There’s a very simple ‘feminist test’ often applied to movies, books and plays, and many famous films don’t pass.
The Bechdel test, named after American artist Alison Bechdel, is simple enough. It requires nothing more than a film having at least two named female characters talk to each other about something other than a man.
However, there are so many famous films that don’t manage to do that, as TikToker @allie_202_ explains. Among the films that don’t pass the Bechdel test are the iconic Lord of the Rings movies and all of the original Star Wars trilogy.
The test is not meant to measure the quality of a movie, but it does help point out how many films are missing something as simple as two women talking about anything other than a man.
Passing the test can make good financial sense too. According to Vanity Fair, studies into box office performance found movies that passed the Bechdel test tended to do better than ones that didn’t.
The Bechdel test has inspired other ways to measure how well represented female characters are in movies.
There’s the Mako Mori test, named after the character from the 2013 film Pacific Rim, in which a film must have a female character with her own narrative arc that is not about supporting a man’s story.
While comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick proposed the Sexy Lamp test, which goes a little something like: ‘If you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.’
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