Tag Archives: Bechdel Test

Feminism in the Movies. Some Thoughts

My Facebook feed the other day suddenly had a ton of liberal friends sharing a link that said Sweden is trying to incorporate a measure of whether a film has gender bias, through the Bechdel test.

Apart from feeling that movies are an inherently non-feminist medium , I’ve always had reservations about the Bechdel test. I don’t really understand how the presence of two women who talk to each other about something other than a man ties in to feminism. It is worth bearing in mind that the “Bechdel Test” originated in a certain context- Hollywood in the early 1990s, where I suppose even this much would be a lot.

It doesn’t make sense to transplant the Bechdel Test mindlessly elsewhere, in all cultural contexts, and expect it to show up meaningful results. Mechanically applying it to Indian TV, for instance, would result in Ekta Kapoor’s K-serials all passing with flying colors (well, they talk about other women and morality and doing the dishes, so that’s not talking about a man, so it’s fine…) If Byomkesh Bakshi’s Satyavati becomes less feminist than a K-soap heroine then I have nothing further to say. So it will be interesting to see what happens in Sweden.

I much prefer what someone with a lot of time and a good power of observation on the internet has called the Mako Mori test:

The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.

(Also, this way, LOTR “passes”, because of Eowyn. Whee.)


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