Oh, Hollywood

10 Aug

Have you heard of the Bechdel Test for movies?  When watching a movie, ask 3 simple questions:

1) Are there 2 or more women in the film who are named?

2) Do the women talk to each other?

3) Do the women talk to each other about something other than a man?

I became aware of this test last spring, and I really like it because not only do shockingly few movies pass the test, pointing to the systemic gender problem in Hollywood, it is also quick and straightforward.  Somehow when I try to talk about gender roles or the lack of scripts presented to women in film, it can turn into a debate.  This test is three simple, yes or no questions.  The last two movies I watched failed the test: Inception and Where the Wild Things Are.  Both are amazing movies in their own right, and I enjoyed both exceedingly.  But they did fail the test.  Noted.  Now, I will grant you that in the latter most of the characters are not actually human.  But it still didn’t pass.  There is a mother and a daughter in the film.  The mother is not named, and she never talks to the daughter in the movie.  Inception has a plethora of gender issues, but I will avoid a deep analysis by saying it also failed.  There are two female characters, but I only caught one name, and they only talk to each other about Leo’s character.

Give it a try next time you watch a movie.   I have found that it is an easy way to be media savvy, to be able to simultaneously love a film and want more for women from Hollywood.


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