Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Failing the Bechdel Test (The Accidental Misogynist)

The Bechdel Test:

What is now known as the Bechdel test was introduced in Alison Bechdel's comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In a 1985 strip titled "The Rule",[8][9] an unnamed female character says that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements:[4]
  1. It has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.
From Wikipedia.

I've been reading a fair amount about the test recently. It's all over social media. Every movie from last year has been tested. Most have failed.

So I'm not sexist. I'm not misogynistic. But I thought I'd look at some of my own work, just to see.



Okay. I get it. I really do. I see what they are saying. But no.

Taking aside my own work, which I'll come to in a minute, my question is WHAT? So I'm/we're/they're not allowed to write things that have no important female characters in?

Like Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption?

Damn. I've been going wrong all these years.

You see, my problem is not that there are not enough strong female characters, or protagonists, or anything else, but that, well, sort of suddenly, I'm being judged for it.

My novel Shutter Speed? No. No strong female characters. But hey, it's about a bunch of dysfunctional young men - most of whom have enormous social issues - so yeah. I should put females in it. It's about a group of young male friends and their issues. Yes, there are females in the supporting cast. Mostly they're there to support how broken the main cast are.

The main cast are not nice people.

So I'm not undermining female tropes, I'm not stereotyping. I'm writing about broken people.

A broken test.

Complaints about misogynistic work in film, and writing, screenplays, etc. get my vote.

Judging a work by it's cast doesn't.

Do I need to list work that failed the test? Do I need to point out that the finger is pointing in the wrong direction? Did you know that "The Spice Girls Movie" passed? "Reservoir Dogs" failed?

Shouldn't the finger be pointed at the fictional works that support hate? Racism? Sexism?

Damn, the internet needs to focus.


So, here's a picture of a failure:

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I wouldn't constrict stories to pass tests. In fact, any sort of cultural constriction seems to defeat the purpose of art. Writers can create stories that fail the test in all 3 regards, but still be engaging and memorable to both genders. It seems like the rule is to point out the misogyny/lack of a female voice in Hollywood, which I think exists, and it makes people think, but that doesn't mean creators should start curtailing their stories. Now that I think of it, I believe Toy Story fails the test.