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]] Thor: The Dark World (2013) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Tariq on 2013-10-31 15:21:39.

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Comments

Tariq said:
Darcy and Jane Foster talk about the anomalies (although these we find out later that these anomalies lead to Thor), Frigga and Jane exchange lines that do not directly mention men (although these lines came about the antagonist's attack), and Sif and Jane exchange lines that had no direct mention of a man, even though this was because Sif was executing a plan hatched by Thor. As you note, it fits the letter of the test, but not the spirit, hence the dubious tag.
Message posted on 2013-10-31 15:21:39
Dephira said:
The movie passes on the basis of conversations between Jane and Darcy, as well as Jane and Frigga (Thor's mom) who speak about men/Thor, but also about their scientific research and other topics.
Message posted on 2013-11-02 18:53:13
NessieNos said:
I was watching closely for this, and I think it only passes with the "dubious" qualifier. Jane and Darcy's first conversation in the restaurant starts off about Thor, touches on their research briefly, then becomes about Richard (Chris O'Dowd's character, who's sitting at the table). It's their longest conversation, and half of it is about two men, with a man listening and interjecting. When they're alone in the car, they immediately start talking about Thor, and then about Ian. Jane and Frigga only exchange a few words not about Thor: "I need you to come with me and do as I say." "Yes ma'am." That's it. Jane and Sif similarly exchange one line apiece: "I'm not hungry." "Good, let's go."

The only exchange in the entire film that really qualifies comes when Darcy tells Jane she called the police because Darcy disappeared, and Jane is surprised she was gone that long. Still not exactly a conversation, but not about a man.

Compare this to Thor's long talks alone with Loki, Odin, and Heimdall, which are about big cosmic problems, their plans, rulership, and their personal relationships with each other, and it starts to feel even more dubious — at no point in the film do two women ever have a conversation of that kind of magnitude.
Message posted on 2013-11-05 19:34:32
David Waldock said:
Darcy and Jane are discussing gravitational anomalies. The anomalies don't lead to Thor (it's because of the nine realms alignment). Thor gets involved because of this problem.

Frigga and Jane are talking very much about defending themselves from an attack. That the attack is carried out by Elves (albeit male) seems to me to be beside the point. Frigga very clearly took control of the situation, and wasn't following direction.

Sif and Jane executing a plan isn't Sif and Jane talking about a man.
Message posted on 2013-11-06 13:29:54
dsq said:
A conversation is a conversation even if it is a short one. While Jane and Darcy's and Jane and Frigga's conversations are short ones they still more than count.

What they are talking about affects the plot and what will happen at in the film since Jane disappearing and finding the MacGuffen is what awakens the Elves.

The issue isn't so much that the film does not pass the test but that the film hasn't developed Jane and Darcy's relationship that much over two years (even if they probably will never be super close) so that the can comfortably talk about something other than work or what is currently happening. Thor and his brother's relationship on the other hand got a whole other movie of grow and change in.

The film still passes though without the dubious.
Message posted on 2013-11-07 22:59:04
James said:
This film passes the test. The whole beginning of Jane's story has her and Darcy, two women, investigating the convergence. Thus "two women talking about science" happens frequently. Later they discuss the consequences of said science and how Darcy calling the cops will ruin their chances of investigating more without SHIELD taking over. These are not dubious moments.

In Asgard Jane's interactions with other women would count as dubious. But on Earth she talks about something other than a man with Darcy, even though men are sometimes involved.

As far as overall gender balance, this was clearly a movie where men primarily drive the action. You can't argue that. But none of the women are completely passive when it comes to resolving the threat. (SPOILERS) And I'd say the fact that Frigga's last moments did save her from the "women in refrigerators" trope.
Message posted on 2013-11-08 08:13:57
Johannes Rehborn said:
I agree with David. The anomalies don't lead to Thor and are not(at that moment) related to him. Of course Thor gets to Jane after she dissapeared, but that's not the point. There are two studied and intelligent woman talking about science. If that does not fit the spirit of the test, then what does?
Message posted on 2013-11-10 08:43:15
Hanou said:
Jane also speaks with the Asgardian woman controlling the medical scanner, regarding whether it is a Quantum Field Generator or a Soul Forge.
Message posted on 2013-11-10 21:47:43
Johannes Rehborn said:
Yes Hanou, but t he Asgardian woman ist not named, so she does not qualify. But still: There is the discussion between Jane and Darcy.
Message posted on 2013-11-11 17:44:28
Michael said:
How is it dubious? The film passes all three tests. There's two women who have dedicated their lives to science and uncovering the mysteries of the universe. There's also Frigga and Sif, who have shown that they are every bit as capable as their male counterparts.
Message posted on 2013-11-11 18:22:24
deoboed said:
As others have said, not dubious, due to Darcy and Jane discussing science, but just as a matter of interest, the woman operating the soul forge is named as Eir in the credits, though not addressed by name.
Message posted on 2013-11-13 15:07:42
Gina said:
I think the implication throughout the film is that they are tracking the anomalies in order to find Thor. Jane says that they came to London for that very purpose. Thus, when they are talking in the cafe scene about the anomalies, they are really talking about Thor.

However, I agree that when they are in the abandoned building, the focus is much more on the sciency stuff and after Jane disappears for a while, that also would pass it.

I think more than anything this is an example of how the Bechdel test isn't comprehensive enough to show whether or not a movie is/isn't friendly to women, just that it's a very, very low bar that most movies don't pass.
Message posted on 2013-11-13 21:42:11
ellen said:
This does NOT pass the test. Like Gina wrote, they are tracking the anomalies ONLY so Jane can get back together with Thor. Her entire motivation lies in her wanting to be in a relationship with him. This movie even kills off a female and none of them DO ANYTHING OF NOTE OTHER THAN BE DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, DIE, OR MAKE JOKES. How is that feminist?
Message posted on 2013-11-26 16:06:04
Steve said:
The test is a simple, baseline test to determine whether the movie includes independent, named women. The content of the particular conversations don't have to pass some moral barrier to count. The test supplies an objective measure for this very reason.

Jane and Darcy are women. They have a conversation about an anomaly, which doesn't qualify as a man. Therefore, it passes.

I don't know how anyone could watch this movie and not see the confidence and agency possessed by each of the woman characters, brought to life by great actors.
Message posted on 2013-12-02 20:58:02
Craig said:
The following comment has spoilers, so just an FYI.

@Ellen: The Bechdel Test is not something to test whether or not female characters have "feminist qualities," but it's to test whether or not females have a presence in the story or not. The test is requires that a movie have at least two named female characters, have those named characters interact/converse and that the conversation is not about a man.

1.) Thor: Dark World has the following female characters named and of note: Jane, Sif, Frigga and Darcy. So it passes on this part.

2.) Jane is the primary female character who does the conversing as she has direct conversations with both Darcy and Frigga. It passes here.

3.) Jane and Darcy do discuss scientific anomaly, but it is understood that it's premise is to find Thor, so that probably shouldn't count.

Jane and Darcy DO have a conversation on her disappearance and that they are about to be arrested, so that counts.

Jane and Frigga have a conversation about men, which I don't think counts.

However, they do have a brief conversation when Asgard is being invaded about "if you want to survive, you must do as I say, no questions asked." Since Jane verbally responds, that does make it a conversation, albeit a short one. That counts as well.

As far as the damsel in distress trope, that only applies to Jane (loosely). Sif is never directly in danger she doesn't put herself in, Darcy was never captured and is fairly active throughout the movie, and Frigga attempts to use her abilities to fight her way out of the situation, but ultimately fails. As this happens on screen, Frigga also avoids the "Stuffed in the Refrigerator" trope.

While Jane is in danger in the movie due to her proximity with the movie's "MacGuffin," she is indeed a more passive character. That, however, doesn't really make her fit neatly into the damsel in distress trope. The only person who imprisons her is Odin, but she is an agent in her own escape (all be it a small role). She also plays an important role in the end of the movie when she attempts to stop the big bad with science.

What I find the most problematic about your statement is the outrage at the single female character dying in the movie as well as their roles. Of the characters, Jane and Darcy are both passive, Frigga is active, and Sif is somewhere in the middle. Just because a female character is passive doesn't make her a bad character just as how an active female character doesn't make her good. I'd argue that Jane and Sif aren't the best written characters, though admittedly I've seen worse. Darcy and Frigga feel much more well rounded and complex (Frigga more than Darcy) and both are much more active in keeping the narrative going.

At any rate, that is my (long) opinion on the subject. I think that the movie passes.
Message posted on 2013-12-02 21:12:54
Schwinny said:
It seems unfair to dismiss Jane Foster's scientific research as exclusively motivated to find Thor. She was studying the portals between worlds in the first film when she met Thor. Her research in this film seems like a natural extension of what she was doing before. She has continued to invent devices to characterise and [MINOR SPOILERS] harness the portals. To say her only motivation is to get her boyfriend back assumes that her scientific curiosity would stop as soon as she achieves that goal. That does not happen.

The Bechdel test is objectively about representation, not feminism. We see here that plenty of films pass but would not be considered feminist and there are films that fail that could be considered feminist. I see two possible ways to apply it to discussion about feminism and both involve aggregation. Given how absurdly low a bar it sets, comparing many films and how many fail to clear such a low bar provides a compelling perspective on gender representation in films. It is also possible to apply within a film on how much dialogue between named female characters exists and passes the criteria. Dubious passes can be placed into context. Coming back to Thor TDW, I see it as a clear pass (Jane-Darcy, Jane-Frigga, Jane-Sif conversations) but not a particularly impressive pass. It is Thor's story. Jane, Frigga, Sif, and Darcy are supporting players.
Message posted on 2013-12-03 23:23:23
Meta said:
Wow, just WOW.
How are people convincing themselves some of these conversations that aren't about men actually are about men? Its not six degrees of separation- you don't take the conversation, take every element of the conversation and if a man at any point later in the movie is connected to one of those elements the conversation is now about men.
Two women converse in a restaurant about how they don't like the fish, 30 minutes later it is revealed that the only cook is man, OMG they were talking about a MAN!! People need to stop with the confirmation bias
Message posted on 2014-02-04 05:24:36
Aa said:
It's not dubious. The entire time they're in the abandoned building Darcy and Jane are talking about gravity anomalies. Anomalies Jane had dedicated her life to studying.

If you want to bring up that Jane is pining over Thor, it's reciprocated. Thor can't even enjoy himself after bringing peace to worlds while everyone else is partying because he can't stop thinking about Jane.

It passes on technicality. And it passes on balance since Thor was doing the same thing as Jane.
Message posted on 2014-06-19 05:02:54
Mikaela5 said:
I agree with other posts that this movie passes the test. I think over analyzing the bechdel test based in perceived motivations or eventual outcomes is not in the spirit of the test, and actually is ridiculous. This movie presents four strong, independent women, at least two of whom directly drive the plot forward, many of whom have conversations not related to men (albeit brief). To focus so inanely on whether or not it passes a (basic) test is to miss the point of the test--basic (emphasis) requirements for representing women as independent individuals. In my personal opinion, does this movie present several strong examples of independent women? Yes. Do they also converse, not about men? Yes. Are there female role models for young girls? Several. That's enough from my standpoint.
Message posted on 2014-11-27 07:00:23
neil (webmaster) said:
I've removed the dubious flag.
Message posted on 2014-11-30 20:17:32
Taylor said:
Darcy and Jane have a quick discussion when walking into the anomaly the first time.
"How do I change the ringtone on this thing?" -Jane
"An astrophysicist with three degrees should be able to change her own ringtone." - Darcy
Message posted on 2017-01-02 16:39:27

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