Would Your Book Pass The Bedchel Test?

Do you know what the Bechdel Test is? I only heard of it recently, which makes me sad as a feminist.

The Bechdel test, named for the cartoonist Alison Bechdel who came up with it in a comic called Dykes to Watch Out For, consists of three rules. If a movie didn’t follow these three rules, the character in question wouldn’t go see it.

  1. The movie must have at least two female characters.
  2. They have to talk to each other,
  3. About something other than a man.

I thought this was silly, until I made a chart of all the movies I like that don’t pass that test. I’d like to share that with you. If you don’t see a movie on here, please keep in mind that I am being honest and I won’t add a movie on here if I haven’t seen it. I also have not listed all the movies I’ve ever seen, I would  be here all day. This is a list of the movies I’ve watched over the past 12 months, that are fairly well known.

Movies that Pass

The Hunger Games

Catching Fire

Mockingjay Pt 1

Frozen (Disney got a win)

Thor

Star Wars, Episode 7

Maleficent

Descendants (I have two pre teen daughters, don’t judge me.)

Mona Lisa’s Smile

Scream 1,2,3

Paranormal Activities 1-5

Dogma

Movies that don’t pass

Captain America

Iron Man 1,2,3

Avatar

The Avengers

Independence Day

Star Wars, 1-6

All Three Batman movies from the recent trilogy

Jersey Boys

All the Indiana Jones movies

All the James Bond movies

All the Men in Black movies

Jakob The Liar

Patch Adams

All 7 Freddy Kruger movies

Star Trek, 2009

Star Trek, Into Darkness

Yes, Stan Lee can be blamed for a lot of list two. We all know he was a sexist asshat, despite being a brilliant writer. He’s still an asshat.

What kills me is this; why doesn’t every movie pass this test? Is it really that hard to have two women in a book talk about something other than boys? I had to add some movies that were specifically known to be ‘feminist friendly’ to fluff that first list out.

Why? Why is it really so hard to ‘include’ women, when we are fifty percent of the population? Why do more than fifty percent of movies fail this test?

Now, I like all of the movies on the bottom list, don’t get me wrong. But, ladies and gentlemen, hear me loud and clear;

Representation Matters

I’m not the only person who’s said it, and I pray I won’t be the last. To have just one woman shown as a real person instead of background eye candy, it sends the message that this is the exception. Sure, Black Widow is badass, but we sure got Pepper Potts reminding us how women really do live to take care of men.

And don’t tell me those kinds of movies don’t sell. We’ve got Katniss, who is freaking awesome, her sister who’s just as awesome, and Joanna, and President Coin. The cast is pretty balanced with awesome women and men. Seems like those movies are doing just fine in the box office.

As writers we don’t always consider ourselves part of the ‘entertainment industry’. We should, because a lot of those movies up there were books first. Even the ones that weren’t were screen written.

And so, as one member of the entertainment industry to another, let me ask you, would your book pass the Bechdel Test?

Women Hurting Women

 

This post could be sub titled, let me take a break from talking about writing to complain about something that pisses me off almost every day.

 

Women uphold what we refer to as ‘the patriarchy’ more than any man I have ever seen.

 

This post could also be sub titled, “Let me piss off some people who don’t want to hear this.”

 

Don’t believe me? Think about it. When was the last time a man told you that you couldn’t do something? When was the last time a random guy you didn’t know made you feel judged?

 

When was the last time a woman did that to you?

 

Women, we are way too quick to judge other women. What we wear, what we do for a living, how we raise our kids, if we even chose to have them! And we are really good at inventing new ways to do it, too.

 

Skinny/fat shaming

 

I am neither skinny, nor fat, so I used to keep out of that whole mess, until I realized a rather nasty fact. There are some who do consider me fat. And I know who they are, because they make a point of letting me know that I’m fat, but that it’s okay. As though wearing size sixteen jeans is akin to a deformity.

 

We all know the stereotype. Skinny, thin girls are bitchy, because they don’t get to eat cupcakes like us jolly fat girls. Only dogs like bones and real women have curves too.

 

See what we’re doing there? We’re being just as catty and judgmental as we perceive thin women to be. Worse is the insinuation that thin girls only do things to impress men. Do you really think that women’s drinking a kale smoothie because she wants some man to think she looks hot? Maybe she just wants to look hot all by herself. Leave her and her kale smoothie alone.

 

The dreaded Mommy Wars.

 

Parenting is hard. We are raising people, doing the best we can every day and just pray that they don’t end up serial killers or stoners playing guitar in our basements.

 

So maybe we should leave each other the hell alone.

 

I am as bad about this as anyone. Parents who don’t read to their kids, or let them watch Spongebob, let them drink soda, listen to Kesha, all of these are parents who I hate. Women who tell little boys that they should let the girls go first because that’s what gentlemen do, I hate you.

 

But it is none of my damned business when it comes to your family. It’s none of anybody’s business. My kids, my family works because of the decisions that my husband and I make. I’m sure the same can be said for you. (My one exception is vaccinations. Please vaccinate your kids, so that all of our kids die.)

 

It’s also none of anyone’s business whether a woman has kids or not. We don’t do assume men will eventually have kids, do we? No guy’s ever heard his mom tell him about his biological clock. There’s no rush to marriage, or at least not nearly so early in a man’s life. I know a lot of people have said this, but I don’t think some people heard, so can I say it louder? Not every woman wants to have kids!

 

Slut shaming/ burqas/ what we chose to wear.

 

Full disclosure, I used to be really bad at this. I’m working to be a better person, I am. There was a time when I could not shut my mouth about women who were dressed ‘slutty.’ They were terrible, they obviously didn’t like themselves that much, and they behaved as though they had nothing to offer the world besides their bodies.

 

I have no idea what the hell makes me think I have got any right to judge these other women.

 

I don’t know why any of us have a right to judge another woman’s appearance. What we wear, or don’t, how much makeup we wear, or don’t. How we chose to express our faiths, or not. If she’s over eighteen, it’s no ones business.

 

Opening our mouths in front of our kids

 

What don’t you like about your appearance? For those of you with daughters, do you talk about it in front of them? If you’re having a fat day, or eat too much, or hate how you look without makeup. “Don’t take pictures of me yet, I’m ugly!” we yell in front of them. “I can’t believe I had all that. I’m such a cow.”

“Ugh, look at those crows feet.”

“This dress fit a few months ago, I’m so fat!”

“I can’t stand how red I look.”

 

I guess a lot of us forget this, but our kids think we are perfect, at least for a little while. Girls look to their moms for an example of how women are supposed to act. We’re teaching them, as women, that we hate ourselves.

 

They should hate themselves, too. That’s what they hear. We hate ourselves, and they should too.

That, I really think, is the core of this. We don’t like ourselves. We are taught at a young age that we shouldn’t like ourselves. We are taught, by our mothers, to be hypercritical of everything so that we can be better. We want to be faster, smarter, more beautiful, and those are admirable things. I want to be smarter, I want to be better. But I am done making myself feel bad about who I am right now. I am a pretty cool person. So are you, man or woman.

 

If you’re running marathons or eating Oreos, running carpool or running a business, hitting Sephora or hitting Staples, you’re cool. If you’re being nice to people, and you like how you spent your day, go you. You should keep doing just what you’re doing, girl or guy. You should let other women do the same.

 

Stop holding up the patriarchy, ladies, and let your sisters be who they want to be.

 

 

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑