ZIP Question:

What are the most critical things to consider when using the Bechdel Test to assess the representation of women in film and in media?


The most recent work that I have done on my ZIP has to do with analyzing the test itself. Do I think that there is value in The Bechdel test? Absolutely. The test, however, does not signify that a film is feminist, or anywhere near an accurate or equal representation. The test itself is rather a reason to start conversations about the representation of women in film, which is also important and not something that is particularly common from the consumer point of view. As a result of the low standards of the test, it causes the consumer to consider the widespread reality of male domination within the film industry. It also initiates thought that this test doesn’t even have any requirements about diverse women. A film could have one single scene with two white and conventionally pretty housewives discussing their housecleaning routines in two sentences, and the film would pass the test. The power of the test is in triggering other strains of thought and discussion.


I think that there is much to be gained from incorporating the Bechdel test into the consumption of movies. At the same time, I think that is essential to bring some consideration and critical thought along. I have begun to condense my findings and thoughts regarding the test and I will soon be finalizing my guide to using the Bechdel test!