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Bechdel-Wallace test

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The Bechdel-Wallace test or Mo Movie Measure (often simply Bechdel test) is a media test which was developed by Liz Wallace and became widely known after Alison Bechdel featured it in her comic Dykes to Watch Out For, where the character Mo explains that she refuses to watch any film that doesn't fulfil this short set of conditions:

  1. the movie [media] has at least two women characters;
  2. who talk to each other;
  3. about something other than a man.

Passing the test shows only a very rudimentary level of female agency and independence in a work and cannot be construed any sort of guarantee of feminist, or even rounded, characterisation.

A failure may be indicative of the problems of token women characters. Failure of a work that passes some other, stricter media tests of female presence (such as the Mako Mori test or the Sexy Lamp test), is usually due to lack of female characters altogether, and sometimes due to male-satelliting roles and depictions of what female characters do exist.

The point of the Bechdel test is not whether individual works pass or fail, but what the trend over major masses of media are. A vast amount of geeky media fails the test.

Corollaries Edit

Others have proposed corollaries to the test:

  • One often used variation requires that the women are named characters.
  • Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency added: "4. Do the female characters talk to each other about something other than a man for more than sixty seconds?"
  • Tumblr user oranges8hands added "Both women have to be alive at the end too."

Applications Edit

The test has been applied to various media:

Variants Edit

External links Edit

See alsoEdit

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