Research 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?

 

I have started my process of combining my research and my analysis regarding the Bechdel test into the skeleton of a usage guide. I have also created some questions and discussion points to use during my final ZIP presentation.

 

Things to consider:

  • How simple the test is
  • What the test excludes
  • How many films don’t pass it
  • How the industry is biased
  • That many of our favourite films will not pass the test

The Bechdel test is not one with high expectations for diverse representations. It must be considered that the test is not an indicator of a progressive or diverse film. The test does not address issues of race, sexuality, privilege, or any of the other factors that make up an accurate representation of the women in our world. This simply emphasizes how simple the test is, and how surprising the number of modern films that don’t pass the simple test is. There is certainly a bias in the film industry regarding women in film. Women have historically been excluded from exploring the film industry with any level of influence, regardless of the profound impact that media has on the way that women are perceived and treated in society. I also have bias in myself, being a person who values all women and believes that equality and accuracy in media is absolutely essential to the progression of our society. I would then like everyone to think about how many of their favourite films may not pass the test. Take the Breakfast Club, possibly my favourite movie ever

 

The Breakfast Club is a debated passer of the Bechdel test. Yes there are two female characters (only two), and yes, they do speak to each other. However, the fact that they only talk for a few lines, and those lines being about makeup and social acceptance while there is plenty of dialogue between the male characters regarding home life, abuse, school, and masculinity causes some to question whether it deserves to pass the test. My opinion? Yes, it hits the criteria, so it should be on the list of movies that pass. It is simply another good example of how the bechdel test should not be used to determine the quality of representation of women in film.

 

So, I would like to have everybody;

 

Think of the last movie you watched….

  • Are there two or more named characters that are women?
  • Do they speak to each other?
  • About something other than a man?

 

For those who aren’t sure about whether their film fits in these guidelines, think about whether or not there are

  • Two or more named characters that are men?
  • Do they speak to each other?
  • About something other than a woman?

 

And hopefully, this will be a good way to express  the way that the Bechdel test works and the impression it makes in a way that is understandable and can be adapted to each person in the room. Next- determining the media that I will be addressing!