The Bechdel–Wallace Test is a general indicator of women's active involvement in films, novels, television shows, and other forms of media.
Learn about the test's major parameters, its history, and the Hollywood movies that scored well.
The Bechdel–Wallace Test (also known as the Mo Movie Measure or the Bechdel Test) examines how women are portrayed in film, television, novels, video games, and other forms of storytelling to identify clichés that reinforce gender disparity in media representation. To pass the Bechdel–Wallace Test, a story must have two female characters conversing about something other than males. According to user-edited databases, almost half of all Hollywood films pass this examination.
The Bechdel–Wallace Test isn't always a good measure of how well women are represented in a given piece of media. Rather, it is a wide indicator of women's active involvement in cinema, novels, TV shows, and other forms of media in general, providing a single quantifiable statistic for gender equality in media representation.
Many new tests for other types of representation have been inspired by the Bechdel–Wallace Test. The Vito Russo Test (used to assess representation for LGBTQ+ persons) and the DuVernay Test (used to measure representation for people of colour) are two further tests. The Mako Mori Test (inspired by Pacific Rim) or "sexy lamp test" is used by critics to evaluate female character storylines.
3 Criteria for the Bechdel–Wallace Test.
Three primary metrics make up the original Bechdel–Wallace Test:
1. Character count: At least two female characters are required in a work of fiction.
2. Action: The two female protagonists must converse with one another.
3. Something other than a man must be the focus of the conversation.
Additional conditions may be required, such as the two female characters having names, having a discussion that lasts at least sixty seconds, or being the protagonists of the story.
The Bechdel–Wallace Test's Beginnings:
Alison Bechdel, the creator of the Bechdel–Wallace Test, attributes the concept to two people: her karate partner and friend Liz Wallace and novelist Virginia Woolf. In the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel formalized the theme. Two women go through the movies in a strip titled "The Rule," discussing the test's prerequisites.
Alison Bechdel, who was born in Pennsylvania and now lives in Vermont, is best known for her graphic novels and comic books, which include the New York Times bestsellers The Secret to Superhuman Strength and Are You, My Mother?: A Comic Drama, as well as her graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which was adapted into a Broadway musical that won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori. The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian have all published her cartoons. Bechdel was given a MacArthur Grant by the MacArthur Foundation in 2014.
8 Movies That Scales The Bechdel–Wallace Test.
The Bechdel–Wallace Test is passed by eight Hollywood movies:
1. Aliens (1986):
One of the characters in Bechdel's original comic strip mentions Alien passing the exam. While fans debate whether the original Alien had enough female characters to pass the test, the 1986 sequel Aliens contains a strong bond between the main character and a young girl with whom he discusses a variety of themes.
2. Spirited Away (2000)
is a Studio Ghibli animated film about a little girl who loses her parents to a spirit-world curse and must overcome a series of challenges to save them. On her journey, she meets a diverse cast of female and male personalities with whom she forms deep bonds.
3. Frozen (2013):
Elsa and Anna, sisters in a remote country, star in Disney's Frozen. Despite spending the majority of the film apart, they have many fascinating conversations about their relationship, their kingdom, the impending winter, and their family.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Is the most recent edition in the Mad Max franchise, and it contains an extremely wide cast of strong female leads who frequently discuss freedom, home, optimism, and strength.
5. Hidden Figures (2016)
Is a true story about three women who share a strong commitment to ensuring the success of NASA's Project Mercury. They talk about anything from aerospace engineering to hard arithmetic, all while overcoming sexism and prejudice to realize their aspirations.
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017):
While the original Star Wars films failed to pass the Bechdel–Wallace Test, the recent additions to the franchise feature a slew of strong female characters who debate everything from war tactics to the Force.
7. Black Panther (2018):
Multiple of the Avengers films fail the Bechdel–Wallace Test, however, Black Panther, one of the highest-grossing domestic movies of all time, contains several strong female characters that have diverse and varied interactions with one another, teasing and expressing care and concern.
8. Oscar winner, Parasite (2019).
The plot revolves around a family who attempts to gradually take control of their wealthy bosses' lives. Several female characters dispute and disagree with one another as they try to figure out how to deceive each other.
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