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The Bechdel Test

CHAPTER 7

The Bechdel Test

The idea for the Bechdel Test first appeared in 1985 in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In the strip, one woman explains to another that she has a three simple rules for deciding if she will see a movie:

  1. It has to have at least two women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man

A surprising number of movies do not pass the test (or maybe it’s not surprising… )

Watch Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency describe the Bechdel test (and check out other great videos about representations of women in video games and more) at

https://feministfrequency.com/video/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-movies/

After reading about women in fiction and the Bechdel test, Alaya Dawn Johnson constructed the POC (people of color) Bechdel test. The rules are:

  1. It has to have two POC in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a white person

Read her blog post on the Bechdel test and race in popular fiction at http://theangryblackwoman.com/2009/09/01/the-bechdel-test-and-race-in-popular-fiction/

Description: Bechdel 2014 hi-res-download 2 2.jpg

Alison Bechdel is the author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and the graphic memoir Fun Home. She was a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Photo courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

( https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Alison_Bechdel#/
media/File:Bechdel_2014_hi-res-download_2_2.jpg
)



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