Bechdel for Besties?

Bechdel for Besties?

Sweden recently made a revolutionary move towards exposing gender inequity in film. Some Swedish movie theaters with the blessing of the Swedish Film Institute have begun using a ratings system based on the Bechdel test.

So what is the Bechdel test?

The Bechdel test is a three question test created by artist/author Alison Bechdel designed to gauge gender bias in works of fiction. See the origins of the test and Bechdel’s recent comments about it.

So what are the passing requirements?

  1. It has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.

Why should we care?

Well Sweden seems to give a crap so maybe you should too. If that argument is not compelling enough maybe it is because after more than a century of cinema we still have such a glaring inequity between female and male representation in cinema.

When looking at some so-called blockbuster films it is easy to imagine the semen coated writers room that half of these films were incubated in. Eww! I guess to put this more gently since women have come a long way, baby, it would be nice to see a more robust representation of us on screen as well.

I bet you’re curious to find out which films passed and failed the Bechel test. Here is a list of a few films that have failed the test:

We Stalecake-ians decided that the Bechel test could have broader implications outside the realm of fiction. Failing the Bechdel test doesn’t mean that fiction is bad, just as passing the test doesn’t mean it can’t be misogynistic. But what happens if you apply a Bechdel type test to real life friendships? Are they worth keeping if they fail?

We also mused about what a male-centric Bechdel test would look like. Is a reversed Bechdel test akin to reverse racism? If so, can you make the argument it can’t exist because of our male-dominated society? We’re not sure and would love your thoughts on the subject.