The Bechdel test
March 8, 2009 Leave a comment
The Bechdel test was formulated in 1985 in a cartoon by Alison Bechdel, where a character says that she only watches movies that meets three basic requirements:
1) It has to have at least two women in it, who
2) talk to each other, about
3) something other than a man.
The joke is of course that there aren’t many. If you live by the Bechdel test, you don’t see movies very often.
The Bechdel test is simple and obviously sensible. It’s not about watching movies with a stop watch to ensure equal time between the sexes. It’s not about someone’s subjective idea of what is or isn’t offensive. It’s about a basic measure of intelligence.
“You mean you’ve made a movie where the women don’t talk to each other? Or they do, but all they can think of talking about is the male lead? Which planet does this take place on?!”
And it’s not like we can put all the blame on the film industry. Yes, they make movies that only rarely treat women as actual people. But the audience doesn’t notice, or care. The fact that there’s even a name for this test is proof that it’s needed.
Please notice it.