In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel introduced a quick way to point out gender inequality in movies. As listed in the comic below, a film has to meet the three following requirements to pass the test:
1. It must have at least two, named, women in it.
2. These two or more women must talk to one another.
3. If these two or more women talk to each other, it has to be about something other than a man.
Dykes to Watch Out For:
The Bechdel Test isn’t a catch-all, matter of fact guide for feminism in film. Just because a movie passes the test, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s feminist or even great at representing women. In the same vein, just because a film doesn’t pass this test doesn’t mean it isn’t feminist (Ex Machina is a perfect example). However, the test is a good way to establish whether or not a film has well-developed female characters. And honestly, I was getting really annoyed when putting together this list because there are a good chunk of films that don’t pass this test. Even the ones that do don’t necessary pass with flying colors.
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
(Yes, this particular image is from a deleted scene, but the film still passes with or without it. But barely.)
3. The Incredibles (2004)
4. Sin City (2005)
(But not Sin City 2…)
5. Thor (2011) & Thor: The Dark World (2013)
6. Big Hero 6 (2014)
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
8. Iron Man 2 (2010) & Iron Man 3 (2013)
(But not Iron Man)
9. Watchmen (2009)
10. Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Again, I must stress that the Bechdel test doesn’t necessarily mean that a film is feminist. However, there are a shocking number of movies that don’t pass this test which is baffling to think about but frustratingly accurate.
Wondering if some of your favorite films pass the Bechdel test? Check out this website.