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Women’s History Month: The Bechdel Test

Since we have now entered March, it’s officially the start of Women’s History Month! I thought it would only be fitting to take a look at some movies that do and don’t pass the Bechdel test. If you don’t know, the Bechdel test is a measure of the way women are portrayed in fiction. In order to pass the Bechdel test, a movie (or television show) has to have at least two named women who discuss something other than a man for at least one conversation. You would be surprised at how many movies legitimately don’t pass this test. 

Starting with my top 5 that do pass:

The hunger games (2012)

It actually passes in the very first scene when Katniss talks to Prim about a bad dream she had. Throughout the movie, Katniss has a variety of conversations with other women such as Effie Trinket, Rue, and her mother. Only one conversation that Katniss has with Rue pertains to her love life, but if you’ve ever seen The Hunger Games, I think you’d agree that they both have more important things to worry about than the men in their lives.

Star Wars: The Last jedi (2017)

Despite being pretty much male-dominated and not a very female-positive franchise, Star Wars has definitely gotten better over time. The scene where it passes the Bechdel test is when Princess Leia and Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo talk to each other about the war.

Frozen (2013)

I’m sure this will come as no surprise to anyone, as the two main characters are sisters. Although they do spend a bunch of the movie apart, Frozen passes the Bechdel test with flying colors as the sisters talk about saving their kingdom and their love for each other (aww).

Kill bill: Volumes 1 & 2 (2003-2004)

Although Kill Bill would not come to my mind as being a feminist film, both the first two movies pass the Bechdel test by a landslide. There are multiple conversations between a mother and a daughter about revenge, women admitting their respect for each other (love that), and a woman’s pregnancy is discussed as well. 

Black panther (2018)

Black Panther is filled with named female characters, but they’re usually just talking about the hero/villain they’re up against (who are both men). However, this movie passes due to a conversation between Nakia and Okoye about the safety of the queen and princess.

5(ish) that don’t pass the test:

The avengers (2012)

Despite having 3 named females in the film, (Pepper Potts, Natasha Romanoff, and Agent Maria Hill) they never hold a conversation together.

TOY STORY 1 AND 2 (1995 & 1999)

Pixar’s record of passing the Bechdel test is honestly pretty poor in general, and despite these two films having multiple named female characters/toys, they don’t interact with each other.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE AND Harry Potter AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (2005 & 2011)

There’s surprisingly no back-and-forth dialogue between any of the women in either of these films. Don’t worry though, Hermione is still an icon even if she only really talks to Harry and Ron.

The girl with the dragon tattoo (2011)

This movie doesn’t pass the Bechdel test mainly due to having a male-dominated cast, but Lisbeth Salander still kicks butt.

la la land (2016)

This is kind of unsurprising as Mia (Emma Stone) only really talks to Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in the movie. Mia does have friends that she’s shown living with in the beginning of the movie, but none of them are named in the short time they’re in the film.

Taylor Staples is currently studying Journalism/Telecommunications with a minor in Screenwriting and Film. Taylor is involved in the WCRD 91.3 radio as an anchor/writer, the Digital Corps, and the CC media team. In her free time, Taylor loves to chill out with a good cartoon and some cocoa.
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