Ladies, let’s talk. Many of the movies we love like, The Lion King, Slumdog Millionaire and 500 Days of Summer have an important thing in common. They don’t pass the Bechdel Test.
The Bechdel test is a way of measuring how groups of women talk to each other in movies.
It was created in 1985 by Alison Bechdel. The rule comes from her comic, Dykes to Watch Out For. A strip, entitled The Rule shows two women on their way to a movie theater.
She goes on to outline the rule; a film must pass three tests.
1. At least two characters must be female and have names
2. The female characters speak to each other
3. They talk about something other than a guy.
The rule doesn’t ask much from films. But a surprising amount of popular and critically acclaimed movies don’t pass, including Fight Club, Saving Private Ryan, and The Social Network.
In my opinion, the Bechdel test is mostly an indication of good writing. As a viewer, I get emotionally invested in complex, interesting characters. Not paper thin characters who exist to prop up a male lead. Who cares about girls who do nothing but talk about the men in their lives? I want to watch movies with characters like Hermione Granger, Miranda Priestly, or Olive Pendergast. Sure, they have guys in their lives, but that’s not even close to the most important thing about them.
I like movies that pass the Bechdel test because oftentimes, the ladies who pass the test make things happen in the plot. They don’t discuss the effects, they’re the cause. I love that.