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The Bechdel Test

What is the Bechdel test? Well, it’s a way of evaluating the roles that women play in movies, theater, etc. A piece of entertainment passes the Bechdel test when it:

  1. Has two women in it who
  2. Talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man

This sounds like an easy to pass test…but it’s not. And it highlights some subtle (or not so subtle) gender roles, as portrayed by the entertainment industry.

The test’s origin traces back to a comic strip I’d never heard of, Dykes to Watch Out For. The test is named for one of the characters.

So where did I come across this interesting piece of trivia? Why, on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, which is well worth perusing. In addition to being a (fine) science fiction and fantasy writer, Scalzi writes a weekly column about movies. This week’s installment featured (you guessed it) the Bechdel test.

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