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5 Movies and Series That Surprisingly Don’t Pass The Bechdel

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

The Bechdel test was created by Alison Bechdel and sets out three seemingly simple criteria that a movie must meet in order to pass. First, there must be two or more female characters. Second, these two or more female characters must talk to each other. Thirdly, the conversation between these character has to be about something other than a man. The Bechdel test is not necessarily the marker of a feminist movie, but it does set a bare minimum that even movies with strong female leads can fail.

1.   Harry Potter

There’s no denying that this series introduces strong female characters, but only one of the movies passes the Bechdel Test. The rest fail.

2.   Stranger Things

Stranger Things may have broken boundaries but the first season saw backlash for the lack of interaction between its female characters.

3.   The Avengers

Despite including more than two female characters, the women in this film do not speak to each other in this movie.

4.   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This film may revolve around a female lead and having enough other female characters but the lack of interaction between them

proves to be a recurring downfall.


5.   The Little Mermaid

This one is a bit controversial and comes down to if you count a conversation between Ariel and Ursula about becoming human, considering Prince Eric remains the main motivation behind this conversation.

This list is more than a little depressing, but things are looking up. The bulk of the 2018 Oscar Best Picture Nominees passed the Bechdel Test. Still, gender equality is not enough. Let’s hope that in 2019 the Oscar Nominees also break boundaries for inclusivity and diversity.


(All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) 

Third-year Media Studies and Art History student at U.Va!