Monday, 14 June 2010

The Bechdel Test

You probably think of yourself as a person who knows a fair bit about films. You might even think of yourself as a 'film buff'. Well then, you're a massive misogynist! No, just kidding. Here's what I really want to talk about...

The Bechdel Test created by Alison Bechdel is a way of looking a film to see the female presence. Bear with me. Bechdel stated there were 3 questions she asks before she goes to see a film, and they are:
  1. Does it have more than 2 named female characters in it?
  2. ...That talk to each other?
  3. ... About something other than men?
If you watch the following video this lovely lady will show you a barrage of film posters of unexpected and modern films which do not pass this test.

Think of your top 5 films.


Ok, I'll do mine...

1. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Pass - barely, they occasionally talk about ettiquette and money.
2. Annie Hall: Fail - what could you expect from Woody Allen, I mean really, the man married his step daughter.
3. The Graduate: Fail - It's ruddy 'Ben' this and 'Ben' that.
4. Withnail & I: Fail - I don't think there's a single female character, named or unnamed except for the lady in the tea shop.
5. High Fidelity: Fail - two named women, but they don't talk to each other.

So that's a massive fail on a massive scale, then. Yup, yup.

Before you think I'm annoying. The point, as the lady in the video explains, is not that women should take over the world. Passing the test is not a sign whether or not it is a feminist film or a good film. It just determines whether or not there is a female presence, and one which is not seen in reference to men.

It's not a small amount of films, it's the majority of films that I can think of. It's really quite shocking just to see how male orientated the film industry is, and this is something which I will definitely be looking out for.

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