Oxford Dictionary defines the Bechdel Test as a way of evaluating whether or not a film or other work of fiction portrays women in a sexist way or characterized by gender stereotyping.
To pass the test a movie must achieve these three rules:
- Must have at least two female characters
- The females must talk to each other
- Their conversation has to be about something other than a man
Movies that do this:
Mirabel’s family is mainly matriarchal. Throughout the film, Mirabel is shown talking to her sisters, Isabela and Lucia, and aunt, Pepa, about the magic in the family.
La La Land (2016)
The main character Mia talks wither her roommate Tracy about going to an audition. Later, she talks with the director, Amy Brandt, about the audition process for a role.
Legally Blonde (2001)
Elle Woods is shown talking to her client about proving her innocent of murder. In the courtroom, Elle also talks to her client’s daughter Chutney about perm maintenance.
Movies that don’t do this:
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The movie does not pass the test despite Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director.
The Avengers (2012)
Despite the movie having three named women: Maria Hill, Pepper Potts, and Natasha Romanoff, none of them interact with other throughout it.
The film only features two women: Kat and Priya, who are never shown in the same scene.
Is the test flawed?
Some critics argue that the Bechdel Test is still flawed. While a movie could pass the test, it might still portray women in a misogynistic way. Passing doesn’t mean that the movie does a good job of featuring women. The test also doesn’t consider other factors like race and sexuality. However, it is still useful to see if a film exhibits a basic portrayal of women.
Here are more movies that do and don’t pass the Bechdel Test!
Even more shows that star powerful women can be found here.