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]] Man of Steel (2013) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Rahul on 2013-06-13 06:26:13.



Rahul said:
The movie passes the test based on 2 conversations. One slightly dubious, one clear cut.

The first one is when Jenny (who isn't named at this point in the movie, but is named later) tells Lois "You have got to come see this" regarding the news of the alien invasion being telecast.

The second is when Faora tells Lois "The atmosphere on our ship is different from Earth. This apparatus will help you breathe in that atmosphere"
Message posted on 2013-06-13 06:26:13
Alyssa disagreed with the rating and said:
The lines listed are entirely one-sided, and the Bechdel Test stipulates that the two named women must "talk to EACH OTHER". This indicates a conversation, or at least an exchange of words (however short) from both sides.

One woman barking an order at another hardly constitutes "talking" to each other.

I was very disappointed in this film, as it had a lot of potential, but seemed to create very flat characters all around, not just with the women.
Message posted on 2013-06-16 02:17:47
Annie disagreed with the rating and said:
These are not conversations. They are single lines said from one woman to another but in neither instance does the other woman respond - there is also the line where Lois says "What's wrong with the toner?" but the other woman does not respond. While these lines are not about a man, they are hardly exchanges. I don't think it passes.
Message posted on 2013-06-16 15:22:35
davianna disagreed with the rating and said:
Those 'conversations' Rahul posted are not really that. That's just Jenny and Faora talking at Lois, who didn't respond to either of them. Therefore, it's not an actual conversation.
Message posted on 2013-06-16 17:56:05
David Beard disagreed with the rating and said:
I like Feminist Frequency's variation on the Bechdel test: "talk to each other for 90 seconds."

In that case, clear fail.
Message posted on 2013-06-17 01:47:04
Dave disagreed with the rating and said:
Those are not conversations. What's sad is there were plenty of opportunities for Lois to have a conversation but it never happened.
Message posted on 2013-06-17 13:04:20
kate disagreed with the rating and said:
I agree with the dissenters that these aren't conversations, just one-off lines to other female characters.
Message posted on 2013-06-17 16:43:54
chaosprime said:
I assigned this movie a "pass" based on Lois and Faora's mutual attempt to kill each other (which was predicated on Faora's attempt to kill an escaping prisoner and Lois's self-defense, and so was not about a man), holding that attempted murder is a particularly emphatic form of communication and that I don't see a compelling need to privilege the strictly verbal.
Message posted on 2013-06-17 20:38:37
Maurice said:
when faora tells lois about the mask, lois gives her a slight nod. that in itself is communication. in that way she is saying ok.
Message posted on 2013-06-19 04:26:55
Crosis101 said:
I am currently having a ma kent, Lois discussion discussion, since they are both named, they both talk to eachother and while it is about Superman, it is about Lois being smart enough to figure out the dude's a straight up alien, and if she can figure it out so can other people.

Does that count? it's about the concepts of safety, and leaning into the secret identity thing, and while austensibly about "a man" it is about concepts surrounding that person, not the person in anyway other than "Dude, aliens"
Message posted on 2013-06-19 17:40:05
littlereview said:
I realize that Lois and Martha are technically talking about a man when they're discussing Clark, but in truth the point of the discussion is whether Martha knows something about an alien on Earth -- the fact that he's male is utterly irrelevant to Lois and only relevant to Martha in that he's the child she raised. I actually thought Lois was a terrific character in this version of the story, never walking around too naive to see that the reporter with the glasses is also the superhero who can fly.
Message posted on 2013-06-22 22:40:29
amethystarcher disagreed with the rating and said:
I definitley disagree with this rating as well. If the "talking to each other" step wasn't important, it wouldn't be a step. Conversations, yes verbal ones, are integral in this test. And what's worse is there are copious instances of men talking to each other about something other than a woman. Anyway, if you're 'unsure" about its passing, a general rule of them is if you're not sure, it doesn't. There's no point in giving it more merit than it deserves.
Message posted on 2013-06-24 01:16:17
ikanreed said:
I don't strictly disagree with the rating, but the direct sexism of Lois Lane being a moaning, wordless prop, in constant need of rescue, constantly acting as a mother figure whenever superman needs a hug, and never succeeds in accomplishing anything, rarely even attempting anything.

Anyone who considers themselves even remotely feminist will likely find themselves incredibly offended by this.
Message posted on 2013-06-24 03:54:29
Oscar disagreed with the rating and said:
I completely disagree with many of the comments on this page, and it is shocking how people simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS TEST.

The rating needs to be changed. This test is such a LOW standard, and folks are CONSTANTLY lowering it even more in the comments.

"2. Who talk to each other"

TALK! Open their mouths, and words come out. Nodding is NOT talking, fighting each other is not talking. The test sets a really LOW STANDARD.

Lois could have said "Understood". Jenny could have said, "No clue why it is out of toner." The writers, directors, producers, whoever the hell, for whatever reason, decided that none of the female dialogue required a response from another female, HOWEVER SHORT.

It reflects the fact that, yes, indeed, their dialogue is not crucial, because, as always, females rarely get the lead roles that carry the plot forward. That is the point of this test. A simple bar that is very low, but because female roles in storytelling are so heavily dependent on the male protagonists, you have an entire industry that can occasionally write a woman right, but overall, there's very little work for actresses as leads, and very little for the young women in the world to look up to, regardless of how female-empowering or female-depowering the character is.

Superhero movies are notorious for this, and Man of Steel is no exception. The rating needs to be change to a fail, as the women do not TALK to each other, with, or without the added 90 second rule. THEY DO NOT RESPOND WITH WORDS! That is the definition of TALKING!
Message posted on 2013-06-24 05:19:31
tutti disagreed with the rating and said:
This is definitely NOT a pass. The conversations highlighted by Rahul are women speaking AT Lois, not to her. Then Martha Kent and Lois converse about Superman...who is a man. This is a FAIL.
Message posted on 2013-06-25 18:23:37
emeraldcitydancer disagreed with the rating and said:
Not only are there no conversations but it should fail simply by the final comment of the woman captain. Her character up to that point had been side by side with the men, kicking butt and taking names. Then her commander asks what she's smiling about and the writers choose to undo all of the good work with the single comment "I'm sorry sir but I just think he's hot." REALLY??
Message posted on 2013-06-25 23:38:54
chris said:
The only rule that is in question is the 3rd one. There are multiple conversations between named women. The focus of the movie is the character of SuperMAN so clearly many of the conversations in the movie will be about him. My argument would go to the conversation between the Kent's and Mrs. Ross (who Jonathon calls by name but it escaped me at the moment) Martha and Mrs. Ross are named and talking to each other about an event (the school bus crash and subsequent rescue by Clark) not just about Clark
Message posted on 2013-06-29 03:28:17
peter disagreed with the rating and said:
The dialogue Rahul cites doesn't qualify as a conversation. I do take issue with ikanreed's opinion on Lois though - she did not come off as a "moaning, wordless prop, in constant need of rescue" She *tracked down* superman's family, stood up to the military guys in a "dick measuring contest" and kept her cool most of the time.
Message posted on 2013-06-29 04:35:48
luminum said:
I'm so flabbergasted that people are rating this a "no".

You're acting as if Jenny never says ANYTHING back to Lois's question about toner. It is correct that she does not say anything back ABOUT the toner. But she does respond back to Lois's question with "You have got to come see this..."

By DEFINITION that is the two women talking to one another. Lois ASKS Jenny if the printer is out of toner. Jenny RESPONDS that Lois needs to come see the news report about aliens. Why? Because Lois's question is less relevant than the information that Jenny wants to communicate to her.

That would be Jenny--opening her mouth--and talking in response to Lois asking her a question. She doesn't respond with the answer to that question, but she is definitely talking in response to it.

That is the strict definition as outlined in the three rules at the top of this page. Two named women talk to one another about something other than a man.

They're not having a meaningful conversation. They're not having a conversation that particularly advances the plot. They're not having what I would generally describe as a conversation at all, really. But they are talking to one another. There is nothing in the test that requires that the two women talking to one another have to maintain the subject of their interaction, just that they talk to one another. Lois asks Jenny something, Jenny tells Lois something in response.

It's not the strongest of passes in a movie flooded with male-male dialogue about a plethora of non-female related topics, but it is a pass.

Any issue with it is an issue you have with the design of the three rules, which is fair and which people have argued for modifying many times before. But that doesn't change what this site's criteria are. It wouldn't pass Sarkesian's 30-second suggestion. It wouldn't pass a plot advancement suggestion. But as the three criteria appear on this site, it passes (just by the skin of its teeth), and is far less dubious of an interaction than some more notable interactions, like Faora one-sidedly explaining why Lois needs to wear a face mask onboard the ship.
Message posted on 2013-06-29 09:03:57
Nick disagreed with the rating and said:
Some interesting points on both sides - given that many of the fors in this thread use the toner conversation as an example, I'll disagree. While I'll grant that the two women were speaking words to each other, they weren't part of one continuous conversation - Jenny starts a new conversation, ignoring the previous attempt at one. It's very much a borderline case though!

Also fully agree with emeraldcitydancer - I very nearly walked out of the film at the "I just think he's kinda hot" line, honestly! And I'm male, so I really can't imagine how annoyed women must feel about this!

I disagree that her character was well-played up to that point - for me, she seemed to be portrayed as quite ditzy (if that's the right word) which doesn't really fit the role of a captain who (according to a quick google) would have to have done a four-year degree and four years of officer training. To give you an idea, the average age of a US Air Force Captain is apparently around 32. This is not at all to say that she should have been a bland character, but such apparently clueless behaviour from a character who should be a trained leader...? Not sure I'd see many male captains so portrayed, is all...
Message posted on 2013-06-30 02:02:24
Eliza said:
At first I wondered why Faora never talked to Lois or Martha. She has plenty of chances, but she chooses to threaten them silently. Then I realized that's what makes her dangerous. She's not the chatty villain who explains his evil plan instead of killing the hero while he has the chance. She's the cool, ruthless lieutenant the audience fears more than the head villain.
Message posted on 2013-07-05 02:29:19
JoKyR disagreed with the rating and said:
This movie fails the test BIG time. A one-liner directed at someone is NOT sufficient to pass the test. What makes this situation even worse is that when Faora and Lois are presented with the need to have a conversation, they both choose to instead talk to a man standing between them, instead of to each other. Christopher Nolan's films generally don't pass the test, and he wrote the script, so not much of a surprise, there. But, I really expected Zack Snyder to step up and fix this flaw, given how Suckerpunch (no matter what else you say about it) passed with flying colors.
Message posted on 2013-07-15 22:58:53
Stephen disagreed with the rating and said:
The lines cited are not conversations.

This movie initially casts Lois Lane as the intrepid reporter who then silences herself. After that, she is little more than a comforter/nurterer for the 'Man of Steel' who does all the heavy lifting i.e. saves the world.

This movie clearly does not pass the Bechdel Test.
Message posted on 2013-07-26 07:27:50
David Thomas Devine disagreed with the rating and said:
If non-verbal communication is acceptable as 'talking' than someone waving and the other person waving back would pass the test.

"But she does respond back to Lois's question with "You have got to come see this..." " ... non-sequiturs shouldn't count. Part of the test is that they have to talk about something ... anything ... other than a man. If Lois had said "What is it?" or if Jenny had said "Forget about the toner, you have to see this", than they're talking about something, there is content in the conversation, but a non-sequitur is not a conversation about something.
Message posted on 2013-09-07 02:20:08
cool MAN said:
i think women should not try to analyse if a movie doesnt have enough women in it also because this movie is about some one called superMAN and the movies called MAN of steal. do this to a movie called women of kitchen
Message posted on 2013-12-13 02:40:19
Nick said:
To so-called "cool MAN" - get back under your bridge, troll.
Message posted on 2014-01-06 23:23:53
Bernie (woman) said:
Looks like I'm not watching this crappy movie.

Women talk to each other 100% of the time in real life! This test shows me that 80% of the films out there are UNREALISTIC, IDIOTIC, and INFANTILE.
Message posted on 2014-01-09 12:09:50
hans lussels disagreed with the rating and said:
This movie is so sexist that Bechdel would probably be very angry at you for letting it pass.
Message posted on 2014-05-20 02:16:36
DanYellow disagreed with the rating and said:
Man of Steel not only fails the test (one woman barking orders at another is not "talking to each other") but is really disgustingly insulting to women in general. The female characters only exist:
To give birth (Kalel's mom)
To be damsels in distress (Clark Kent's mom)
To be shoved around by the plot for no logical reason (Lois Lane)
To wreak random havoc ordered by a man and accompanied by a more competent male partner (the evil Kryptonian woman)
and to remark that a man is "kinda hot" (post-credits soldier)
Absolute failure on every account. This should not have a "pass" rating. Alison Bechdel is probably rolling in her... bed, because she's still alive.
Message posted on 2014-06-01 03:07:35
Stephen M said:
Personally, I disagree that the spirit of the test has been violated. Superman is the focus of the movie, so, naturally, a lot of the conversation will be about him. It's not like Lois and Martha were talking about how he's not married yet, or like Martha and Mrs. Ross were talking about how he won the big game and is going to college on a scholarship where he will no doubt bed many coeds, or like the waitress Lois interviewed said it was just so cool the way Clark kept his temper when the trucker grabbed her ass. Sure, he may have been the focus of the conversations, but it wasn't exactly sexist dialogue. And, again, in the spirit of the test, there were many "powerful" female characters with important roles, such as the Kryptonian councilors and warriors, Clark's two mothers, and yes, even Carol Ferris, who will likely be given a chance to redeem herself in the next few movies.
Message posted on 2014-07-14 07:31:27
Stephen M said:
By the way? Jenny doesn't say "It's all over the news" when Lois asks where the toner is. She says it in response to Lois asking "what's going on?" So, yes, MoS passes the Test.
Message posted on 2014-07-23 18:28:51
Jim disagreed with the rating and said:
I wish I didnt but the spirit of the test is clear, the two women must have a conversation about anything other than a man.Those brief exchanges do not in any wise count as a conversation any more than if two women say hello to each other int he course of a film.
Message posted on 2014-09-11 15:15:44
Stephen M said:
There is one more female character, though I'm not sure how many will count her as one: the Kryptonian robot Kelor, voiced by Carla Gugino. She and Lara, Kal-El's mother, have a brief conversation about whether there's any point in seeking shelter at the end of Krypton. If Kelor counts as a female character, then this conversation would pass the test.
Message posted on 2016-01-31 05:43:24

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