Now that I introduced my first three favorite films to you, I would like to familiarize you with the Bechdel Test.
It is named after Allison Bechdel who presented the idea of the test to assess female presence in films in her 1985 comic “Dykes to watch out for”.
It works like that:
1) Does the movie feature more than one female character and do they have names?
2) Do the female characters talk to each other?
3) And do they talk about something other than a man?
It doesn’t mean that the movie is feminist or good per se, but it definitely says something about the acceptance of female presence.
But I let Anita Sarkeesian of feministfrequency.com explain it to you, since it was her who introduced me to the idea (shoutout to Jen and Domi! Thanks for bringing this to my attention!).
Muriel’s Wedding? Check. Example: Muriel and Rhonda talking about their friendship, how they need each other and how they want to be out of Porpoise Spit.
Showgirls? Check. Example: Nomi and Cristal talking about how you get to be successful on stage if you want to stand in the spotlight.
Lilo&Stitch? Check. Example: Nani and Lilo talking about what the concept of family means to them.
What is pretty rad about the Bechdel Test is that you can modify it: People of color with names, talking to each other about something other than white people? Queer characters with names, talking to each other about something other than straight people? Aliens with names, talking to each other about something other than Terrans? You get the point.
I totally recommend you to test your favorite movies, the movie you are about to watch or movies that you watched just yesterday. Now let’s elaborate on the implications…