If you’re following this blog so far, you’re probably on board with the idea that women are pretty awesome. And we are! Just like, you know, human beings in general, we are fascinating creatures of wonder and horror with the capacity for genius and love and cruelty and stupidity, all in equal measure. But . . . but. The stories we see about ourselves in the world don’t do us justice. And because of that, I think, the stories we base our lives around suffer from the same problems.
You may already be familiar with the Bechdel Test, which asks the following question about a work of fiction: Does it feature at least two named women who talk to each other about something other than a man? If you’ve heard about it before, you’ve likely heard how frequently films fail this test. This year, that included two best picture nominees (The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game). It’s so impactful because it’s so simple. But it’s also problematic for the same reason. It’s not enough of a requirement in some cases – can’t we do better than two women who might say one line to each other about shoes? In other cases it’s too much, too simple: Is Gravity not enough of a female-centric story because Sandra Bullock is the only woman, even though she’s pretty much solo for 90% of the film?
But the Bechdel Test is not the end of the discussion, it’s the beginning. The real discussion is about women seeing their stories being told. We are so often relegated to supporting characters in a man’s journey that it feels vital and urgent to see some woman, ANY woman, having their story told.
Consuming media that passes the test can help remind you that life is not all about a Man and his Journey (gag). Here are some things I enjoy that qualify: (more…)