Tag Archives: NPR

Feminist Friday: The Bechdel Test

In my Communication Research and Methods class, I unwittingly utilized the Bechdel Test. For my final project, I conducted a content analysis of the conversations between the women of Bridesmaids. I was interested in the media’s depiction of female friendships and thought that the dialogue between female characters would be the best indicator of their bonds. (For those of you interested in my amateur study, here it is: my final research paper.)

While my goal was to dissect women’s relationships in film, I actually ended up conducting a category-specific Bechdel Test. For the record, Alison Bechdel–author of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?–first featured the rule of thumb in her long-running comic, Dykes to Watch Out For.

As Mo explains, there are a precious few movies that feature a.) at least two women that b.) talk to each other about c.) something other than a man. They’re three simple guidelines, but you would be shocked at how few texts meet them. And I’m not talking about meeting them throughout the entire movie; sometimes there isn’t even one scene where a couple of ladies talk about politics or books or work or their families. That’s pretty fucking scary.

Even movies that seemingly depict women coming together to rid themselves of patriarchy sometimes reveal themselves to be complete bullshit. Not to rain on everyone’s The Fault in Our Stars parade (okay, maybe I want to), but I have to disagree with non-feminist Shailene Woodley‘s stance on The Other Woman. She says, “[It] looks really good because I think it’s really neat that it shows women coming together and supporting each other and creating a sisterhood of support for one another versus hating each other for something that somebody else created.” Yes, it is so refreshing to see a movie where three blonde, white, privileged women band together to destroy an idiot guy. Especially when taking revenge by, oh, I don’t know, succeeding in life is so boring and sensible.

Even though I am biased because I think that the film looks like total garbage, I do have some evidence to back me up:  “‘The Other Woman’: When Terrible Movies Happen to Funny Actresses” by NPR’s Linda Holmes. Despite Woodley’s assertion (which we should all listen to) that this movie is all about the sisterhood, Holmes found that these three sisters aren’t doing it for themselves; the movie failed the Bechdel Test.

I can’t say it better than Holmes, so I won’t. She writes, “Yyyyyyyup. That’s right. The Other Woman is 109 minutes long, and at no time do any of these women — including Carly and her secretary, who only know each other from work — pause for a discussion, even for a moment, of anything other than a series of dudes: Mark, Kate’s brother, Carly’s father, the secretary’s husband, Carly’s other boyfriends. It is truly, no fooling, all they talk about for 109 minutes.”

Let’s all pause for a moment and weep about the current state of feminism in the media, for Cameron Diaz’s and Leslie Mann’s terrible agents, and for the fact that someone thought it would be okay to let Kate Upton act.

Now, a call to action. Please take some time and watch films or television series where there are two women. Who talk to each other. About something other than a man. We can do it!

Here are a few suggestions:

Have a productive weekend!

(Image #1 courtesy of strategylab.ca; #2 courtesy of rookiemag.com; #3 and #5 courtesy of dykestowatchoutfor.com; #4 courtesy of theotherwomanmovie.com)

Feminist Friday: “The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth”

I recently moved into my first apartment, and I am ridiculously proud of it. I painted on my own, bought some functional-yet-cute furniture at IKEA (the Holy Grail for ex-college students everywhere) and covered up my beige carpeting with a beautiful kilum rug. But I didn’t truly feel at home at my new place until my book shelf was put up and stocked with assorted novels, memoirs, textbooks, short story collections, graphic narratives, anthologies and some childhood favorites. My room was not really mine until my books materialized:

IMG_0692

(Just an observation: this is much more impressive in person, but enjoy the glimpse into my real life.)

The joy of a nice book shelf and library will always trump Kindles and iPads. You can’t love digital literature the way you cherish a tangible, broken-in tome (she said, writing from a laptop). Luckily, I am not the only person who feels this way. Maybe civilization isn’t in a rapid free-fall after all…

Linda Holmes FF

National Public Radio‘s Linda Holmes wrote about the special connection between young women and reading yesterday on Monkey See, NPR’s pop culture blog. The post is called “The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth.” As someone who has read about more experiences than has actually lived them*, it was wonderful for me to hear about the passion that young women have for strong characters and good stories. Check out the post here:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/06/05/319064976/the-muscle-flexing-mind-blowing-book-girls-will-inherit-the-earth 

And, for God’s sake, please keep reading real books. Don’t give Amazon anymore power.

(Image #1 courtesy of yours truly; #2 courtesy of npr.org; #3 courtesy of metafilter.com)

*Don’t judge me