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

[[1]] Pacific Rim (2013) [imdb]

This movie passed 1 of 3 tests. It was entered by Kymberlie R. McGuire on 2013-07-12 06:20:45.

Reviews

Comments

Kymberlie R. McGuire said:
There were two named female Jaeger pilots, but they never spoke to each other. No other women in the movie were named.
Message posted on 2013-07-12 06:20:45
James said:
This was a pretty glorious Bechdel test fail. It fails all three tiers of the test because only one woman has a speaking role. I barely noticed the second female Jaeger pilot.

The movie's lone female character is also a little sub. I wonder if that's why they decided to ultimately not definitively make her a romantic interest at the end.

Message posted on 2013-07-15 23:34:27
MrPond said:
@James The second female character is named and speaks, although not very much. But I thought it was awesome that the main female character was never made to be a sex object, as she would have been in ANY other disaster porn hollywood summer blockbuster. I also like that her motivation as a hero was about saving the world/avenging her family, not pleasing a man.
Message posted on 2013-07-18 05:09:52
Lee disagreed with the rating and said:
Pacific Rim passes two of the tests. There are two named women, and both women talk about about things other than a man. Mako, the leading lady, spends a majority of the film discussing how she's ready to pilot a Jeager for personal reasons, and motivations entirely separate from her leading male co-star. Or she's talking about the plot, or discussing giant robots. The other named female Jaeger pilot spends the entire time shouting about taking Kaiju down.

Also, I never saw Mako as submissive. Reserved certainly, but not submissive. I wonder why you think so? Is it because she chose not to answer the hot-shot Australian pilot purposefully looking for a fight? There's a certain amount of wisdom in picking one's battles. Or do you think she's submissive because she cried in disappointment over not being able to get the chance to pilot a Jeager, and avenge her family? Disappointment, especially of that magnitude is crushing, but she remained calm, and respectful.

In fact, I really loved Mako's characterization. In an industry where a woman is supposed to be a "strong lead female" she's suddenly very masculine in attitude, and behavior. It was really amazing to see a strong lead female portrayed not only someone with great strength of character, and will, but with traditionally feminine qualities as well. Crying is not a weakness.
Message posted on 2013-07-18 05:54:17
Alex said:
I wanted to love this movie so much. It wasn't Transformers-style "hot chick poses with car" crap, it had POC representation, it was multicultural and wasn't America saving the world, the main male lead treated the female lead with respect from the start (she didn't have to "win/earn it" or anything)... but a spectacular, face-to-floor fail on the Bechdel Test.
Message posted on 2013-07-20 04:07:11
Becky said:
I agree with James, technically there were two female characters who spoke words, but one was merely a background image (notable for red lipstick only). Spectacular fail.
Message posted on 2013-07-20 05:17:35
Jack said:
In the book, Kaidonovsky and Mori speak quite often and never about men. There's more than the movie to the Pacific Rim story. Also, Mori is no sub whatsoever. And she's no romantic interest either. Her and Becket are close but only in the sense that they drifted and had such a bond, and also because they just saved the whole world and countless other universes' worlds and didn't die in the end. They also just lost their C.O and a teammate they recently made amends with, they had an emotional moment but the lack of a kiss was the blindingly obvious sign that they were not a romantic relationship.
Message posted on 2013-07-20 05:49:57
justin said:
The Russian female pilot is named and speaks over the comm during the battle. Not going to argue about the movie failing the test pretty spectacularly though.
Message posted on 2013-07-21 09:25:33
luminum said:
Alex: So it excels at POC representation, feminist respect in gender dynamics between men and women, and has a multicultural perspective instead of a ham-fisted Western-savior perspective, but because it didn't pass a same-gender interaction bias test, you can't enjoy it? Would you have "loved" it if it had passed the Bechdel Test, but failed in all those other capacities you listed?

From a strictly feminist perspective, I would think the respect in male-female interaction and depiction of Mako as a strong character with motivations of her own without needing to adopt "masculine" behaviors to be portrayed as strong are fare more indicative of its feminist messaging than whether she and another female exchange words.

I agree that it's a head desk fail to fail so obviously, but if a movie gives me an actual feminist depiction, then I couldn't care less if it fails a test that descriptively does NOT guarantee feminist value.
Message posted on 2013-07-23 06:47:25
James said:
I didn't say that she was a romantic interest, I only speculated as to why they came as close as humanly possible to doing so but didn't. That wouldn't have even been such a bad thing, provided she weren't the only woman in the entire movie.

I'm not saying it is a bad movie either. It's was all right. But that second female Jaeger pilot is a complete non-entity which makes this a massive fail. Seriously, if any other pilots, techs, science people or civilian Kaiju body part raiders were female this movie could have passed.

It is insane that the movie only had one woman in it. Maybe it was just the price of not being "American saves the world ... again."
Message posted on 2013-07-23 11:54:46
Liana said:
Agreed that it doesn't pass the test, but I did like the fact that she explained when she followed orders that it was about respect and not obedience. Also that she was strong, not sexualised, did everything she did of her own accord and not because it might impress a handsome man. Also that they did not 'get together' in the end. The whole world is at stake, the ending is quite rightly: look we saved the world, not oh yay we fell in love.
Message posted on 2013-07-26 07:38:09
Michi said:
Lee, the point of the test is that the (at least) two women need to speak to /each other/ about something other than a man. The test isn't "does a female character ever talk about something that isn't a dude" period. Mako and Kaidanovsky, the female Russian pilot, never have a conversation with each other on screen. This test wouldn't fail so often for other films if it was just about what any female characters talk about. The problem is usually that if two females in a movie mostly populated by males have a conversation, they're talking about the male characters in the movie rather than other issues.

I loved Pacific Rim and Mako was an amazing character, but she was the only major female character. Any one of those other pilots could have also been female, but they weren't aside from Kaidanovsky.
Message posted on 2013-07-29 07:17:23
Sam said:
I agree with the rating, but I don't think it takes away from the movie at all. Considering that Mako and the lead (who's name completely escapes me) were the only two likable main characters in the first place, I think that Mako works well because she's more an equal than a token woman.

The Russian pilots (as well as the Chinese triplets) were really just minor characters, which is imo, where most sexualization is, because they don't have to worry as much about the reputation to the viewer. I think that the female Russian pilot was nice because, again, she showed she was an equal.

Back to Mako, I think she was done very well, especially in an action movie. I liked how she cared about him, but not in a romantic way (even a romantic way would have been acceptable- but would have made no sense anyways, because the last thing I would want to do is save the world with a woman, and then have her ask to marry me. Especially since she'd been fully in my head!). Instead, she was a great friend and comrade, and the movie benefited from keeping it real, as well as keeping Mako separate and therefore easier to characterize without having to have that romantic angst.

Also, I have a thirteen year old younger brother, and he takes a dim view of feminism (he's seen a ton of radical feminists spewing their opinions on tumblr/other godawful blogging sites), and he really liked that there was an absence of romance, that it kept the idea of "let's watch robots beat up aliens" up.

Then again, are we really scouring a movie wherein which the actors played a smaller part than the 3d modeling/ animating team for feminism?
Message posted on 2013-07-30 23:47:38
Moon said:
Am I the only one that wished that Stacker Pentecost was played by a strong black woman? That would have made the film! At least one of the other candidates should have been a female.
Message posted on 2013-08-03 05:26:04
Rich said:
Am surprised at people applauding the fact that the characters were internationally diverse when all the film really did was some very good work in reinforcing national stereotypes/clichés. There was a nerdy, eccentric British scientist, some peroxide blonde Russians that are hard as nails, and Japanese guys who are fast and good at martial arts.

In that respect I would almost have preferred them to all just be American!
Message posted on 2013-08-05 08:40:13
James said:
You aren't Moon. This movie needed at least one more female character. Although it could have been anyone.
Message posted on 2013-08-07 16:46:03
Argus said:
I don't disagree with the view of the Russian female pilot as an obvious background character, but when it was mentioned that she was only notable for her red lipstick, I honestly worried that I'd missed a third woman in the cast. I say this because the only thing that stands out about the Russian woman in my head was that their Jager rigging made her look like Ana Navara from Deus Ex. There isn't a single female stereotype to her character (just every single RUSSIAN stereotype they could cram in there)
Message posted on 2013-08-08 01:46:47
blagoyavich said:
@Rich

... The Red Mech was piloted by Chinese brothers... Get your pacific rim straight.
Message posted on 2013-08-09 08:23:41
109 said:
I agree with the rating, as the technical tests don't require the females involved to be major characters. Background or not, the Russian woman has a name. It fails both other tests, as Mako and Sasha never talk to each other.

That said, it's quite impressive how entrenched movies are for characters being men by default. Of all the cast, if you don't include crowds (Hong Kong pedestrians, all cadets), there were TWO women. (And I appreciate that they were competent women who fought in reasonable armor and weren't super sexualized.)

But come on.
All the people on the fishing boat were men.
The boy and his father walking along the beach.
9 of 11 Jaeger pilots (Raleigh, Yancy, Mako, Stacker, Striker pilots, Chinese triplets, Russian couple) were male.
Hannibal Chau.
The two scientists.
The controllers who watched the screen at headquarters during fights.

Would it have been that hard to make them half and half? Why couldn't the authoritative Stacker have been a woman? Why couldn't the triplets have been sisters? Why is it so hard to imagine a mother-daughter team, or a mother-son team?
Message posted on 2013-08-10 06:38:01
Felix said:
I agree with the present rating of the muted button. Pacific Rim (unfortunately) fails the test because the two named female characters (Mako and the Russian woman whose name was present but unimportant) don't speak to each other.
Message posted on 2013-08-23 04:15:58
Gustavo disagreed with the rating and said:
I may have missed something, but I read all the comments up to this point to see if anyone could remember the Russian pilot's name, and noone could. That, to me, is enough evidence that she can't really be counted as a "character" properly. I wouldn't agree that this film has 2 female characters. I'd say it has 1 female character and one slightly more prominent female extra.

As for Mako, I thought she was a pretty lame female character. She is incapable of challenging male authority even if it means losing the last chance to fulfill her life's dream. The only reason she gets to be a pilot is because Stacker allows her to (even though she almost fucks everything up during her compatibility test). Otherwise, she just shuts up and obeys the men.

Don't get me wrong: I still think this movie does a lot of things better than most summer blockbusters, but, as far as the Bechdel Test goes, it falls flat on its face.
Message posted on 2013-09-02 00:00:58
Ari said:
@ Gustavo

I think you're misunderstanding her motives behind not challenging authority. Mako listens to Stacker not because he's a man, but because he's a parental figure and she respects him. Everything she does is not because of gender, but because she maintains her own code of honor and respect for her higher-ups. This movie could have an entirely female cast with the same dialogue and nothing would have changed.
Message posted on 2013-10-04 19:54:19
Nicola said:
Ok, yes Pacific Rim fails the bechdel test, I agree one hundred percent, and maybe this is the wrong place to be bringing it up (seeing as it is the bechdel test webpage and all) but the bechdel test is not the be all and end all to how feminist (or whatever word you prefer) a movie is. It's a conversation opener that allows us to start to really look at our media and look for blatant and subtle sexism. Pacific Rim was neither blatantly or subtly sexist, it had a well written female character who passed the sexy broom test who had her own story line that wasn't about men. Basing a movies portrayal of women just on whether it passed the bechdel test or not is naive and definitely ridiculous.
Message posted on 2013-10-05 16:36:11
Amanda said:
@Gustavo I'm not going to disagree that it failed the Bechdel test, but I thought Mako was spectacular. She doesn't challenge Stacker because she respects him, which as she says, is different from obedience, He saved her life, raised her, and she loves him like a father. And even if he saved her, she has also saved him in a sense. She messed up on her compatability test, but what do you expect, everyone messes up. She's quiet maybe, but by no means does she "shut up and obey the man." She's quiet but everything she does she does for herself and because that's what she thinks is right.
Message posted on 2013-10-06 05:27:58
PacificRimJob disagreed with the rating and said:
One female had a great role in this movie in trying to destroy Japan! How can you all forget about the pregnant Kaiju!
Message posted on 2013-10-24 14:37:13
Jack Reacharound said:
This movie failed the Bechdel test, and also failed in general.
Message posted on 2013-11-19 05:54:52
Rufus said:
I agree with the rating, but barely. The Russian pilot was named, but had about three lines, all of which were in the course of Jaeger piloting (commands). Also, in re. Lee's comment - the women have to talk *to each other* about something other than a man/men. The two named women in the film didn't speak to each other at all, even though it seemed like they should have had some opportunity.

Strange - great film that somehow still failed on race and gender representation.

As regards gender - obvious ref. to the Bechdel test - only one properly constructed female character, who was still pretty submissive where it counted. Two in total, if you don't count a brief glimpse of what might have been a female face in one of the crowd scenes. Further, even if an excuse really existed in relation to gendered casting, plenty of roles which today feature or at least should feature a 50/50 split in genders - scientists (good opportunity for a female scientist to take or offset Charlie's role), engineers, Jaeger pilots (all male or male/female team - all female team would have helped to balance it out), even random crowd people.

Race - possibly worse. One small selection from each of four (?) non-American/Australian ethnicities as main characters (shots of extras in the Hong Kong scenes not counted here), making, as far as memory serves, at total of 7 characters, and technically 4 poc. Characters often given comical accents and, in the Jaegar battles, killed off in order of racial proximity to Americans - Chinese team first, Russian team second, Australian team dies saving American team. Weird. Stacker provided with the only non-comical role often permitted to poc - solider or general - again, strange given the fact that a large number of other roles were available in the movie.

In sum - story: decent - effects and action sequences: amazing - deals with gender: badly - deals with race: worse.
Message posted on 2013-12-08 16:29:00
Evvie disagreed with the rating and said:
Mako Mori lost her family during a traumatic experience as a child and was absolutely terrified of the kaiju. Yet she overcame that fear and grew up to be one of the best Jaeger pilots - 51 drops, 51 kills in the simulator, where Striker Eureka had the most kills and they only had 10. She was 22 years old and intelligent enough to be in charge of the Mark III restoration program, managing the rebuilding of a massive, fighting robot that included telepathic technology. She fought for what she believed in and stood up for those she loved, and was just as much a Jaeger pilot as Raleigh was. Raleigh was entirely against drifting with someone else, understandable because of his brother, yet as soon as he fights with Mako once he's completely enraptured with her, begging her to be his co-pilot, recognizing the strength in her. Just because she isn't a loud speaker doesn't mean that she isn't a strong character, and just because she doesn't talk directly to another woman doesn't mean that she isn't one of the strongest female characters I've ever seen, and a WOC on top of that. She even introduces a new weapon to Gipsy Danger - a sword option, in honour of her father who was a sword maker. She doesn't take shit from anyone and just because she doesn't shout and throw punches like Raleigh or Chuck doesn't mean she's an incredibly strong, independent and intelligent character.

Sasha Kaidanovsky isn't one of the main characters in the film and we barely hear her speak, but even in the short time we see her we can tell much about her. For example, she is the dominant in her relationship with her husband - she is clearly possessive of him as seen in the cafeteria scene where she places her arms across him in a sign of almost ownership, showing off her much-larger, physically stronger husband. She is badass and doesn't take any shit, and she can still kick ass while wearing bright red lipstick. She is the loudest of the couple, as Aleksis barely has a line, and they both go down fighting. Not to mention that they've been patrolling for six years together, an amazing amount of time for a Jaeger team to live for, and she fights until the very end. She is strong, Russian, badass, and her husband often looks to her for approval or for her opinion.

Just because these two badass ladies never speak to each other, they are strong characters in their own way that inspire, to let girls know that we can do just as well as men. Being Jaeger pilots isn't about physical strength, it's about mental connection, devotion, patriotism and mental strength - all of which these two ladies have. As much as I would have adored an all-female Jaeger team kicking butt, I can definitely be satisfied with these two fabulous women. They are brilliant and inspiring, and if Mako Mori and Sasha Kaidanovsky can't pass the Bechdel Test then I'm worried for who can.
Message posted on 2014-01-12 06:10:47
Cornelia said:
While I agree this movie fails the bechdel test as a whole, I can agree with many of the comments here that there is still a positive representation of the women in this movie. To expand on Sascha (The russian pilot) she is also the more "dominant" one in their marriage (She beckons to her husband in the cafeteria, he lays against her, a typically more "submissive" position). Even though she doesn't speak she exudes strength and confidence. Mako as well is an outstanding lead and I dare say the story changes from the male lead's to HER story. This is all, however, just my opinion.
Message posted on 2014-04-02 16:45:16

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