Monday, January 18, 2016

Pride and Prejudice Bechdel Test Analysis

After last week's readings, I took it upon myself to analyze my favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice (2005), to see if it passes the Bechdel Test. Pride and Prejudice, a classic literature novel by Jane Austen, is a story about the five Bennet sisters, in which Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy and despite their pride and prejudice between different classes, they fall in love. To most people, this novel and movie seems to be entirely about the Bennet sisters trying to find a suitable man to marry, especially in the case of their crazed mother. Yet, I adored this movie for Elizabeth's independency to defy the feminine gender norms to be quiet, to be submissive to a man, etc. I especially love when she resists Mr. Collin's proposal!

After viewing scenes from the movie, in my opinion, Pride and Prejudice does pass the bechdel test. One example of this film passing the bechdel test is when two main female characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourg, converse over Elizabeth's upbringing, in which Lady Catherine criticizes Elizabeth for her mother's lack of guidance for Elizabeth's sisters. Elizabeth persists to express her own opinion, in which Lady Catherine is shocked by Elizabeth's outspokenness. These two characters are named in the movie and have a conversation about other topics than men. Though this movie does primarily focus on the topic of marriage and men, I think the movie also focuses on gender roles that has been engraved in our society for centuries and how Elizabeth chooses to be of her own person. Since we are reading about gender roles in how it is constructed in society, how do you think gender roles of Pride and Prejudice set in the 19th century compare to gender roles now? I like to think Elizabeth was a feminist of her time, even though she is a fictional character.

Here is the link to the clip of the scene between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth Bennet:


  1. Hi Tamera,

    I found the Bechdel Test very interesting when we discussed it in class as well. I took the liberty to read upon it and I found out that even movies where there is a Woman as the leading character it still does not pass. I also found out that some horror movies could easily pass because there is a lack of romance. I believe that gender roles in the 19th century differ greatly from from now. I believe that there has been progress, but we are not where we need to be.

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  3. One of my all-time favorite movies by far! It's really crazy to me that some of the movies that are set in the early 2000's are sexist, and pride and prejudice, set in the early 1800's, is still able to have a pretty powerful and relatively feminist main character. I think that when we are looking at the bechdel test, it's really important to realize that how we evaluate movies is also largely based on genre. When there is a romance movie, that's only supposed to last about 2 hours, most of the dialogue is going to be about said romance. Pride and Prejudice is different because of the character development. So much depth and development is given to each of the characters, especially to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I'm interested about what Hellena said about the horror movies because that's actually really surprising. I think that pride and prejudice was really well made and was also about more than just a romance, it was about her life and family and that time period which might be what allows it to pass the bechdel test. For example, the TV show, the L Word (seriously go to netflix, watch it if you haven't) is about a group of about 5-6 lesbian women and their lives. It has its downfalls, but for the most part, when it came out in 2014, it was pretty progressive and a definite step forward for the feminist and for the LGBTQ community. On that same note, SO many of the conversations are consumed by romantic interests. The bechdel test claims that the work must feature women talking about something other than a man. How is an entire movie discussing a relationship between a man and a woman, that doesn't pass, different from an entire series discussing relationships between a woman and a woman, that does pass, solely based on the nature of the relationship? Is the bechdel test causing us to evaluate movies with gay and lesbian lovers differently than those with straight lovers and is that a problem? Is the bechdel test heteronormative? And therefore not correctly evaluating movies that feature, for example, a lesbian couple, and allowing it to pass even though it shouldn't? Movies and gender and sex and sexual orientation and relationships and identity are complex, so the bechdel test may need to revise its rules to give some clarity on the intentions behind them and what it is that makes a movie or series 'feminist'. Maybe we need to look into exceptions for the bechdel test or just focus on specialized analysis depending on the movie. I really hope that we can revise or add on to the bechdel test as it was a huge step in forcing people to look at movies in a new light and pushed people to be more aware of what they were consuming. It also came in a time where it was crucial and I hope it continues to be a crucial aspect of our analysis of media