Everyone loves a good movie with reltable characters, but Hollywood has always been under critisim due to their lack of female characters, as well as their portrayal. The Bechdel test is probably one of the simplest forms of assesing the female character(s) in a movie, originally from a comic (see photo below) by Alison Bechdel in 1985.
In practice, it's a test on how superficial the female characters are in a movie. Some people argue that it's a measurement of how feminist forward a movie is, but the test isn't that difficult.
Here are the three rules:
1) There must be more than two female characters
2) They must speak to eachother
3) They have to talk about somehting other than a man.
A conversation between sisters, friends or even strangers about spagatthi, clothes or dogs would make a movie pass the test. They can bicker about traffic or the weather and voila! the movie passes because it shows that the female is more than superficial. And yet there are very popular movies that barely pass, or just don't.
Gaurdians of the Galaxy (2014)
Does it pass? Barely
This actually only passes because of one scene, when Nebula tells Gamora that she was the sibling she "hated the least." Does it make it any less great a movie? Nahh. It still had a dynamic female lead. But just one.
Jurassic World (2014)
Does it pass? Barely.
This also only passes because of one scene, unless you count the dinosaurs interacting. Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a strong, dynamic character that goes frmo cold and work driven to protectively and motherly over her nephews. Is that the most progressive kind o character change? Not really. But I'll give her props doing all that running in those heels.
The Avengers (2012)
Does it pass? Nope
There where in fact more than two female characters, but they never had a conversation.
Star Wars : Episode IV, V, VI
Does it pass? Not even close
There was only Leia. She was a very strong character, but the only female one. In fact there is a video made out of every other female line spoken throughout the trilogy and its less than 30 seconds long.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Does it pass? Well...
There are two female Jeager pilots. But they never talk to each other at any point in the movie. In fact, only one of them had a real speaking role. Mako was still a wonderful character, reserved but driven and goes through a wonderful journey in the story. Everything about it was wonderfully put together, but it doesn't even pass this simple test. Does anyone remember the name of the other female character?
Of course, you have to take into consideration that these are action movies, normally made for male audiences. The females in those movies are often strong, bold, and iconic, yet there only tends to be one or two per action movie. There are exceptions, like the movie Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, where the main two heros are female. Does it make this acceptable? Not really, but it's how things are until movie makers make the difference
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
- Pan (2015)
- Superman (1978)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
- Back to the Future (1985)
- Deadpool (2016)
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003)
- Avatar (2009)
- The Princess Bride (!987)
- The Perfect Guy (2015)
How about kids movies? Let's take Pixar. In fact, since 2014, 10 out of 14 pixar movies fail the Bechdel test. Less tahn 25% of Pixar movies have female characters, and there's only been one that has a female lead, Brave.
What does this say to all the little girls in the audience?
What does this say about women in general?