Movies that pass the Bechdel test…and why that’s important.
The Bechdel test originated in a 1985 cartoon by Alison Bechdel. (See below!) Bechdel actually credits her friend Liz Wallace for this concept in “The Rule,” as you can see in frame one.
This rule got shared and quoted so many times that it later started being referred to as the Bechdel Test, which is now basically used to determine whether women are appropriately represented in film and TV sans sexism.
(Even my favorite screenwriting software, WriterDuet, runs a little Bechdel test on my works in progress and lets me know how many times a woman speaks in a scene. It’s great.)
Strangely, it’s not always something you might be aware of. Whether a movie is about men or women doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with its representation of each.
The Bechdel Test takes into account the following:
The movie (or other form of media) has to have at least two women in it.
Those two women have to talk to each other.
And they have to talk about something other than a man.
Sounds easy, but it’s actually kind of shocking how many movies fail miserably at meeting these rather simple criteria. For perspective, think about how expected it is that a movie might feature multiple men talking about something other than women…that’s the actual standard.
Awesome movies that fail the Bechdel Test:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
The Hurt Locker
La La Land
Lord of the Rings (all of them)
Lords of Dogtown
Awesome movies that pass the Bechdel Test:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Bring it On
Remember the Titans
No Country for Old Men
10 Things I Hate About You
Of course, just because something passes the Bechdel test that doesn’t mean it’s sans sexism, and it can still be a wonderfully uplifting story even when it doesn’t pass. But it is an interesting and important concept to be aware of and make good choices around. (Especially for those of us working in the entertainment industry!)