Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Bechdel Test is Flawed

The Bechdel test, used for determining female presence in movies, is flawed. It wasn't started to be a concept for serious feminist film analysis; it was just a joke in a one-shot comic where a lesbian character describes her rule for seeing movies. Because it wasn't defined in a sufficiently thorough way, it becomes difficult to use it for analysis.

The original Bechdel test (actually written by Liz Wallace, so it should be called the Wallace test) had three rules:
  1. The film has to have at least two women in it
  2. Who talk to each other about
  3. Something other than a man
The character then notes that Alien passes because Ripley and Lambert talk to each other about the monster.