• Clueless passes reverse Bechdel. As does Heathers. But, maybe Mean Girls wouldn’t?

    What’s the point and who came up with Reverse Bechdel? Bechdel isnt even a standard for getting movies greenlit, it just is a test for representation only. It’s not a complicated test either.

    If the point of the Reverse Bechdel test is to show that it’s difficult to meet these standards when your main character is a dude, the answer is to have more lead characters be ladies?

    • Miller

      I’ve had a few beers so I may not be thinking clearly but this was my question as well — who the fuck came up with a reverse Bechdel test? And why should anyone give a shit? Which I think is what this article is saying but the idea of monitoring movies for dudes talking is making my head hurt with the pointlessness, as opposed to the booze.

      EDIT: and anyway, based on dude cinema classics The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen and The Magnificent Seven any such conditional should be labeled the Bronson Test.

      • Son of Griff

        I think that a more useful test is one where men don’t discuss women in an objectifying way or romantically proprietary way, either with specific names or relationship with the story or in general. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,CRUISING, the aforementioned THE GREAT ESCAPE, and possibly THE BOYS IN THE BAND are the only examples that possibly come to mind in my state of exhaustion.

    • DJ JD

      I don’t get it either. The Bechdel test isn’t, like, a hard grade or philosophical requirement, it’s just an observation that highlights some unchallenged cultural norms. I think it makes a great point in that context, but it’s been extended far beyond the bounds it was initially placed in.

      • The Ploughman

        The Bechdel Test is still a useful tool. The Ploughwoman, for some crazy reason, doesn’t spend her waking hours pondering movies, let alone representation in them. She was baffled by a friend who didn’t like Monsters, Inc because the two women with speaking roles were a shrewish girlfriend and a literally slimy office B. I explained the Bechdel Test to her and it was fun to see a realization about her friend’s point when it took her several minutes to come up with a single film that sort-of passed the test.

        @gillianren:disqus has the right of it. The usefulness of a Reverse Bechdel Test is to illustrate how easy it should be to pass the standard Bechdel Test.

    • A dude who got all snippy that we care about representation, is my guess about who came up with it. And the point is, “when Poochy is not onscreen, people should be asking, ‘Where’s Poochy?'” As in, duh, all women have to talk about is the male main character–what do you mean, sometimes, main characters can be women?

  • Zerunagerous

    Reverse Bechdel matters as a method of comparison. If all we did was a Bechdel test, and said, “look how many movies fail this,” and never used a reverse Bechdel test, we would not have any actual evidence that women are less represented than men. It is only by performing both tests that you can say, “look how many movies fail the Bechdel test relative to how many movies fail the reverse Bechdel test.” You may make assumptions based on your experience of culture, but you do not have statistical proof until you perform both tests.

    If a movie fails the Bechdel test, you cannot say it is sexist if it equally fails the reverse Bechtel test. If it is a cartoonish and badly written romance story where the female characters only ever talk about the male characters, and the male characters only ever talk about the female characters, it would equally fail both tests. If it is a story with only two characters, one woman and one man, and they only talk to each other (or any number of characters, if men only talk to women and women only talk to men), it would equally fail both tests and could not be called sexist. If you only perform one test, you only get half of the information. It is only when a movie passes one test and fails the other that the test indicates potential sexism.