One of my best friends, Kelly is a graphic designer in the entertainment industry and keeps me up to date on upcoming movies, television theories, and of course celebrity news and gossip. She has lived in LA for the past two years and is currently transitioning to NYC. Her experiences working in this industry and living in LA has been awesome to follow and I’m sure she will have a lot of success in New York as well. You can find her portfolio and blog at www.kellyohara.com.
While reading through her blog posts about upcoming movies and lovable TV characters, I found a post where she explained The Bechdel Test. This feminist test consists of 3 rules in which a film must meet in order to pass:
- The film must have at least two female characters with names.
- The two female characters must have dialogue.
- The dialogue must be about something other than a man.
It sounds simple enough, but within Kelly’s blog post was over a dozen movies that didn’t really pass. She often writes about how women are represented and recognized on screen, and promotes strong female characters with meaningful storylines. To view her original post, click HERE!
My boyfriend and I are frequent movie goers, so I decided to apply this test to the 5 movies released in 2018 that we have seen so far. (Don’t worry – no spoilers!)
Rampage: Kinda sorta passes.
While the movie technically passes, there isn’t a lot of female interaction in general here. There’s a couple of key scenes where the females on opposing sides come face to face, but that’s pretty much it. However, the women are intelligent and highly educated, so that’s something.
A Quiet Place: Definitely passes.
The four main characters consist of a mother, father, daughter and son and there is plenty of dialogue that includes the women- despite the fact that that dialogue is in sign language. The family is living in a silent world and the daughter is deaf, but she plays a detrimental part in the plot’s conclusion. Both the mother and daughter are innovative leaders, and I wouldn’t say that typical gender roles apply here. Everyone is equal, and everyone does what they have to in order to protect each other. The movies itself is amazing and I highly recommend.
Avengers Infinity War: Just barely passes. – This was disappointing. There are a ton of strong female characters in this movie – why didn’t any of them talk to each other?! The only reason that this movie passes at all is because of one all-female fight scene that – while pretty badass – was also pretty short. It was also annoying that every single female character had an on-screen love interest, which largely drove their side storylines. I won’t even talk about the role of Iron Man’s nagging wife… like I said, disappointing.
Red Sparrow: Passes. – Truthfully, this movie didn’t portray men very well. They are weak creatures in the eyes of the Russian women, and can easily be taken down once that weakness is found. The women are powerful, manipulative, and stealthy. However, the movie had more rape scenes than I was prepared for and definitely showed a side of Russian culture that feminists may not agree with. So.. the movie passes, but there’s a lot more to be explored here.
I Feel Pretty: Passes. – Amy Shumer has done a lot for the feminist movement with her stand up comedy, but this movie is more family-friendly than her normal content. Aside from one quick sex scene in which Amy’s character is looking at herself in the mirror, this is a movie you could watch with young girls. It sends a great message – you’re as attractive as you feel! Women are always comparing ourselves to each other and highlighting our flaws, when confidence is all we really need. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this movie passes.
Women face challenges in every industry – whether it’s the pay gap, unequal recognition, or lack of opportunities. And by bringing attention to these issues, we can start to fully address them.
So challenge yourself to apply this test to the next movie you watch! Especially films that have recently been released. (And if this idea has really caught your interest, I recommend listening to the women on The Bechdal Cast Podcast analyze all your favorite movies and why they do or don’t pass.)
Thanks for reading!