Amanda

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Efficacy of the Bechdel Test

    A work of fiction is considered to have passed the Bechdel test if it features two women who talk about something other than a man. In many cases, it also requires that the women have names. Nearly half of films meet this requirement. Does this test truly examine the portrayal of gender in media?

    • Maybe an additional question you could also ask is, what kind of insight does applying the Bechdel Test on films give us about particular filmmakers (and give some examples) and has the introduction of the Bechdel Test changed the industry at all? – Kevin 4 years ago
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    • I think another important question might be, does a film that fails the Bechdel Test always portray gender negatively? Does a film that passes the Bechdel Test always portray gender positively?If not, what does the Bechdel Test truly show us? – C8lin 4 years ago
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    • You probably already know this, but there are a lot of films, such as Showgirls or films by Russ Meyer, that pass the Bechdel Test despite the fact that they are FAR from positive portrayals of women. – jsanoff 4 years ago
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    • This could open up a really interesting argument into how low the bar is set for feminist media these days. If so many meet the requirements, are the requirements strict enough? Are they asking for enough? What would be a better test? – Mariel 4 years ago
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    • It's important to recognize that the Bechdel Test is a bare minimum of what should be required for female representation in media, not a be all end all. – Laura Andrea 4 years ago
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    • Good topic, because in my opinion, the Bechdel test sets the bar too low. Just because two female characters are named and have conversations unrelated to men, does not make them strong or memorable people. Films aimed at girls and women are particularly guilty, from Disney princess movies to Jane Austen adaptations to modernized "chick flicks." – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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    • I've always wondered what the Bechdel test is trying to achieve. Is it trying to divide the genders, or empower females? Star Wars failed the Bechdel test, but Leia Organa is a stronger character than anything in the Ghostbusters remake.It also limits roles for women. If a women is playing a devoted parent, if her child is female, she passes; if her child is male, she fails. Surely that character would have the same level of strength regardless of the gender of her offspring. – AGMacdonald 3 years ago
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    • Maybe you could also look at other tests that measure equal representation in film and media (but it would be a good starting point!). – AnastasiaS 3 years ago
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