A movie is said to satisfy the Bechdel Test if it satisfies the following three criteria:
- The movie has at least two named female characters
- ... who have a conversation with each other
- ... about something other than a man
Sounds pretty simple, right? For example, the movie Aliens passes the test because Ripley and Newt talk to each other about the "monsters". As it happens, about half of all movies fail the test, including (surprisingly) some movies with female lead characters. In 2012, only four of the top 10 grossing movies passed the test (via Andrew Sullivan):
I confess to being surprised about this. If the tables were turned, and we were looking for movies with two men having conversations about something other than women, I'm pretty sure most of them with qualify. (I couldn't find much research into the Reverse Bechdel test except for this, which only covers a few, mostly fantasy movies.) It just goes to show that we need more movies with female protagonists (via Jennifer Borgioli), so that the other characters have something else to talk about.
If you're out to watch a movie this weekend, why not keep track of whether it passes the Bechtel test? Whatever you're doing, have a good one -- we'll be back on Monday.