How the “Bechdel Test” is going to spoil every movie for me


Have you heard of the Bechdel Test? Read no further if you wish to enjoy your movies or books (stories) anymore. Why? Well, because of this peculiar rule, I’ll now have a mental checklist every time I watch a movie! The Bechdel Test is described as follows:

The Bechdel Test, credited to Liz Wallace, was introduced in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In a 1985 strip titled “The Rule,” an unnamed female character says that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements: (1) It has to have at least two women in it, (2) who talk to each other, (3) about something besides a man.

This blog post introduced me to this topic and opines that the above rule exists as a litmus test for Hollywood directors to check how much they cared for their female characters. I’m somewhat bothered by this. No offense to women but isn’t this somehow destroying the experience of a movie to every one? If a story does not permit having two women, will a director or story writer be forced to introduce unwanted characters for the sake of satisfying this rule?

That said, let’s break down the rule. Firstly, it says, the story must have two women in it. That isn’t asking much considering not many stories (or movies) exist without two women. (An extension of this idea is that both these women must be named characters – that is, it cannot be a random cleaning woman who would just appear on the screen). Secondly, these named characters must share a dialogue. This is where it gets a little tricky. You have your two women, right; now why should they be forced to speak to each other? Finally, this is where it gets confusing – now that they are talking, they should not talk about men?

I remember a story that I had read in my school days – Dusk by Saki (H H Munro). It has no female characters. But a great short story nevertheless. (Read it online) My story – The Cold Rain – also fails the test. Although it has two named female characters, there is no dialogue between them.

The only sane explanation that could have an “irritated woman” come up with this rule for herself, and by extension to every other person who feels the same way is that, in the 80’s there were an exceeding number of movies that ‘used’ women in unimportant roles and all male characters drove the story. Was it the case? I do not know. I haven’t watched many movies from the 80’s.

The question is, how relevant is this test in today’s cinema? Of course, Hollywood and Bollywood, the world’s two most money-raking franchises are male-dominated, with actors being heavily overpaid than actresses. In fact, the 2012’s list of 10 richest celebrities do not feature an actress at all.

On a lighter note, here’s the list of IMDb’s top 10 movies and whether they pass this test: **

Rank Rating Title Pass
1. 9.2 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) No
2. 9.2 The Godfather (1972) No
3. 9.0 The Godfather: Part II (1974) No
4. 8.9 Pulp Fiction (1994) Yes
5. 8.9 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) No*
6. 8.9 12 Angry Men (1957) No*
7. 8.9 Schindler’s List (1993) Yes
8. 8.8 The Dark Knight (2008) No
9. 8.8 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) No
10. 8.8 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) No*

Notes: ** Tabulated from memory; may not be completely accurate. * Tabulated from sources; again, accuracy questionable. If you know of variations from the above, please leave a comment, I’ll fix it.



Slacker (n):

Someone who puts off doing things to the last minute, and when the last minutes comes, decides it wasn’t all that important anyways and forgets about it.

Yeah. Its hard for me to admit, but I’ve become a slacker of late. As I’ve been telling a lot of people, I was busy with nothing! And its true.

My routine for a day, of late, consisted of only the following:

1. World of Warcraft (My Blood Elf Paladin is Level 40 now! Yay! 😛 )
2. Supernatural (I watched all 3 seasons – 60 episodes of around 45 minute duration each, in 4 days!)
3. Watched loads of movies (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Batman Returns, Batman Begins, Bee Movie, Horton Hears A Who)

That must in a way explain why I was not blogging of late. This is mainly due to the lack of a routine all because of the holidays! Thankfully enough, with college beginning tomorrow, I hope things get into a rythm. 🙂

Nothing more to add today. Good day to everyone reading this, and also to the ones who are not. 🙂

Flurry four

I was tagged by Mary on a Meme. This is my first. 🙂 The idea is to take number 4 as the theme.

4 colors I like most: Red, Blue, White and Black.

4 movies I’d watch again: Godfather, The patriot, Police Academy Series, Lord of the Rings

4 movies I regretted watching: Apocalypto, Dhoom 2, The Last Legion, Epic Movie

4 sweets I like: Kheer, Rasgolla, Jalebi, Laddu

4 places in India I like to visit: Munnar, Darjeeling, Manali, Kashmir

4 places outside India: Switzerland, All of US, Singapore, Australia

4 things I’m crazy about: Computers, Internet, Programming, Web Design

4 things I can’t live without: Friends, Computer, Bike, Food!

4 cartoon shows I liked: Dexter’s Laboratory, Swat Cats, Tom & Jerry, Popeye

4 people I’d tag: Harsha, Pavan, Ravencasper, ? (Don’t personally know anyone else who blogs! 😦 )

Carry On

I downloaded (don’t ask me how or where from) three films of the Carry On series of the 1960s and 1970s.

All the movies were worth the watch and a good laugh! The actors have really done an amazing work to keep the viewer entertained throughout. More movies lined up. 🙂

I also watched the entire Police Academy series. (1 through 7) Again, the old comedy movies are really fun to watch. They were a good deal of laugh too. 😀

If you can manage to lay your hands on any of the Carry On series or the Police Academy series, do watch them. A perfect weekend time pass with friends! 🙂