble seems to show that you have difficulty imagining men's lives revolving around women in any other way than womanising... even though there's nothing impossible about other ways, and you'd get plenty of them if you just gender-inverted everything we have now in fiction.

Edited by VVK
Aug 25th 2015 at 5:29:42 AM •••

The comment is over 3 years old, dude.

Feb 26th 2012 at 9:54:45 AM •••

Is the purpose of this to try to claim that most works are supposedly sexist and supportive of "the patriarchy"? Does it have to be a female character talking with another female character about another female character to pass? That's not that hard.

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Sep 12th 2015 at 6:00:54 PM •••

Three year bump to say no, it's not that hard. That's the point. It's a very low bar, and yet a surprising number of works fail it despite having no logical reason to.

Dec 17th 2011 at 6:54:20 PM •••

Even with all of this discussion, I still don't understand the reason for the Bechdel Test existing. We've all acknowledged that it's not to do with misogyny — movies that pass the test could still be misogynistic and movies that don't might not be — and that there can be legitimate reasons why some works of fiction don't pass the test (silent films, for example). However, the original comic strip involves a woman who outright REFUSES to watch a movie that doesn't pass the test. Is that seen as extreme by anybody else?

The bigger issue for me is that the test seems very sexist. Not against women but against men. I can understand not wanting to see a movie where the only conversation two women have involves finding boyfriends or their husbands work hours but the fact that it's ANY male shines a disturbing light on the whole thing for me. For example, two mothers discussing their daughters passes the test. Two mothers discussing their sons doesn't. Because their sons are male and that makes it a conversation some people apparently don't want to hear. Likewise, the fact that it must be a discussion between two women seems pretty immature too. I realise the original comic strip was from 1985 and relationships between the sexes have improved since then but a man and a woman can have a conversation about things other than relationships and is that somehow worse than two women just because one of the participants is male?

I have a feeling replies will mention me Completely Missing The Point ... which pretty much IS the point of this post but, since there isn't a Headscratchers section for the Bechdel Test, this is the best place for it.

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Dec 18th 2011 at 9:48:25 PM •••

First off, the original comic is played for laughs. I don't think anyone actually avoids all movies that fail the Bechdel Test. If nothing else, it's a fairly difficult thing to check ahead of time.

As to your actual point, it's important not to think of the Bechdel test as the Ultimate Arbiter of Feminism in Fiction. It's equally important, however, not to ignore it. Audience members ought to be aware of the way works of fiction can make the universe revolve around men even while including female characters.

Sure, a work can highlight a female character who converses primarily with men, but there are many more traps than the obvious "female character equals sex object" one you've mentioned. Such as "woman's goals and achievements are defined by men in her life", "woman becomes independent by evolving beyond her Woman Problems", "man is hastily rewritten as female to fill a quota", et cetera. These kinds of characters are sometimes worse than having no women at all.

Edited by CelticKnot
Feb 15th 2012 at 7:05:41 PM •••

The third standard seems to be a question of how often men are the ones doing things worth talking about. If, for example, the female members of a group only talk about what the male main hero and male Big Bad are doing, then it potentially shows that the men are the only ones impacting the plot. Not talking about topics other than men at risk of Satellite Character status if they end up talking about a particular man; from my perspective, the female examples are of more major characters than the male characters.

Another point to keep in mind is that one conversation between women about a subject other than males passes the test. The test thus doesn't judge women talking about men as bad, but if that's all they're talking about, the movie has not done a good job of giving women plot-relevant roles independent of men. Granted, only passing once is not proof of a work being feminist (Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, one of the most misogynist fanfics ever, passes because the Council women talk to each other in their makeout sessions about how they consider it wrong but do it anyway), especially if the conversation is about stereotypical female topics, but it is a step toward having female characters that are important in their own right.

Dec 12th 2011 at 11:19:55 PM •••

If two characters are from a mono-gendered alien race, and are talking about another member of their race, does this count as passing or failing?

Example I'm thinking of is the Asari from Mass Effect, but thoughts?

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Dec 17th 2011 at 6:22:38 PM •••

That would definitely succeed since the Asari, while monogendered, look and sound female. Like you, though, I've considered aliens too. If it's two women in a sci-fi movie and they discuss a male alien, how would it work? Would it make a difference if the alien was beast-like, as opposed to humanoid? What if it isn't called "male"? Again, what if they're monogendered but all speak with male voices? It's a complicated issue.

Jan 3rd 2012 at 9:15:08 PM •••

I guess if the alien race is capable of asexual reproduction, and is talking to another member of their species, then that's a pass...

And what if we start going into species that have bizarre alien biologies, like three genders?

Heh, that would be a fun conversation to have with the creator of the test... "Hi, Ms. Bechdel? My online friends and I were wondering how your test would deal with aliens or species with only one gender." "...What."

Or what about plant-like creatures, which have both male and female parts? Or certain types of frogs, which can change their gender? Or people who had a sex-change operation? Does the test change from pass to fail if the person being discussed became a man in the interim period?

Sep 7th 2011 at 4:26:23 AM •••

Lemme see if I understand this: Let's take House. If 13 and Cameron have a discussion about their patient (Which I'm sure has happened at some point...), then it gets a tick in the Bechdel Test box is the px is female, but if the px is male it gets a cross. If they then have a conversationabout the male px's partner then it gets a tick in the box?

Would the Valley Girl outtake where Cameron & Cuddy are talking about Foreman's paper initially, then go and talk about shoes count as being a pass or fail?

Jul 17th 2011 at 12:36:25 AM •••

Is it worth listing works that fail the "reverse" Bechdel test? There are a few, many of the anime movies of Hayao Miyazaki as well as possibly Gunnerkrigg Court.

Mar 3rd 2011 at 10:17:44 PM ••• has a story arc called # Book 1 #04 - The Bechdel Test. it passes

Jan 2nd 2011 at 5:22:47 PM •••

What if two women in a military setting discuss the placement of enemy soldiers, when most of those enemy soldiers are male?

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Nov 21st 2010 at 3:29:30 PM •••

What if two women have a conversation about something other than a man, but that conversation is a subpart of a larger conversation that has other people, some of which are men, in the area?

Sep 23rd 2010 at 8:26:56 PM •••

What's the verdict on silent movies? Would they pass if they had 2 female characters who pantomime about something other than men, or does it have to be verbal conversation?

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Jan 3rd 2012 at 9:19:24 PM •••

Pantomime counts as communication, so yes. This also means that conversations had over instant messaging programs also pass.

Aug 22nd 2010 at 8:09:53 AM •••

How does it work with something like Misfile when one of the main characters' backstory is that a few minutes before the comic started she was a man?

Lots of women talk with ash about mundane things (especially cars), lots of women talk about things ash-related, but the main non-ash-related f/f conversations are Emily and her mother.

Edited by Michael
Aug 18th 2010 at 7:46:39 PM •••

Does the The Watchmen really pass? I can't recall a conversation between Sally and Laurie that wasn't about either Doctor Manhattan or the Comedian in some way.

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Aug 18th 2010 at 11:31:39 PM •••

They... talk about the weather, or the good old days or some shit like that. And they also discuss a porno comic Laurie's Mom received in her fan mail. But it was sent by a male fan.... damn, I'm of two minds on this one.

Aug 5th 2010 at 7:44:29 PM •••

Regarding the recent hottip I added, I actually got this from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. Hopefully once next week's issue comes out, the articles from this week's will all be available online instead of just the reviews, at which point I'll add a link.

...Yes, there was an entire column about the Bechdel Test. Entertainment Weekly has become so much more awesome since I've started thinking like a troper.

Aug 5th 2010 at 1:19:49 AM •••

Seems to me that you could have a Bechdel Scale out of this. Simply award one point for every conversation that passes the Bechdel Test. Hence, works that fail the Bechdel Test would score 0, but some works might score a 1, while others score much higher...

Edited by geoffhacker Hide/Show Replies
Aug 5th 2010 at 1:43:58 AM •••

The thing about the Bechdel Test is that it was originally geared for movies rather than television, so series tend to score way higher simply by the virtue of having larger casts and more screentime. A scale might give the impression that series are simply better than movies at writing female characters that act independently of men. I think, at least for series, a Bechdel Ratio would be a better idea (# of episodes that pass the test/# of episodes total).

Aug 5th 2010 at 2:15:43 PM •••

Sounds good to me. =) Actually, you could say exactly the same thing about longer movies versus shorter movies. So a Bechdel ratio of # of Bechdel-passing conversations / # of total conversations would be a good measure of movies as well.

Edited by geoffhacker
Jun 29th 2010 at 10:22:09 AM •••

The main description innacurately lists Aliens as an example of a film that is considered highly feminist but does not pass the test. It does, though: During the locker room scene, Vasquez engages Ferro in conversation about Ripley. Their conversation is interrupted by Hudson making a wisecrack, but it is two women talking to each other about something other than a man.

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Nov 19th 2010 at 4:20:13 PM •••

Isn't there at least one scene where Ripley talks to Newt about things other than men? Newt may not be a *woman*, but she probably counts.

Jun 10th 2010 at 6:32:11 PM •••

So something is bothering me about how the test is being applied to works that aren't intended to be one-shot deals. Specifically, any work that isn't a movie or a single episode. In serials, or in television shows, it seems more inevitable that a conversation taking place will not happen to have to deal with men—more inevitable than say, supportive of strong independent female characters— and to me, at least, this displays the limits of conversation topics far more than it showcases independent female characters. This isn't so much an issue in movies, (where the rule was originally intended to apply), so I can't help but wonder if, for Tv shows, Anime/Manga's, and even certain book series (although many books would certainly be within reasonable consideration for the base rules of the test, especially if they are, like movies, one-shot) we should tighten the rules in such a way that these series need to display evidence of passing the Bechdel Test in multiple, isolated scenarios, the needed number relative to the length of the series. (So a series that has a single conversation over 2 or 3 seasons would not be considered passable, but a series hitting 1 conversation over each of a several episode span would be more eligible) Because otherwise, I feel as though settling for a single example per show in these cases might be overly generous, and not within the spirit of the test as it was originally posited.

Edited by Xesirin Hide/Show Replies
Jun 10th 2010 at 6:35:01 PM •••

Laconic: TV shows and other serialized works should be held to a higher standard regarding this trope than Movies.

Jun 7th 2010 at 4:20:17 PM •••

Where did the "alone" part of the TV Tropes rendering of the rule come from? I looked at the original, and that definitely wasn't in there.

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Jun 12th 2010 at 6:02:21 AM •••

I don't see how. Two named female characters could well be conversing in midst of a nameless crowd, or including an unnamed female character in their conversation, or hold their discussion in the presence of a nonspeaking male character.

Jun 25th 2010 at 11:25:55 AM •••

What about two women conversing in front of a Heroic Mime male. Link never contributes anything to any conversation but the sereis is through his perspective. With the "alone" precipate no Zelda examples (except for the rare 3rd person cutscene) counts.

Jun 25th 2010 at 12:03:54 PM •••

I agree about this. "Alone" makes it nearly impossible for any first-person male narrative work to pass the test. Deleting.

Jun 7th 2010 at 12:51:35 PM •••

Why is it ever relevant to include information about the "reverse test"? Isn't the point of the Bechdel Test that the media that passes it is, if even for one conversation, not about men?

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Jun 7th 2010 at 1:07:57 PM •••

Gender equality? Female-dominated works can sideline male characters just as much as male-dominated works can sideline women, even if the former type of story tends to be less common than the latter.

At the very least, it would be interesting to see what percentage of Pink Bishōjo Ghetto shows pass.

Jun 10th 2010 at 6:14:05 PM •••

Distributed media tends to be male-dominated, for obvious reasons. (Or, if they aren't so obvious, see Most Writers Are Male, or other related tropes) So including the reverse rule seems redundant at first glance. What is important to remember is the fact that Female-dominated works can sideline men in the exact same fashion, pretty much supporting the double standard that the Bechdel Test is trying to highlight and criticize against.

Edited by Xesirin
Jun 10th 2010 at 6:26:48 PM •••

It's the contrast between the two that's helpful, really. Maybe half of movies can pass the Bechdel Test, and that's being generous. By contrast, something like ninety-nine percent of movies pass the reverse Bechdel Test.

Jun 6th 2010 at 1:38:24 PM •••

Below are examples moved from the main page for not having an explanation or not explaining why it passes:

Works listed with just the title Anime:




Live Action:


Video games:


Western Animation:

Works with a description that doesn't include evidence of passing Anime:

  • Lucky Star. It helps when a) there are only two men in the cast, and b) one of the first conversations is a 6 minute dialogue about how to eat different foods.
  • Black Lagoon, while simultaneously managing to preserve the dignity of the male sex, as does...
  • In Gunsmith Cats, four of six primary recurring characters including both main characters are female. And only one of them has an on-screen boyfriend. Also, the on-again, off-again big bad Goldy is female.
  • Chrono Crusade, partially thanks to three out of the four characters in the nakama being female (as well as Chrono and Rosette's boss, and three of the villain "sinners"). Somewhat weakened when you realize that the nakama is almost Chrono's Unwanted Harem, though.
  • Would Dokkoida fit this as well? Haven't seen much of it so far, but it seems like it might fit...
  • A number of Hayao Miyazaki films pass (possibly all, even), such as Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Not surprising given the large number of female characters given focus in his films, and the comparative lack of focus on romance.
  • Shows with heavy fanservice pass the test because at some point the half naked women are going to be talking about something other than men. With yuri shows like Queens Blade the Bechdel Rule is actually inverted since nearly the entire cast is half naked women, and so they never talk about the non-existant males.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima. This isn't indicative of any particularly strong feminist messages within but more indicative of the sheer size of its cast and how many members of that cast are female. That being said, as the world is being observed mostly by Negi, the majority of conversation topics revolve around things that should be of interest to him or his fans, thus slightly averting this trope (when the girls do talk about something else, it's usually not on camera).
  • Gunslinger Girl. It mostly does not pass the reverse Bechdel Test, however, since the male characters are all secondary and mainly talk about the girls.
  • Maria Sama Ga Miteru: There's really only two recurring male characters.


  • Runaways: There's actually such a high proportion of females on the team that at one point, there was only one guy at all (Chase) and he was just piloting the ship.
  • Both Batgirl solo series pass in spades- Stephanie's series passes in every single issue so far, and Cassandra's in 95%m of issues.
  • Wonder Woman- as a comic about feminine empowerment with a majority female cast, it's a good thing this passes!


  • Fargo, by the Coen Brothers. Although it must be pointed out that, in spite of a strong Pregnant Badass lead character, the movie only technically passes the test - because, when Marge is interviewing the two hookers about her suspects, they are talking about men - only not in that sense. The hookers are simply describing what the two suspects look like, and actually seem more interested in getting sidetracked into talking about every other topic under the sun.
    • Editor's note: That's a specific example, but it doesn't pass the test as written. —Yami
  • Legally Blonde — The protagonist's character arc is all about finding a purpose beyond a love interest, in fact.
  • Ghosts Of Mars. Horrible as it is, it passes the test.
  • I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, underrated Canadian film about a young woman with her head in the clouds—and a messy work history—who unexpectedly finds a job as assistant to the owner of an art gallery. Initially in awe of her boss, gradually she discovers dodgy happenings behind-the-scenes. An examination of creativity, and the reasons some artists are celebrated while others toil in obscurity. Features a lesbian subplot which (uncharacteristically) doesn't announce itself with fanfare, nor wallow in Gayngst.
  • The Silent Hill movie adaption, owing to the fact that every significant character is female, and none of them are talking about men.
  • Repo The Genetic Opera- When the females interact, they never ever mentioned a thing about men. Not to mention it's Amber that took over the company.
  • Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty: Scary thought, considering the title character is extremely passive and hardly does anything except sing songs, fall in love, and cry about her arranged marriage. But forget about the princess for a second and look at who gets the most plot time: it's the three good fairies and Maleficent, all females.


  • Perry Rhodan: Capable women and relationships exist, but if anything, it's the men who discuss relationships - and not in the "conquest" sense. Might be done deliberately to avert The Smurfette Principle.
  • The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, and the Oz books in general. It helps that the protagonist is female and so are most of the powerful supernatural entities in the setting.
    • Also, the Codex Alera by the same author [Jim Butcher]. Yes, the women do talk about men- but they talk about a lot of other things too, including but not limited to warfare, politics, and preventing The End of the World as We Know It (or causing it, if the Vord Queen really counts as a "woman" or not).
      • And, don't forget that one of the best moments is woman-to-woman, even if it is about a man. Invidia and Isana talk about who murdered Septimus, and Invidia admits it was her. Isana renames her Nihilus Invidia, and swears to kill her/that she will be dead by the time Isana leaves. Invidia is dead by the time Isana leaves.
  • Pride And Prejudice is only Fair for Its Day but a bit of a snarky inversion for its day, as is a lot of Jane Austen's work. Yes, all the lead heroines like Jane and Elizabeth have to talk about is marriage and men... but they also show that life for women shouldn't be like that, what with Jane and Mr. Bennett advising Lizzie not to marry without love and respect for her partner, and Elinor from Sense and Sensibility advising Marianne not to act like the world has ended because her lover abandoned her. Since society did not quite agree that it was acceptable for women to have anything besides pleasing men on their minds, however, Austen's feminism comes not from using this trope but from demonstrating the need for it in Real Life.
    • Editor's note: Another example that's not an example. — Yami
  • Young Wizards. Not hard, since three of the main characters are female.
  • Honor Harrington: while Queen Elizabeth, Honor, Emily, Michelle Henke, and co. spend a lot of time talking about men, it usually consists of how to remove them from power. Or, y'know, kill them.
    • Also easily cruises by the reverse test, as while it has a lot of men discussing Honor Harrington, a large portion of the conversations are on the subject of how to kill her.
  • Anything by Tamora Pierce. Understandable, seeing as she is dedicated to subverting the Smurfette Principle.
  • The Wheel Of Time features a good many (strong) female protagonists that interact a lot with each other and easily passes the test. Actually, if you start counting the "main" characters, there are actually more females than males! ....On a less positive note tough, three of those female characters end up being the Hero's Love Interests ( Yes. He 'loves' them all, and they love him so much they are willing to share.) Also, the said strong female characters tend to become very harebrained whenever they think about their Love Interest, if not becoming only a flat, boring shell of the character they were after getting married... Still, it is a commendable attempt at depicting females in fantasy.
    • Your Mileage May Vary. Jordan's portrayal of women is seen by some as one-dimensional and demeaning, although - at the very least - their sheer numbers do allow them to pass the Bechdel test.
  • The Princess Diaries, although a lot of the conversation between the girls is about boys, passes pretty easily since the series is about a girl with several female friends.
  • Decades before Alison Bechdel codified the test, Virginia Woolf advocated this in her essay/book A Room of One's Own. In it, she writes a mock review of a non-existent book: in this book, the first few pages concern two women who "like" each other and work together in a laboratory in the pursuit of their own interests. Woolf commented that the portrayal of female-female friendship was appallingly scarce in literature, with women constantly being portrayed as bitchy, catty loners who can't stand each other.
  • Most of the books in the Belgariad and Malloreon series would pass.
  • Shannon Hale's Young Adult novels, which are as a whole (excepting River Secrets) about female protagonists and their female friends. Book of A Thousand Days, in particular, has only two characters, both female, for a significant portion of the book.
  • Mistborn manages quite healthily, given that one of the main protagonists is female, and winds up spending a large amount of time in the first book socialising with the elite of the city. Even when she's an assassin in the second book, she manages to have time with other women quite a lot.
  • Oddly enough, the deeply creepy short story 'Silent Snow, Secret Snow' by Conrad Aiken just passes. It's mainly centred around a young boy's retreat into a mental world, but one of the few conversations we see outside his head is between a girl in his class and their female teacher.

Live Action:

  • Dead Like Me passes in almost every single episode due to a great cast of characters, a good bit who just happen to be female.
  • Stargate Atlantis, as noted above.
  • Star Trek Voyager passes this one with flying colors almost every episode, but Star Trek The Next Generation fails surprisingly. Yes, two strong female leads, but they are usually discussing their respective love interests.
  • The Middleman. Lacey and Wendy. Art crawl!
  • Power Rangers scores shockingly high for a series aimed at prepubescent boys. Then again, aside from a few seasons it's an aggressively No Hugging, No Kissing franchise.
  • Scrubs lampshades this in the episode where Elliot asks Carla if they would have been friends if they hadn't dated JD/Turk respectively. She answers that no, they wouldn't have.
  • The remake of Cupid lampshaded this in an episode, with a female character agreeing to go running with the female lead as long as they didn't talk about men. They immediately break their promise.
  • The Golden Girls Not that they don't still talk plenty about their love lives though.
  • Sex And The City only barely passes the test, as nearly all the conversations between the female cast seem to be about men.
  • Mad Men frequently fails, but a couple of episodes meet the test.


  • Darken. They have a lot of more important, life/world threatening things to talk about.
  • Misfile does excellently too. Although it's kind of a weird area since the main and viewpoint character is a male-to-female Gender Bender, so if you call her male it looses a bunch of points. (However, by this point in the comic she's acting pretty darn feminine, so... y'know what, who knows.)
  • Gunnerkrigg Court; the comic doesn't have a large amount of either human males (although most of the nonhumans are male) or romance.
  • Sounds Like A Melody aces it, most main characters are female.
  • Questionable Content; QC would fail an inverse of the Bechdel Test, however.
  • Drowtales. The fact that Drow males are percieved as second-class citizens probably has something to do with it.
  • Order Of The Stick. It's rare that women talk about men in general.

Web Animation:

  • Teen Girl Squad - Yes, they're aren't as well developed as some examples, like say, Coraline. Yes, it was purely due to laughs. However, they did filled out the rules rather well regardless.

Western Animation:

  • Archer scores surprisingly high, considering the endless amount of sex-related humor and situations.
  • Jem. Most impressively, She-Ra and this were released in 1985, around the time when the rule was first noticed due to the small amount of popular media that could pass it.
  • Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? — The premise of the show is "Kid Heroes chase The Sandiego around the world with help from a Magical Computer." Starring an Action Girl versus a famous female Villain Protagonist is never treated as anything odd or revolutionary. That is the feminism judged by the Bechdel Test.

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Madrugada MOD
Jun 6th 2010 at 5:11:54 PM •••

I've restored Alice In wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, with anotes on when or with who the conversations occur. (Respectively, the Duchess; and The Red Queen, the White Queen and them both of them). The conversations are nonsense in all four cases, of course, but then, that's true of virtually all conversations regardless of the genders involved.

Jun 6th 2010 at 5:29:30 PM •••

I restored Juno with an explanation.

Jun 9th 2010 at 2:08:00 AM •••

Wait, you just yanked a list that big because the explanations didn't explicitly point out when the Bechdel Test got passed? That seems overly harsh and counter-productive. Even if we're hoping to have a list of Bechdel conversations someday, why rip out examples because they don't quite state that now?

Just scanning the list, I see stuff like "the cast includes only two guys and the first conversation is about food" and "passes the test in almost every episode"... how the heck do these not qualify for being on the page??

I can agree with taking out the unexplained X Just X titles, but I'd advocate restoring most or all of the ones that have an attempted explanation. Let someone come along later and update them; don't just move them all to the talk page here.

Jun 10th 2010 at 6:04:35 PM •••

Actually, it might be worthwhile to move them here. Passing a test means being precise and accurate. Failing to provide descriptions or being vague can justify almost any work that appears. And let's face it: if you like a show enough, you'll come up with even the briefest conversation to justify the work finding a place here.

Edited by Xesirin
Jun 19th 2010 at 6:31:26 AM •••

All right, I'll accept that argument basically... if a little skeptically. Still, I wonder how many people are going to completely overlook this talk page (like, giant post halfway down the talk page) while going "Hey, this show that obviously belongs here isn't here" and just adding the name again.

Also, don't you think shows with primarily female casts ought to be given the benefit of the doubt here? I'm not saying you couldn't make a show in which 7 women chat about nothing but men, but....

Jun 25th 2010 at 10:31:06 AM •••

Lale: This is ridiculous! Some of these series pass because girls/women repeatedly have multiple conversations about things unrelated to men! Harry Potter, The Powerpuff Girls, Animorphs, The Assassins Of Tamurin... it's just not possible to list each one, nor should it be necessary. By requiring an explanation for every example, you're asking each entry to basically say: "This work includes at least women who have at least one conversation about something other than a man because it includes at least two women who have at least one conversation about something other than a man." We're supposed to list every one?! If you can list every conversation, that work actually scores lower than works for which you can't! If somebody knows an example doesn't pass, remove it. Why make a nice, simple list cluttered with longwinded explanations for every one? It's like making an entire page of justifying edits!

Jun 29th 2010 at 9:03:33 AM •••

Who said anything about listing every conversation? I thought the idea was to describe one, to prevent misuse of the trope. Saying, "In Harry Potter, Hermione talks to Professor Mc Gonagall about learning such and such a spell, among many other interactions that pass the test" is sufficient, reinforces the idea that the topic of the conversation is important to the trope, and is not terribly long.

I think that because this trope page is seen as a positive one for works to be on, people might have a tendency to fudge their definitions of "conversation" and "about men" in order to get their favourite work here. Other tropers could remove failing examples, but even when you are familiar with the work, it can be difficult to recall, off the top of your head whether there was no conversation that passes, or whether you just can't remember it because it wasn't central to the plot. Requiring a brief description of an example keeps people honest and makes cleaning up bad examples much easier.

Jun 6th 2010 at 1:53:03 AM •••

Does Halo really pass that well? In Halo 2 she's just asking Foehammer to deliver supplies or pick them up. Does that count as a conversation? In Halo 3, Cortana and Keyes never interact at all. The other Halo stuff might qualify, but the main premise of the entry seems out of place.

EDIT: Halo Wars doesn't apply either. Serina and Anders never talk together when they're not both reporting to the (male) captain.

EDIT 2: Here's an incomplete Halo Bechdel test:

  • Halo: Combat Evolved – Doesn’t pass. The only female characters are Cortana, Foehammer, and the Bumblebee pilot who might as well be wearing a red shirt because she lasts about 20 seconds. Cortana talks to Foehammer a bit to get her to deliver stuff or to pick up her and the Chief, but that’s it.
  • Halo 2 – Doesn’t pass. Cortana gives Intel to Keyes and says “Yes, ma’am”, and that’s it.
  • Halo 3 – Doesn’t pass. Keyes gets killed before Cortana gets rescued. They never interact.
  • i love bees – Passes. Jan and Gladys talk about Jan being a Spartan 1.1, Sarah-John and Rani discuss Rani’s detective skills, and Rani and Durga discuss the UNSC sacrificing the planet Harmony to keep the Covenant from realizing their code had been broken, as well as a few other conversations.
  • Halo Graphic Novel – Doesn’t pass. Maria-062 is effectively the only female character.
  • Halo Wars – Doesn’t pass. Serina and Anders never have a conversation together in which the male Cutter isn’t leading.
  • Halo 3: ODST – Barely passes. Sadie and the Crone have an altercation over a cash machine.
  • Halo: Evolutions – Barely passes.
    • Pariah – Doesn’t pass. Dr. Halsey has conversations with Déjà, but they’re about Soren.
    • Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss – Doesn’t pass. Effectively only one female character.
    • Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian – Doesn’t pass. Only one female character.
    • Dirt – Doesn’t pass. Felicia and Allison never have a conversation together.
    • Headhunters – Doesn’t pass. No female characters.
    • Blunt Instruments – Doesn’t pass. One and Two never speak alone, except for Two telling her about the male Yanme’e setting them up.
    • The Mona Lisa – Passes. Lopez, Benti, and Burgundy briefly discuss the Mona Lisa’s damage.
    • Palace Hotel – Doesn’t pass. Cortana and Palmer don't have a proper conversation, the discussion channeled through the Chief.
    • Human Weakness – Doesn’t pass. It's only about the female Cortana and two male characters.
    • The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston J. Cole – Doesn’t pass. Being a biography about a man, it’s the wrong setting for any female conversation to take place.
    • The Return – Doesn’t pass. Doesn’t satisfy condition number one.
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach – Passes. Dr. Halsey and Déjà, and Dr. Halsey and Cortana, discuss various things besides men.

Edited by nogard8910
Fighteer MOD
Jun 3rd 2010 at 1:52:49 PM •••

Crap, I just added the Lord of the Rings example while not realizing item number two (have a conversation that's not about men) needs to be between the two women. Is that true? Because Galadriel and Éowyn don't speak with each other in the story.

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Jun 2nd 2010 at 3:40:34 PM •••

I have come to the conclusion that the proper way to deal with lack of *insert demographic group here* in *insert medium here* is not to say that something is wrong with works that don't fit a certain minimum representation, but to realize that a person is a person regardless of their demographic grouping and to stop judging works by that standard at all. Why? To use movies as an example, the reason movie studios prefer to make movies about straight white men is because they believe that people will only watch a movie where the main character falls into the same demographic groups they do, and that straight white men see movies more. By saying that you are more likely to see movies that feature more women/minorities/whatever group you're advocating for, you are proving them right; you are proving that people would rather see movies featuring characters like themselves demographically. The true solution to under-representation would be for everyone to stop caring about the demographic look of the characters in the movies they see, and for the movie studios to realize people don't care. And why should we care? Are most people really so superficial that they would only care about and sympathize with someone who looks like them? Would they refuse to be friends with a real person because the person is of the opposite gender or a different race? If not, why do they care about it for fictional characters they read or watch shows about? It just doesn't make any sense.

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Jun 9th 2010 at 1:58:31 AM •••

I'm a Caucasian female, homeschooled up until college, who has never had much in common with girls my own age. I can play with and teach kids younger than me; I can learn from those older than me. I can enjoy the company of men (all the friends I hang out with are men slightly younger than me, whom I met in college). But girls were always "Barbie" and "boys" and girly stuff and I never got it.

In view of that background, consider my viewing habits: In movies or literature, I prefer the male protagonist. I prefer the male supporting cast. Not that I can't enjoy a strong female character (my favorite adult trilogy: The Deed Of Paksennarion), but I can't usually connect with girls even when they're written well.

I watch The Slayers, and my favorite characters are Xelloss, Zelgadis, Gourry, and Zangulus. I watch Revolutionary Girl Utena, and enjoy Touga and Miki. Buffy The Vampire Slayer gives me Spike (never did like Angel much... and Xander often annoys me). I gravitate toward the male side characters almost every time, and my favorite episodes are the ones that focus on their character growth.

So... yeah, go ahead and write strong female leads - but don't think that girls need them. We can enjoy male leads just as much! I don't feel at all deprived for having my favorite characters be male; I'm not going around moaning that I just can't find a good female character to connect with. Holy cow, do you think girls can't enjoy King Arthur or Robin Hood because the Knights and the Merry Men were all guys?

As far as race... I would love to see some strong characters played by actual black actors... or charcoal grey, the closest the human race can get. But Not Too Black annoys me, because I really find the black black guys sexy, and yet you never see them! And if a female character is worth watching, I'd just as soon enjoy an olive-skinned beauty or an Asian or something. I love variety there, and on a personal note, when designing characters for my comics, I'll plan out certain characters to be particularly good-looking, and my primary means of designating that is to give them darker skin (olive, maybe a little lighter) than the rest of the cast.

P.S. Sakura Taisen is a good example of a well-developed female cast in which there's plenty of characterizational variety. Tenchi Muyo is similar. This kind of cast works well, I think.

Edited by Kilyle
Dec 6th 2010 at 8:59:04 AM •••

I'm a white, heterosexual male. I wouldn't consider myself a racist, homophobic or sexist (though really, who would). Still, I have to admit that I prefer seeing movies about white, heterosexual males. I enjoy nonconformity in fiction, but mostly in the form of unconventional stories and unsympathetic protagonists. Theoretically, I'm all for diversity too, but for some reason, I find it easier to identify with WHM characters. I'm not saying it's a good thing. I'm just saying that for me, and presumably quite a lot of others, it works that way.

Jun 4th 2011 at 8:06:36 PM •••

To the two most recent posters: you say you can relate better/only to white heterosexual male characters, but my argument here is this: when I first found out that Azumanga Daioh was a shonen anime (meaning a genre that is mostly marketed to a young male audience), I was actually quite surprised. Considering the show's Pink Bishojo Ghetto and the fact that it's a Slice of Life series, about a bunch of girls in a high school, I wondered how young boys would find it appealing as opposed to, say, young girls. For (what I think is) a more blatant point, Soul Eater's lead protagonist is a cute little girl in pigtails!

Aug 10th 2011 at 9:03:32 AM •••

And to add... I'm honestly a little disappointed in Kilyle and Artistic Platypus for saying they relate better to male characters. Kilyle mentioned that 'girls are all "Barbie" and "boys" and girly stuff and I never got it'. Do you think if a female character had less stereotypical interests (and not necessarily tomboy, but say, if she liked books or mechanics and could care less about romance/boys) you'd relate to her better? I just don't like the fact that the media treats girls as though they can only be a small number of things, and you're either a girly, pinky-poo mall-rat or a sporty tomboy, with little to nothing in between. I thought about it, and I think there's a chicken-and-egg conditioning of the public into thinking that one can only relate most to a character of their own gender/race/sexual orientation. True, I can somewhat see that last one, but what makes me different from a black guy (aside from skin tone)? Okay, so this character is different from me; we still have some things in common, right?

Edited by Stoogebie
Sep 1st 2011 at 5:37:14 PM •••

You know, if you 'just happen' to relate better to white, straight males- maybe it's worth thinking about WHY. Do you honestly believe it is a total coincidence that WSM, the dominant majority in many types of media, are the ones you see as 'best'? If you 'just happen' to not care as much about people that are not white, straight and male in a society whose media restricts and beats down characters that don't fit that mould- well. Maybe you want to think about why and consider trying to alter your perspective. Or do you *like* having an immensely limited demographic to care about in a way that perpetuates certain types of discrimination?

Now, to the OP- this SOUNDS nice. Except it's absurd. Basically, when it comes down to it, equality is treating people the same when they are in the same situation. Minorities and majorities are not in the same situation. If a straight white cisgender etc. man demands to see more of himself on the cinema screen, he is demanding that an over-represented group remain over-represented.

By contrast, if I, as a queer woman, demand that I have someone to relate to, I am taking an UNDER-represented group and balancing things out.

To say 'we need to stop caring, then it will fix itself!' is the ultimate propping up of privilege. Problems do not fix themselves. If we stop caring, we stop noticing that currently, WSM are over-represented. Which means we do not try and correct it, because who cares, right? Which means that there will still be little girls denied role models (something I can personally attest is difficult), queer kids will be denied knowledge of their existence (something I can personally attest is soul crushing for many)... and so on.

Like, for example- positive representation of queer people has been shown in studies to improve real-life attitudes. That is SO IMPORTANT. And to say that we need to care LESS about acheiving that is a terrible thing to say. By contrast, because straight people are already accepted, it really doesn't matter about how much they are represented; they stand to lose very little by giving some of it up, if they stand to lose anything at all.

Basically? Stop whining that people are trying to actively make things better instead of passively waiting for it to get better. Marginalized groups are not going to stand on the sidelines refusing to care about their own lack of representation and the negative effects it brings. I am not, as a queer woman, going to ignore the ways the media hurts me because "if you ignore it, the media execs will ignore it too!". Instead, I'm going to shout and scream at anyone who will listen (metaphorically, you understand) until the media execs stop ignoring it, start realising it hurts me, and fix things so it doesn't anymore. And I encourage everyone else to do the same.

And yes, to the asshole above, I personally NEED female characters. Sure, I can like guys. But god, the way lacking positive women affected me in childhood can't actually be understated. You are not everyone. Shut the hell up. Girls who grow up with no female representation often experience self-esteem issues relating to internalized misogyny- feeling that women are lesser and that's their lot in life. The media is important, and cutting women out of it for no reason is therefore never okay.

Edited by kalender
May 24th 2010 at 11:37:54 AM •••

I've been thinking: is it really fair for a work to be able to pass this test if the situation in which the conversation takes place wouldn't be conducive of a conversation about men? For example, if two females are facing down a big bad monster and discuss their battle plan in the middle of the battle, it wouldn't really make sense for them to discuss men, would it? However, if the two women are just conversing and the scene is an expository one, then they very well could discuss men, so if they don't, then such a scene would certainly deserve to pass the Bechdel Test. I would think that there should be two Bechdel Tests in order to allow for a distinction between these two kinds of scenes: a weak one and strong one.

Weak Bechdel Test: The Bechdel Test as we know it.

Strong Bechdel Test: The Bechdel Test with the added criterion that the situation in which the conversation takes place doesn't preclude the two women from discussing men.

For example, in The Descent, when the women are talking about how they are going to escape the cave, it wouldn't be very helpful for them to discuss men, so that situation would pass the weak Bechdel Test, but not the strong one. However, if they are sitting around a campfire (I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know whether that happens) and just talking, and rather than talking about the trip itself, they talk about their pasts, or the constellations above them, but not men, then that hypothetical scene would allow the film to pass the strong Bechdel Test

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May 25th 2010 at 4:36:16 PM •••

Since the movie mentioned in the Trope Namer comic strip is Alien, which passes since "the women in it talk about the monster", I don't think context should matter too much. (And if two female characters discuss battle plans or something else that's related to the plot, that's probably a sign that the work they appear in treats them as actual characters, not just sexy props for the hero to rescue from the villain.)

Oct 5th 2010 at 2:21:50 PM •••

I agree with Lavode. From the article:

"[T]he Bechdel Test is not meant to give a scorecard of a work's overall level of feminism. [...] A movie can easily pass the Bechdel Test and still be incredibly misogynistic. 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 fail to show male characters whose lives don't revolve around women, that says uncomfortable things about the way Hollywood handles gender."

May 9th 2010 at 10:02:54 PM •••

I suspect it's probably fine, but what if the discussion is about a student or teacher who happens to be male, but it's not thinking about the character in any sexual way, or about a historical or current political figure who happens to be male, etc. Basically if it's about a guy or guys but the subject is 100% non-romantic/non-sexual?

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May 24th 2010 at 11:28:29 AM •••

Using Fargo's inclusion on this page as a precedent, I would guess that such a discussion would cause a work to pass the test.

Jun 27th 2010 at 3:49:17 PM •••

No. The Bechdel Rule highlights the lack of female-centric narratives and dominance of male-centric ones in fiction. Whether it's romance or adventure or whatever, as long as they're talking about a male character, the focus is still on a man.

Aug 26th 2010 at 4:38:41 PM •••

What if one of the women in the conversation is talking about, for example, how she's upset about being forced into an arranged marriage? The topic obviously involves a man, but it also clearly shows how the woman in question is not at all happy with sitting around and obeying the men around her.

Also, what if there are multiple female characters, but most of them just want to talk about guys and dating and getting married and stuff like that and the main girl isn't interested in that stuff, but then she ends up in a situation where she's with a bunch of guys and no other females. Even if it's clearly still focusing on her, the supporting characters make it fail the test.

The first scenario there was hypothetical, but the second one describes a real movie that no one would ever say was too male-focused. I can come up with so many other scenarios where a work could exist that would never be considered unfairly male-biased by someone who saw or read it, but would still fail this test.

I think tests like this are usually well-intentioned, but you can't really write a formula for accurate, or fair representation of something (whether it's a group, an idea, whatever). Fiction, like all other forms of art, is so complex that not even a test with as many questions as those Mary-Sue litmus tests that float around the internet can accurately divide works into "pass" or "fail" on an issue. It's not fair to act like this is the ultimate criteria for determining something.

May 8th 2010 at 7:38:00 PM •••

Should Death Note come off the page? I accept that it technically passes, but it definitely does not "score high on the Bechdel Test," given that it is one brief exchange in 108 chapters? (In Volume 11, they put the entire surviving female cast in one room ... and they talked about boys. So close.)

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Aug 10th 2011 at 8:48:23 AM •••

The Bechdel Test doesn't care if it was only a brief conversation; the fact is, two female characters (Misa and Sayu, I believe) of Nominal Importance talked about something other than any of the male characters. It doesn't go on this page because there was never a mention of the test itself in the story. And yes, I'll agree that although it passes (which I honestly didn't think it would), it still wouldn't exactly count as being 'good with it's female cast' if you know what I'm saying.

May 5th 2010 at 1:35:13 AM •••

Does it count if the women in question talk mostly about clothes and what other women think of them? :/

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May 5th 2010 at 1:40:22 AM •••

I'd imagine so. Even if it does reinforce female stereotypes it still meets the criteria.

May 5th 2010 at 1:53:26 AM •••

And what if it's implicitly- implicitly- because of a man? I'm asking because I'm thinking of something I'm writing, and there are several scenes with two women discussing the career advancement of one of them. The truth is, the one advancing is fully sponsored by a man, and so his character always casts a shadow over the topic even if he's never even obliquely mentioned.

There are also a few scenes with a woman having a much deeper conversation with a male-bodied character who is referred to as he but identifies as a kind of blended masculine/feminine third gender, thinks of himself as his cisgendered male partner's "girl", and alternately presents as both male and female depending on his mood. Because he's not a man, I think it counts, but he doesn't fully identify as a woman either.

Jun 4th 2011 at 7:46:23 PM •••

So does that mean it half-passes if it's a girl having a conversation with an androgen? Similarly, if three people (no, I'm not trying to be silly, just wondering) are having a conversation, one being a girl and the other two being something else (intersex, maybe?), would it pass by means of Loophole Abuse?

Jun 4th 2011 at 7:46:43 PM •••

So does that mean it half-passes if it's a girl having a conversation with an androgen? Similarly, if three people (no, I'm not trying to be silly, just wondering) are having a conversation, one being a girl and the other two being something else (intersex, maybe?), would it pass by means of Loophole Abuse?

Nov 23rd 2011 at 11:51:54 AM •••

Stoogebie: I don't think it would count, unless the gender of the person is not important in the narrative context and they are socially identifiable as female. To be blunt, in most narrative contexts people with non-binary gender association are alien, not female. I think this happens rarely enough though that we should review them on a case-to-case basis rather than make generalizations beforehand.

Megan Phntm Grl: As I understand it, the rule is that their conversation has to be about something else than men, not caused by something else than a men. In this case I would say that the subtext is critical: is the career a manifestation of their fight for male approval, or is being sponsored by a man merely a tool for career advancement? Remember though that the Bechdel test isn't a checklist of "this is what I should do to make the feminists happy". The three rules are just symptoms of the real problem: that women aren't treated as fully fledged human beings. Sure they may be equal to men, but works which fail simply don't have any deep female characters. If you just try to make your work pass the test, you defeat the point which is to make complex female characters. You shouldn't pass on technicalities.

Apr 30th 2010 at 12:57:52 AM •••

Is it possible for a first-person novel with a male viewpoint to pass this by having references to such conversations among the female cast?

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May 1st 2010 at 8:17:01 AM •••

Yes, IMO. If a male viewpoint protagonist overhears or has related to him by a woman a conversation had with another woman, then a woman to woman conversation (likely relevant to the plot) will have been included. May not count after all if subject of conversation was a man or men.

May 5th 2010 at 9:32:01 PM •••

Well, naturally it wouldn't count if it was about a man or men, that's one of the main points of the rule, but thanks for answering the other part of my question.

Aug 18th 2010 at 6:00:46 AM •••

Do all of the participants need to be women? That is, does a conversation pass if a woman says something non male-related to another woman, even if there are men around them?

Random example from the Dresden Files books: In Summer Knight, Georgia fixes up Murphy's wounds and tell her to get the leg checked out by a real doctor, etc. In the middle of this conversation, Harry (the first-person protagonist) ask Murphy if she is OK. Murphy answers something like "it hurts, duh!" and returns to her discussion with the other woman. Is this conversation now discqualified for Bechdel purposes?

Aug 18th 2010 at 11:51:24 AM •••

Yes. Two female characters. I've seen many different variations of this test, and in all of them that part is mandatory.

Edited by Darkmane
Aug 18th 2010 at 12:34:25 PM •••

Sorry, I obviously failed to make myself clear. Apart from the two female characters having a conversation between each other, can there be a (third) male person who occasionally enters said conversation?

Aug 18th 2010 at 11:21:27 PM •••

That, yes. Some variations maintain that the two women should be alone, but since that would throw out every single work told from a male perspective, it's not universally accepted.

By This Wiki's definition, a third (male) character can be present, and it passes as long as whatever's said between the women themselves is not about men.

Hope that cleared it up for you.

Apr 13th 2010 at 3:17:55 PM •••

Is it really worth having non-movie examples for this?

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Jun 2nd 2011 at 8:17:20 PM •••

Does context in which "men" are talked about matter? The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask would be thinking of her soldiers in a different manner then a Female Love Interest would be thinking of a Male Love Interest.

Edited by jatay3
Aug 30th 2015 at 7:29:48 AM •••

Jatay, that level of analysis of the test is missing the point. The test was a joke, and the very limits of the test (and trying to take it seriously) reveal the cultural patterns to which the author really wanted to bring the reader's attention to. So when you start straining to decide if a movie fits, you're kinda supposed to realize, "Wait, isn't it weird that so few movies actually do pass the test?"

In the original strip, there is no clarification because there is no need for one. It's a funny one-off gag. The character who follows the "rule" passes movie after movie which she can't see until she finally gets to Alien, which she can see because two women spent time talking about the alien.

But strictly speaking, no.

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