Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Women and the Bechdel Test

What I found most interesting about our class discussion in week 1 was the information about the Bechdel Test. Prior to taking this class I had no idea that a test like this even existed. I learned that the bechdel test is something that most films do not even pass. It requires that at least two women in the film talk to each other, and about something other than a man. Learning about this definitely made me more interested to see if some of my all-time favorite movies would pass the test. Unfortunately, and not to my surprise, majority of my favorites failed. At the top of my list, was the movie The Other Woman. Starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, and Leslie Mann, this movie tells the story of a married woman whose husband cheats on her with several other women. These women form a bond and create a master plan to bring him down and make him pay for being a sleaze ball.  As I watched, I noticed that none of the conversations that took place between the woman were about anything other than the man, or what they were plotting to do to the man. I find it interesting that most people around the world would even notice or realize the way that women are presented in films and television today. What I am curious to know, is how the bechdel test makes a difference when they do pass, or fail the test.


  1. Veja,
    I found it very interesting that "The other women" was considered to be your all time favorite movie! Crazy thing is, it's mine too, and the irony behind it all is I just finished watching it.
    I'm glad as a class we took the time out to discuss what the "bethel test" is because I now find myself over analyzing movies. Watching The Other Women not too long ago, I would have to strongly agree with you that there isn't a scene in which the women have a discussion other than about bringing Mark(Husband Chester) down. The only thing that critics might slightly give a pass is when Kate(wife) came over to Carly's("girlfriend") apartment and she was sending outside of the door asking if she could come in to have drinks.

    If you haven't seen this movie, I would highly suggest in watching(:

  2. Woah, I found this really interesting! I saw The Other Woman and really loved it, but as occurs with most of the movies that I watch, after a little analysis, I formed a different opinion about it. After learning about the Bechdel test, I have been paying more attention to how the movies I watch are faring.
    I went and saw the new Star Wars this weekend (go see it classmates) and it was insanely good. I absolutely loved the new character, a woman, who in the movie, repeatedly refutes the gendered stereotypes that are often applied. She gets some grief from the male characters who underestimate her ability to fight, to stand up for herself, and to do the maintenance work on the aircraft. These are obviously just a few examples but I walked out of there really happy that Star Wars had introduced a strong main character that was a woman, but I also found myself questioning the bechdel test and how we look at movies. From what I remember, the most conversation she had with another woman was a silent hug. The other woman that she hugged also had no contact with other women. It made me double think about the bechdel test and whether mainstream film isn't making enough progress or if the bechdel test isn't the best way to analyze a film.

  3. I'm so glad that you all are thinking about these movies in a new way after our discussion about the Bechdel Test in class! Both of the movies mentioned here do feature some strong female characters. (I especially LOVED Rey!) However, they also may send the message that these women are token examples or "rare" among women when we do not see them interacting with women of the same caliber like in the Force Awakens.

    On another note, you are right: The Bechdel Test has raised awareness for the issue, but it might not be doing enough to encourage diversity or to adequately judge a strong female character. That's why I encourage you to look at The Rep Test on doc sharing. This test is, in some ways, an expansion of the Bechdel, and while still limited, does bring a lot more issues to the forefront.