Tag: bechdel test

On gender in fiction

Two cool things, slightly related.

The first is the Bechdel Test – which is a test devised by a comic strip for lesbian feminists. But is an interesting way to approach the film industry’s treatment of women.

To pass the test a movie must have:

(1) it has to have at least two women in it,
(2) who talk to each other,
(3) about something besides a man.

This site ranks cinematic releases according to the test (a surprising number fail).

Here’s the comic:

The second little tidbit is about characters in fiction for kids and young adults. There’s a magic formula of two boys to one girl that sucks in readers from both genders – get the balance wrong and you lose half the audience.

Ben Jeapes, under a nom-de-plume, wrote some books about vampires before that was cool (they’ve since been retitled and rereleased). In this post about that rebranding (which is a little cynical, which is funny). He makes the following observation.

“The three heroes stick to the magic Harry-Ron-Hermione formula for pre-teen adventures of 2 boys to 1 girl [though there is a guest extra girl in the second book]. This is because boys only want to read about boys whereas girls will read about either gender: so, you get a boy for the boys, a girl for the girls, and another boy to make up for the girl. Sad but true.”