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The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies

July 25, 2010

Okay, the concept for this test has apparently been around for 25 years, but I just learned about it, and I thought it was too good to bury in the round-up. The Bechdel Test is a simple one. To pass it, a movie must meet these criteria:

(1) it has to have at least two women in it, who
(2) who talk to each other, about
(3) something besides a man.

This video provides a great introduction to the concept:

For your reference, http://bechdeltest.com/ lists movies with their status on the test (such as, “There are two or more women in this movie, but they only talk to each other about a man.”) Users can add to, comment on, or disagree with the status currently associated with a given film.

The comic strip that popularized the rule and a bit of backstory can be found at http://alisonbechdel.blogspot.com/2005/08/rule.html [hey, that post is from 2005, so I’m only *five* years behind there!]

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 1:35 am

    I take this vid sarah. thanks for uploading…😛

  2. Rachel permalink
    July 28, 2010 8:44 pm

    Wow. I didn’t think of that. This is a great test. The girl in the video though checked her wrist for the time (1:07), but she had long sleeves and a watch couldn’t be seen. not a big deal, just saw it. =P

  3. August 3, 2010 3:21 am

    This is a awesome test. I’ve got a lot of girl friends which i’ll be sending to this site.. Thank you!

  4. Ethel permalink
    August 6, 2010 10:29 am

    So why is it the Bechdel test when Liz Wallace was the originator? Isn’t it corrupt to not give credit where it is due? Even if she didn’t spread the test she came up with it, she deserves the credit.

    • August 6, 2010 3:38 pm

      I suppose it’s because Bechdel featured in her Dykes to Watch Out For strip which had a hand in popularizing it. The links in the post above give a bit about the origins with Wallace, and the actual strip itself says “with thanks to Liz Wallace.” Bechdel does give Wallace credit for the rule – so I’m guessing it is commonly referred to by Bechdel instead of Wallace because Bechdel may have more name recognition generally.

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