In a movie review in the Oregonian, I came across the following test:
(1) It has to have a least two women in it who (2) talk to each other about (3) something besides a man.
This is known informally as the Bechdel Test, having originally appeared in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and has been embraced by others on the Internet. I particularly like this site (http://bechdel.nullium.net/) which has icons for which levels the movie meets.
Here (http://alisonbechdel.blogspot.com/2005/08/rule.html) is the comic strip. Apparently, it should be known as the Liz Wallace test.
I love the Bechdel test because I hunger for more movies that are not so man-centered. From now on, my three sentence movie reviews will also include a note if the movie passes the test. I’m guessing that a lot of them won’t. Doubt for instance, doesn’t really pass, though you would think it would. It did have at least two women in it, and they did talk to each other, but they pretty much only talked about a man.
For those of you not familiar with Dykes to Watch Out For, you should read it. You can read the entire strip in book form in several volumes most likely available from your library and I’m guessing it is on the Internet, too. It is a very funny literate comic, with politics and many memorable characters.