28 July 2010

The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies

WomenArts, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women artists gets the resources they need to do their creative work, shared this eye-opening video.

It is a bit surprising to see that The Princess Bride doesn't pass, nor When Harry Met Sally, as they feature female characters with strong personalities.

The Sex and the City movie was on TV last night, and I got sucked into watching it. Most of the film is these four (named) women talking about the relationships they have with the men in their lives. According to the Bechdel test, I don't think this movie (or the entire catalog of the TV show, for that matter) would pass.

But this makes me stop to think - women often cement their social bonds with other female intimates by talking about their hopes, fears, joys and frustrations with men. I think that talking about men is a pretty universal female trait, just as fantasizing about women is a common male pastime. I think it's fine to have limited-scope female roles in films, but I think that there should be a demand for more films that portray fully-realized adult women. The fact is, many women truly ARE only defined by then men in their lives. Perhaps if movies, which are likely the greatest vehicle of societal influence, showcased an increased number of multidimensional women, more women would embrace mental occupations beyond their boyfriends, husbands or children and expect more from their lives... The greatest single factor in the creation of films is who the directors are, which means, we need more directors to tell women's stories.


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