What is the Bechdel test for films?

Published by Luna S on 2024-03-22 in Nerd
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The Bechdel test is an evaluation method for films proposed by comic book author Alison Bechdel in 1985. Although it may seem unlikely, the test has become a common way in the film industry to assess the portrayal of women in movies based on three criteria:

1. Include at least two female characters, who are not random so must have names,
2. they must interact/converse with each other, and
3. their conversation must not be about men.
frame with symbols recalling sagas and movie (batman, harry potter, marvel)
If a film meets these three criteria, then it passes the Bechdel test. However, it is important to note that passing the test does not automatically mean that the film is feminist or that it has a positive representation of women. Rather, the test serves as a starting point to examine the presence and quality of female representations in the media.

Many films, in fact, do not pass the test, such as "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), where despite having several women in the cast, they have few direct interactions with each other, or "Gladiator" (2000), which features significant female characters like Lucilla, but their conversations rarely revolve around anything other than male characters or their circumstances. Even Pixar's animated film "Cars" released in 2006 does not pass the Bechdel test since the few female presences (Sally Carrera and Flo) have conversations that solely revolve around the male protagonist, Lightning McQueen.
This highlights the importance of the test because despite it being illogical to think that two women can't manage to talk to each other for even 30 seconds in a 2 and a half-hour film, apparently it does happen. This underscores a deficiency in the representation of women and their experiences in certain film genres.

Personally, as a girl, what I hope for is the gradual disappearance of the Bechdel test in the coming years: cinema will have truly reached the top of inclusion on this topic when it will no longer be necessary to wonder whether two women are having a normal conversation, when it will be the standard to have charismatic female characters on both the big and small screens.