The Big Picture: Blecch, Dull Tests

Elesar

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The biggest thing that I think can be said about how well the Bechdel Test fails to rate female characters is this:

The Room technically passes the Bechdel test, whereas Fargo fails it.
 

Scarim Coral

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So in another word, we should have a more modern movies related test?

EDIT- Geez I was kidding of course!
 

thejboy88

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I'm glad you decided to address this issue. It's not that I uave anything against the idea of creating some kind of standard by which we can measure non-male-obsessed female characters in movies, but like Bob said it's beginning to undermine a lot of movies that I find myself liking recently.

Pacific Rim was a great example Bob brought up. I loved that movie and Mako's character especially, and the idea that she and the whole movie fail just because she's the only one bothers me a great deal.
 

Strain42

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I'd heard of this a while back, and a few of my friends and I started going over a list of movies that do pass it, but also have interesting female characters. We actually did come up with quite a lot of films that not only passed the test, but were really good. Several Pixar films made this list for instance.

I do like the idea of the Mako Mori test though. It is pretty rare for a female character to have her own narrative and story that still would have worked for the film even if the male character hadn't been there.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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thejboy88 said:
I'm glad you decided to address this issue. It's not that I uave anything against the idea of creating some kind of standard by which we can measure non-male-obsessed female characters in movies, but like Bob said it's beginning to undermine a lot of movies that I find myself liking recently.

Pacific Rim was a great example Bob brought up. I loved that movie and Mako's character especially, and the idea that she and the whole movie fail just because she's the only one bothers me a great deal.
Agreed but then two questions remain. One, how do you take into account actual empowerment because I doubt that is empirical enough for a reliable test (seriously, there was a forum about if Bayonetta was a strong female character and it was indecisive to say the least, how do you apply that to movies.

Two, if the original intent of the rule was to illustrate that the representation of women is problematic then how do we actually fix it because it would be impossible to make government mandates or industry pressures to do so.
 

Zhukov

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Thank you.

I don't know which group annoys me more. The ones that use the test as an absolute measure or the ones that get hilariously defensive at the slightest mention of the test.
 

hermes

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Interesting...

I didn't know the Bechdel Test is akin to something on the level of HIMYM's Barney's Rules taken way too seriously. On the other hand, the video illustrates the problem with it: even when its an interesting indicator of popular culture in general, it says nothing about any single element, because its too generic.

Run Lola Run does not pass because the protagonist (female protagonist, that is) have very few lines. Lord of the Flies does not pass because it has no female characters...
 

Hunter Grant

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Scarim Coral said:
So in another word, we should have a more modern movies related test?
No, remember he said not everything can be math or empirical. Philosophy does not work like physics. To weigh something as it relates to a philosophy or political view requires you to examine the entirety of it look at those philosophies and politics and then discuss how it handles each. Saying a movie is OK or not OK based solely on the presence or absence of certain genders, objects or minorities with no view to how they are handled beyond do they talk about this one thing or not is not a way to measure movies. It was just an observant joke with a point at the time that has long since been made.
 

Scarim Coral

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Hunter Grant said:
Scarim Coral said:
So in another word, we should have a more modern movies related test?
No, remember he said not everything can be math or empirical. Philosophy does not work like physics. To weigh something as it relates to a philosophy or political view requires you to examine the entirety of it look at those philosophies and politics and then discuss how it handles each. Saying a movie is OK or not OK based solely on the presence or absence of certain genders, objects or minorities with no view to how they are handled beyond do they talk about this one thing or not is not a way to measure movies. It was just an observant joke with a point at the time that has long since been made.
Yeah I know, I was kidding as I do agreed on the whole not overthinking it when it come to films or that film does NOT need to be measure in some kind of stats or data etc.
 

Saviordd1

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This was actually a good point, I'm surprised since I expected to scoff at your argument. But when you're right you're right.
 

hermes

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Hunter Grant said:
Scarim Coral said:
So in another word, we should have a more modern movies related test?
No, remember he said not everything can be math or empirical. Philosophy does not work like physics. To weigh something as it relates to a philosophy or political view requires you to examine the entirety of it look at those philosophies and politics and then discuss how it handles each. Saying a movie is OK or not OK based solely on the presence or absence of certain genders, objects or minorities with no view to how they are handled beyond do they talk about this one thing or not is not a way to measure movies. It was just an observant joke with a point at the time that has long since been made.
Ehh... I believe he was being sarcastic.
 

JoJo

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Hit the nail on the head there Bob, although it probably could have been summarised more clearly. The Bechdel Test is not intended to judge individual movies on whether they meet some sort of feminism criteria, but rather to show a general trend of lacking female representation across the medium. To flip it around, I suspect very few movies would fail a reverse Bechdel Test where no two male characters had talked about something other than a woman, and most of those which do probably only feature very few characters to start with.
 

PunkRex

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I heard about this test a while back and thought it was interesting but I had no idea peeps were taking it so seriously. Given the THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of movies out there, this seems a little on the dumb.
 

Lucane

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thejboy88 said:
I'm glad you decided to address this issue. It's not that I uave anything against the idea of creating some kind of standard by which we can measure non-male-obsessed female characters in movies, but like Bob said it's beginning to undermine a lot of movies that I find myself liking recently.

Pacific Rim was a great example Bob brought up. I loved that movie and Mako's character especially, and the idea that she and the whole movie fail just because she's the only one bothers me a great deal.
I haven't seen Pacific Rim since it was in theaters (I'm planning on correcting that but the store was out of stock.)but Chernov Alpha was piloted by a man and a woman the "other" pilots weren't given as much background as Stryker's and Gypsy Danger's but Mako wasn't the only woman in the movie. (though I can't think of any other women in the movie that weren't apart of a crowd.)
 

manic_depressive13

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I disagree with the notion that the test doesn't give due credit to movies with strong female characters. It still raises the interesting question of why there is usually only one strong female character. Most of the movies you referenced as having a strong female character had multiple strong male characters. When a single strong female exists among a whole cast of male characters, it still undermines women because that character is seen as "the woman" and the exception to the rule. I mean, why couldn't the Terminator look female? The Hobbit already incensed fans by spreading itself into 3 movies in a blatant and pathetic money grab. They made up so much bullshit for those movies, but Tauriel was a huge concession? Give me a break.
 

PlasmaCow

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I wonder if Zero Dark Thirty passes? After all it is a movie in which nearly every conversation is about one male terror suspect or another (or just straight up about Bin Laden), yes the majority of it is told from over the shoulders of two female characters.
 
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Holy crap. Gotta say, you're the last person I ever would have expected to break down the Bechdel Test and point out silly the praise of it is.

All excellent points and I do see a bit of the use you pointed out.

I like the idea of the Mako test. Tests like these should be more about generally strong writing.
Elesar said:
The Room technically passes the Bechdel test
BRAEST CANSER

Truly, the strong female character conversation of the decade.
 

Mr. Q

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I had my suspicions about the Bechdel Test being utter bullshit when I saw Smurfs 2 on the pass list while Pacific Rim was considered a failure. I almost thought this was some sort of "legit" test made by some misguided people from some major organization. But it turns out to be just another idiotic abomination spawned from the shallow end of the Internet gene pool that missed the point of its original source material and picked up by a pack of bigger idiots who honestly think something like this had deeper meaning.

Simple data cannot tell you everything, folks. This is why experiments need further tests and research to reach a proper conclusion. This is also why most Hollywood movies and games suck because they're too stupid to realize that charts and polls cannot tell you what will make a successful movie. If you want better movies or games that don't solely cater to the white male dipshit demographic, there are better ways to go about it other than using a broken test.