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The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

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The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Old 07-22-10, 09:25 PM
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The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

I actually meant to post a thread about this "test" many months ago when I first saw the video linked below but it slipped my mind. Since it got brought up on Boing Boing today I thought I would post it over here as well.

While I take issue with a few of the titles the narrator cites as examples of films that fail the test (Wall-E? gimme a break), it is an interesting observation.

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Old 07-22-10, 09:33 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

What a load of bullshit. Almost every "guy movie" (including those on the list) contains some sort of lame romantic sub-plot to appeal to female audience members. Yet, when's the last time you saw the opposite? For example, is there a car chase or torture killing in Sex and the City 2?
Old 07-22-10, 09:37 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Given what total bitches women are to each other in real life, why would I want to see a movie about women talking to each other?

And an action movie isn't about men. It's a bout fights (hand-to-hand or weapons based), explosions, and gunfire. And not necessarily in that order.

It's a really stupid test that says absolutely nothing.

Originally Posted by Groucho
For example, is there a car chase or torture killing in Sex and the City 2?
The torture happens live to the male audience members dragged to the movie by their SO's.

Last edited by RocShemp; 07-22-10 at 09:44 PM.
Old 07-22-10, 09:48 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Yeah that's simplistic nonsense.

They showed 'Watchmen' for only one example. Well the mother and daughter have names, play key roles, and talk to teach other about being hero's, their relationship, drinking, some other stuff. It passed the test.

The part that women don't like to recognize is: women don't like female movie stars, or movies about women. They want to see movies about men, that include a woman as the sexual interest. They verbally claim to want more woman-centric movies most of the time, they pine like the girl in this video for a fair shake for women, but the box office numbers betray that nonsense for what it is, and for decades.

An exception might be that 'Sex In The City' example. Where slutty women spend all their time talking about men and sex(I didn't notice that being mentioned in the video). It did good numbers. But that's not a feminist manifesto by any means, it's more of a 'sluts of the world unite and rationalize your life!' type of thing.

Women movies aren't made because no one wants to see them, including women. If women-centric films made money they would open every week, it's a business. So the apple eating idealist needs to go look in the mirror as to the 'why' on this stuff.
Old 07-22-10, 10:06 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

I agree as well....that video was pretty stupid.
Old 07-22-10, 10:13 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Stupid video, cute girl.
Old 07-22-10, 10:43 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

That's stupid... Next, someone is going to complain about the lack of male on male action in straight porn...
Old 07-22-10, 10:51 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

I think the Bechdel test is still worth applying to movies. It's not an indicator of quality but it does reveal how incredibly marginalized women are in movies. I think the thing that's most shocking is how many romantic comedies -- movies supposedly aimed at women -- fail this test because all they do in the movie, literally every single conversation, is talk about men.

That said there are obvious times when the rule shouldn't be considered a meaningful indication of anything. There are lots of valid reasons to make movies that are primarily or solely about men. Doesn't invalidate the test.

PS I did not watch the video. I know the rule already.
Old 07-22-10, 10:53 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

I'll hold strong to this but...Men have better taste in the most average of movies over women.
Old 07-22-10, 11:02 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Originally Posted by eXcentris
That's stupid... Next, someone is going to complain about the lack of male on male action in straight porn...
Now there's a flashback.
Old 07-22-10, 11:53 PM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse
Women movies aren't made because no one wants to see them, including women. If women-centric films made money they would open every week, it's a business. So the apple eating idealist needs to go look in the mirror as to the 'why' on this stuff.
I'd like to add to this that not even women filmmakers want to make this kind of movie.

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC
I'll hold strong to this but...Men have better taste in the most average of movies over women.
I'll agree with this.

By the way, I love women.
Old 07-23-10, 12:15 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Originally Posted by RagingBull80
I'd like to add to this that not even women filmmakers want to make this kind of movie.
Good point. Bigelow won the first Oscar as a woman director for a movie that was virtually sans women.

Except for maybe a few seconds, and at that she was only an aspect of the main character.
Old 07-23-10, 12:20 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse
Good point. Bigelow won the first Oscar as a woman director for a movie that was virtually sans women.
Bigelow was the first person I thought of.

Near Dark
Old 07-23-10, 12:22 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

LOL, I dismissed her video after I first saw it but I just re-watched it and noticed this:



Really? A movie about a gay politician and it's highlighted as an example of failure?
Old 07-23-10, 12:24 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

^That one kind of struck me as funny as well.
Old 07-23-10, 12:25 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Or maybe we all just totally missed the point and this video is a very dry satire?
Old 07-23-10, 01:29 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Oddly enough, that YouTube video also failed this test.
Old 07-23-10, 01:45 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Unsurprisingly, even the list is bullshit: http://bechdeltest.com/

They gave The A-Team a red X because there are "Fewer than two women in this movie". Although Jessica Biel is the only female lead, she is far from the only woman in the movie. So there aren't "fewer than two".

Old 07-23-10, 04:47 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Speaking as a woman that had to be one of the dumbest fucking things I've seen on the net recently.
Old 07-23-10, 06:03 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Old 07-23-10, 06:11 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Originally Posted by Eva Kaine
Speaking as a woman that had to be one of the dumbest fucking things I've seen on the net recently.
I know you hate smileys but...
Old 07-23-10, 06:54 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

How about the follow-up to the Bechdel Test? Seeing how long some broad can go on and on about nonsense before she gets a rap in the mouth. Now put that apple down and get my supper ready.
Old 07-23-10, 07:03 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

Any test by which Lawrence of Arabia achieves a "fail" rating lacks credibility.

But, for the sake of conversation, I actually do have some remarks about the relationship between women and film.

Despite the man-hating stereotype of women's rights advocates, studies have consistently shown that most American women still desire to become wives and mothers. Even many of the 19th Century founders of the women's rights movements were married and did not see marriage as inherently demeaning for women.

I bring this up because what most movie-goers wish to find in a film is some kind of fantasy. Sometimes we want that fantasy to be completely outrageous, and other times we want it to be a minor tweaking of our daily life, but we still want to see the things we want to happen for us happen to someone with whom we identify. It therefore stands to reason that, if it's true that most women movie-goers desire to be wives and mothers, then they want their women movie characters to seek those things as well. And in the confines of a 90-120 minute long film, that means the lead female character is almost inevitably portrayed as seeking--or trying to maintain--a romantic/sexual relationship.

It may be hypocritical, or at least ironic, but there's a very thin line between the objectification of women to satisfy the lecherous thoughts of male movie-goers and the fantasy of being coveted harbored by female movie-goers. In real life, most women would find it insulting to be so sexualized as most women characters in films, but they identify with the element of fantasy and so it's not only permissible, but somewhat desirous, that the women character be lavished with the kind of desirous attention that the woman in the audience wishes for herself.

The other part of the equation is that I've found sisterhood lacks the bonds of brotherhood. Where brothers are competitive with one another in a healthy way, sisters are often more petty about it. A man will respect his brother's accomplishments, whereas a woman is likelier to resent her sister's. I can't point you to any research data on that statement, but I can attest that it has often been my experience when observing brothers and sisters, and any time I've discussed it with friends of either gender, they are quick to concur. Ergo, stories concentrating on the relationship between women are dicey because if they are realistic at all, they are not very appealing to witness--and if they are too idealized, they ring of falsehood and fail to resonate with their audience.
Old 07-23-10, 07:11 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

It's nice to see Showgirls passes the test, but Glengarry Glenn Ross does not.
Old 07-23-10, 07:49 AM
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Re: The "Bechdel Test" for women in movies

And when Bechdel's Eisner-winning Fun Home is inevitably adapted into a movie, most of its screen time will be....Bechdel and her mother talking about her father.

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