Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[3]] Black Swan (2010) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by AJ on 2010-10-15 15:25:41.



AJ said:
The lead character regularly talks to her mother about ballet and both of their careers. There's also a lot of discussion among the ballet dancers about the politics and challenges of the profession.
Message posted on 2010-10-15 15:25:43
Lacey disagreed with the rating and said:
Barely passes. Even when those discussions about the profession occurred, they often came back to the ballet director himself and how HE was working her too hard or controlling her future. They were rarely about her own feelings not related to the relationship with the director.
Message posted on 2010-12-21 21:45:38
Andrea said:
I disagree with Lacey. While there are a few conversations about the director, the majority of the conversations are not. Think about how many women there are in the movie. It's pretty hard for every interaction between two women to relate back to him.

There are definitely conversations between Nina and her mother, Lily and Beth that do NOT have to do with Thomas. Not to mention the brief interaction between Lily and Veronica.
Message posted on 2010-12-22 01:25:43
B Town disagreed with the rating and said:
Swan Lake is written by Tchiakovsky, so any time the characters are talking about the play and the pressure of performing the role, they're really talking about him.
Message posted on 2010-12-28 22:59:11
Robert said:
In this movie the only time two males are ever talking to each other it's about a female (except maybe a line or two between Tom and Andrew at the bar).

Also even if we accept B's premise (which is a stretch IMO) it still passes. For instance there's a conversation between Lily and Nina about a drug preceded by a conversation about Nina.
Message posted on 2010-12-29 20:45:16
James said:
Anyone who disagrees with this rating is either trolling, completely insane, or has a really hard time understanding this extremely straightforward test. This is one of the most clearly female-centric movies around, and I think that the lack of male-male interaction is particularly striking.
Message posted on 2011-01-01 05:06:33
Mary said:
I agree with the rating. The few discussions of men are meant to be revealing of Nina's ambivalent attitude towards sex. They aren't in the usual context of "I must have a man to complete me". While there are several discussions about how the director controls Nina's future that seem to be along such lines, the sex of the director is irrelevant. She would be just as obessessed with obtaining approval from a female director.
Message posted on 2011-01-02 19:00:11
Diana said:
I agree wholeheartedly. B town is nuts, Swan Lake's composer is never mentioned, and while the director is in the center of thos focus because he holds these dancers' careers in his grip, he's barely in it and when they do talk about it, it's mainly to explore sexuality of the female characters. Mary and Robert and James hit the nail on the head.

I went to see this movie twice to escape the non-passing movie parade that is Holiday movies. It was a pleasure to see women dominating the screen about a profession and not just sex, periods, complex family drama or babies. *shudder*

Excellent movie about releasing/exploring female sexuality and striving for perfection of craft and self.

Also, gorgeous visuals.
Message posted on 2011-01-03 03:52:25
Emily Kane said:
If long dead males, who by common history's standards are the only ones who created art or politics for centuries, are off the table, then there's no way for this test to survive. Swan Lake was chosen as the backdrop of the film for a very good reason, and I cannot think of too many classical ballet scores/stories written by females (unfortunately). The test should be only about the interactions between the characters, not the artistic backdrop of the film. Going by that, it passes with flying colors.
Message posted on 2011-01-28 12:02:59
X said:
I'm sorry, but anyone who disagrees with this rating is an idiot. Swan Lake is not Tchaikovsky, it is a work by Tchiaovsky, and furthermore, the version in the movie is an ADAPTATION. The majority of the dialogue is between women, and to say that it is all about Thomas is ridiculous. I could prove you wrong in the first two minutes. There are way more women here than men. In fact, I'm fairly sure the movie does not pass the a male version of this test, but it sure as hell passes the traditional version.
Message posted on 2011-02-16 02:37:51
jeff said:
I agree that B Town's definition is ludicrous. By that standard there's virtually no movie that would pass this test since the majority of cultural artifacts and social institutions have been created by men. Two women discuss their job as investment bankers? Sorry, the banking industry was created by men.

Message posted on 2011-02-18 19:13:00
vex said:
I think this movie is an absolutely perfect example of how a film can pass the Bechdel test, and yet be extremely troubling from a feminist point of view. It's written by a man (absolutely not a problem in itself, but for the content of the movie it is), and it contains a whole bunch of old sexist tropes, but it does pass the B test.
Message posted on 2011-03-19 18:36:19
Jeanne disagreed with the rating and said:
While this film technically meets the criteria to pass the test, I personally found it to be one of the most deeply misogynistic movies I have seen in a long time. So, agreeing with Vex here. It's a parade of one desperate female stereotype after another. All the women in it were practically thrown back to the 50's.
Message posted on 2011-04-06 09:40:07
Caroline said:
To say Black Swan is misogynistic is to entirely miss the point. Rarely has there ever been a mainstream film that protrays with such thoroughness the twisted ways women are encouraged to discipline their own bodies into femininity. Rarely has the dark side of the feminine discipline--the push toward never fully maturing, toward being a sexual object and not a subject (never knowing how to desire), the need to be perfect, physically above all else--been shown in a non-dismissive, non-mocking way. Yes, it's a kind of horror/thriller of the feminine, but it's far from misogynistic. On the contrary, it takes the harshness of making a kind of girl or woman rather seriously.

Re failing the test, well film cameras were also invented by men, so movie not made at my lesbian commune on lesbian made film can ever pass it. DOn't be a stupidass. This film takes a very real part of women's experiences rather seriously. It might not be what the kind of woman you most relate to--it isn't for me--but these are women. Idiots.
Message posted on 2011-04-19 01:08:01
Fringey said:
It is difficult for me to decide whether black swan is misogynistic or not. The ballet world is a highly misogynistic one where the female body is fully objectified. Swan lake centers around two sexist tropes and the dancers in the film were meant to reflect this. Since the film examines but does not challenge the issues of female sexuality and the unrealistic expectations of beauty i would say that it is more misogynistic than not.
Message posted on 2011-05-24 16:35:58
lulu disagreed with the rating and said:
This movie is actually quite complex and although it meets the rating I think there are many things that promote typical female stereotypes. The black swan - sexually active, drug taking, 'loose' girl, the white swan - 'tight,' afraid, seemingly suffering from bulemia and anxiety disorders...these women are stereotypes, showing no individual difference or personality. No positive relationships between women either. Main characters are both sexualized...this film is based on women vs women hate.
Message posted on 2011-06-01 04:06:08
Max said:
I whole-heartedly agree with the rating and find it frustrating that people are accusing this film of being misogynistic because it supposedly does not challenge traditional female roles and stereotypes. By virtue of humanizing the characters (yes, they take on stereotypical roles, but their motiviations and humanity are very real and present nonetheless) and by portraying their lifestyles as tragic and horrifying, this film challenges norms. It also points out the illogical virgin/whore dichotomy.
Message posted on 2011-06-17 20:24:19
Duncan said:
"Swan Lake is written by Tchiakovsky, so any time the characters are talking about the play and the pressure of performing the role, they're really talking about him."

That seems an absurd standard. By that measure, any Harry Potter scene involving only male characters passes the test because they are discussing events pertinent to a world created by a female author.
Message posted on 2011-07-28 18:07:46
Dan said:
Respectfully I think it is a good time for those who disagree with the rating for a film like this to go and devise their own test. The Bechdel test will still be relevant because of what it shows when applied stringently.
Message posted on 2011-08-21 17:36:52
north5 said:
Easiest pass I've ever seen.
Message posted on 2011-09-14 21:25:15
Charlotte said:
Oh come on now!

B Town = obvious troll is OBVIOUS.
Message posted on 2011-09-25 20:33:29
Ilya disagreed with the rating and said:
My disagreement is based on the substance of the film rather than the criteria that it passes.

Black Swan is, perhaps, the most anti-feminist film I have seen in years. The women there were portrayed as completely dependent on the male for success without that dependency being a critique of chauvinism. Furthermore, while the choreographer was allowed to pursue his sexual interests and maintain the role of a person committed to his profession (one can even argue that he is a good choreographer because he seduces and uses women, but I don't have the space to develop that argument here). The women, on the other hand, are shown as if before a choice: either you pursue your sexuality or the virtues of your profession. And straying away from that strict dilemma through finding a synthesis results in insanity and death. What could be more ant-ifeminist?
Message posted on 2011-12-06 00:54:01
Victor said:
Ilya, first of all I disagree, but second of all, and far more importantly, that's not relevant, like, at all. The Bechdel test is not a test to determine how feminist or anti-feminist a film is. The Bechdel test is a test to look at women's presence, portrayal, and perspective in films and in the film industry. Your disagreement with the film's score is totally invalid.
Message posted on 2012-01-18 05:30:21
bufkus said:
Don't be stupid and disagree with the rating just because you find the movie mysoginistic. The rating is purely whether it passes the test or not. BTW Black Swan is not mysoginistic and anyone who thinks it is, has a big huge case of "missing the point".
Message posted on 2012-02-08 07:31:50
Ben said:
Actually, I don't find the film misogynistic. It is an accurate portrayal of the mental agony which comes with making your entire life about performing to the standards of others and the desperation just to achieve even without agreeing with the standard set for you. The direct contradiction and constant struggle of trying live with a partitioned mindset. I thought the message was fairly universal.
Also, did you not realize that all the characters were inherently bad people? None of this was painted as right, in fact the whole feeling one is meant to get from the film is "Jesus, this is all wrong." So not only does it pass, but it paints males as horrifying and controlling. It's neither feminist not anti, it is a film about the horrors of humanity, the mind, and the struggle of a forcefully partitioned and repeatedly violated human nature.
Message posted on 2012-04-19 08:35:37
BiiaCX said:
I'm a woman and I don't think this movie is misogynistic at all. I was deeply in love with it a year ago, so I was discussing it with a lot of people, reading interviews (and scripts), to try and understand this movie's real meaning. It is NOT about Woman x Woman hate. It's actually a great portrayal of how women are taught to be perfect, and more specifically, Nina (because she's not just a common woman, she has serious psychological issues). Lily is just a girl who tries to befriend Nina. The Woman x Woman fights are never really about Lily, but it's Nina against herself. She is projecting into Lily everything the terrible "teacher" wants from her. She's paranoid because she doesn't know how to be both. As a feminist, I wouldn't say this movie is neither feminist nor misogynistic. It's about the human psiqué. It's hard to identify with the main character, but I've seen both men and women doing so when they dig deeper and try to understand her. Besides, this movie is the is complete opposite of, for an example, Fight Club. Almost every character is a female, they don't try to glamorize what Thomas does. The fact that the pursuit for that "perfection" ends in tragedy says enough. I would be more worried if Nina actually managed to be "perfect" and happy, because all of Thomas' actions would have been excused. All of the pressure he put on his dancers. Like I said, it's not feminist, but it's not misogynistic.
Message posted on 2012-08-25 01:06:37
Matrim said:
Look, the movie passes the test. Period. If you don't like the movie, that's fine. The test has no bearing on that. If you think it's misogynist, that's fine. The test has no bearing on that. Just because a movie fails the test doesn't make it misogynist and just because a movie passes the test doesn't make it feminist. The test is a baseline, not a complex measure of the film's themes.
Message posted on 2012-10-15 23:41:20
Joanna said:
There is a conversation between Nina and Veronica where Nina congratulates Veronica on getting the Swan Queen role, not knowing that she actually got it. Veronica comes back and asks her why she told her that and then told her f you. Also Nina and her mother talk a lot about the Swan Queen role and about how Nina's mother gave up dancing to raise her.
Message posted on 2012-12-30 00:04:56
Foggen said:
I think it's safe to assume B Town's comment was ironic.
Message posted on 2013-05-15 17:51:39
Gabe said:
I haven't read through every single comment so sorry if I repeat. Off the top of my head I can think of two examples, the first between Nina and Lily about Nina's lesbian fantasy, and the second when Nina returns Beth's things at the hospital, Beth says "You stole my things?" and Nina says "I just wanted to be perfect like you"
Message posted on 2015-05-25 17:33:43
New Age disagreed with the rating and said:
Ballet is oppression of women, which glorifies non-realistic body types and misogyny. Ballet should be completely banned and every historical mention of it should be destroyed. It is time to end the cultural oppression of women.
Message posted on 2017-06-29 17:57:11

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