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]] Tangled (2010) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Rebecca Sparks on 2010-11-27 01:52:56.



Rebecca Sparks said:
Mother Gothel and Rapunzel have several scenes together, where Mother Gothel tries to manipulate Rapunzel into never leaving the Tower.
Message posted on 2010-11-27 01:52:56
Grawp said:
While this passes the test, it's just another sexist Disney production. I have to say I completely agree with the first linked article.

"To sum up, in this “gender neutral” remake, we have a film dominated by male characters that focuses on the magical golden hair of a white princess who must be saved from an evil dark witch. Yes, it’s funny with strong dialogue and good songs. Yes, it’s a feast for the eyes and provides many laughs. Yes, I love the fact Rapunzel has more verve and spunk than her princess predecessors. But, no, Disney has not cut its ties to a white male-privileged view of the world. Not even close."
Message posted on 2011-03-21 03:26:31
Wynne said:
I'd disagree with Grawp. The race thing may be true (Though the witch looked pretty white to me), but it certainly isn't dominated by males. Two of the three main personalities, who in fact come across as the two most dominating personalities in the entire movie, are female. The man really only saves the woman once, at which point it turns right around and she has to save him. In fact, the woman has to rescue the man way more often than he has to rescue her. Rapunzel is shown to be more than capable of rescuing herself most of the time, and she turns her traditionally "female" aspects that would shove her into housewifery, such as her long hair and frying pan, into forces that can easily defeat virtually any man trying to stop her from going out into the world. Maybe I'm wrong, but this movie felt like it was a world away from Cinderella in terms of female empowerment.
Message posted on 2011-03-24 23:44:13
Sunday said:
If anything, I would say this is their first really non-sexist movie. If you want to look into deeper meaning, the witch is the one who tries to force the idea that she is too 'weak' to go out in the world. The entire movie is about a girl realizing that it's NOT true.
Message posted on 2011-03-26 22:35:46
Victoria said:
I think a few bits of the first article are alright, but the rest is self-pitying drivel.
I am deeply annoyed by the comment that tears down the scene where Rapunzel's father (the king) tears up over his missing daughter while the wife comforts him. The author complains but I'm willing to bet that if it were the wife crying instead the scene would still be torn down because the queen would be depicted as a 'typical weak and emotional female'. There's no way to win unless both are crying. But why do they need to? Why can't the wife comfort her husband, I find her strength beautiful as well as the sorrow felt by the father.
Message posted on 2011-09-02 21:28:59
S Merchant said:
I would be very interested to see if Tangled still passes if you only look at dialogue from after Flynn enters the tower. I feel like all of the conversations between Rapunzel and Gothel suddenly revolve around Flynn (ie He's only using you! No, you're wrong!)

I'll have to set some time aside to watch this again with a notepad in hand.
Message posted on 2011-10-03 21:40:02
Gem said:
That definitely would not be a fair assessment of the test, S Merchant, because the only reason conversation suddenly revolved around Flynn afterwards was because Gothel knew he was the strongest connection Rapunzel had to the outside world. If she could be manipulated into believing that he had betrayed her, she would be that much easier to once again confine to life in the tower.

Personally, I saw Tangled as incredibly refreshing, following in Mulan's footsteps re: female empowerment without forcing the female to assume a man's role. While that first article has a few (emphasis on 'few' valid points) I agree with Victoria. Especially about the scene with the Queen comforting her husband.

If anything, the fact that he was crying and she was being strong for him was even further evidence how far away from sexism Disney has come.
Message posted on 2011-12-16 06:33:08
Aubree said:
S Merchant, not only is that a ridiculous way to critique films (Sure the movie passes the Bechdel test, but would it pass if we only looked at THESE scenes?)but the movie would still pass after Flynn enters the tower. There's a section of dialogue where Rapunzel confronts Gothel about being the lost Princess. Gothel tells her she's crazy and Rapunzel enters into a monologue (not once mentioning Flynn) where she accuses Gothel of wrong about Rapunzel and about the outside world, and Rapunzel refuses to let her use her anymore. But of course, a woman standing up for her freedom and refusing to be used isn't feminist at all.
Message posted on 2011-12-20 23:58:01
Perfectly Idiomatic said:
I'm sorry but saying it's the 'first' non-sexist disney is a lie; the princess and the frog contained the first disney princess who both defeated the villain herself and retained her femininity throughout (Mulan almost literally had to become a man). Plus, at the end, she's given the choice between a career or a lovelife and she chooses to have both. But I agree that Tangled is very strong Bechdel wise.
Message posted on 2012-03-14 13:44:21
Veronica said:
I thought that first review was trying too hard to find anything to object to in the movie to justify a rant on cartoon beauty. Firstly, it's a fairytale movie. Characters are stereotypes, Rapunzel is skinny and beautiful, but Flynn is also boyish and handsome. The thugs are big dumb muscle-guys, arguably very soft inside, which was a surprising twist. I have no idea what's the problem with the animal sidekicks whether it was the cute chameleon or the species-confused horse with the cliché name.

Rapunzel is a strong-willed, capable AND feminine character. Sure they lived happily ever after. IT'S A FAIRYTALE! Go watch Woody Allen instead then ...
Message posted on 2012-04-06 23:29:46
Mash said:
While I agree that Tangled is many times better than the majority of it's predecessors, I can't call a movie were the main female protagonist is only motivated to act when she finds a man to protect her 'gender neutral'. Yes, it is a princess movie, but I can think of a lot of ways that could have been done better (from a feminist pint of view). It also would have been nice to have a few more female side characters, just to balance things out.
Message posted on 2012-07-28 05:55:02
Alex said:
The part that disturbed me was that Flynn rescues her by violating her body and cutting off her hair, the source of her power, without her consent (and implicitly against her will). Yes, yes, it's about self-sacrifice, because he's giving up her ability to save his life, but what gives him the right to make that decision for her?
Message posted on 2012-12-27 05:50:47
luminum said:
Yes, you could interpret it as a body rights issue, but he's not doing it to sacrifice himself. He's doing it to prevent her from sacrificing herself. She agrees to be a slave to Glothel for the rest of her life, completely disempowered, if she is granted the freedom to save him. Cutting her hair is a means of breaking her deal and therefore providing Rapunzel with the means to fight Glothel every inch of the way as she intended to before she considered his welfare.

Frankly, both of them were essentially entering into self-sacrifice at the other's expense. I think you can argue that her willingness to be empowered eventually depended on what Flynn chooses to do (and thus depends on his actions), but it isn't as if she was going to be empowered if he didn't act. She would have been the opposite, even if it was her choice to do so. Had Glothel been a male figure, you could just as easily interpret her willingness to be a willing slave to Glothel as a woman "willingly" giving up her power to a male figure.

The movie still has issues, but I think it's a good step toward developing a fully empowered female character. She's capable, she uses her attributes constructively to solve her problems (her hair is a asset she uses not for beauty, but to fight, defend, and problem solve), she's able to solve problems on her own (such as ending the threat of Maximus and the ruffians) and even negotiate with Glothel.

Another point is that she is more progressive in her status as a princess than others. One of the chief criticisms of the "princess" concept is that girls are told to aspire to being princesses: beauty, belovedness, but no real power. A princess is not a queen. Conversely, boys aspire to be kings and leaders. However, this movie states that it's Rapunzel who leads (re: rules) the kingdom after the king and queen. Flynn, apparently, doesn't gain power just because he's a man. That patriarchal power system is specifically avoided in the film.

Not perfect by far, but still a pretty good step (even if we feel that we should be beyond steps right now).

And as someone mentioned, yes the film passes, and yes, it passes even after Flynn has been introduced into the plot for the other two female leads.
Message posted on 2013-03-17 05:21:03
Amy said:
this is absolutely not "gender neutral". Historically golden hair represents everyone is after Rapunzel's virginity in the movie. Also, the overarching story line is Eugine taking Rapunzel from the domestic setting of the tower to the domestic setting of the castle.
Message posted on 2016-10-10 22:15:35
Nina said:
I think that when you look at this movie deeply and holistically it is very feminist!! The main problem feminism-wise was definitely the lack of female minor characters. But otherwise I think it was fantastic and meant a lot to me personally in terms of positive female representation.

Rapunzel herself is feminine and silly, traits that are so often smothered when writers think a female character needs to be "strong". However here she retains these characteristics and she isn't forced to age-up or be motherly to make her femininity acceptable. The whole movie is about her taking agency over her life, and she is never saved by anybody, because whenever Flynn is around she has to save him. Her character arc is the most important plot point, and she has a dream which she goes after, and achieves of her own volition, and it fulfils her. She is allowed to be uncertain and not have all the answers, but we don't lose respect for her and she still thinks for herself and does what is best for her.

A big moment that gives her freedom and is tied to her happy ending is when Rapunzel departs with her long, golden hair, which is something that is traditionally (and racistly) viewed as beautiful and feminine, and this is very symbolic as it frees her from the part of her body that everyone is trying to control, a classic struggle for women. It's true that Flynn is the one who cuts it off, which could be seen as a man taking control of a woman's body. However he does it because she is only keeping her hair to save him. I think this an interesting moment in the film because (and this is only my opinion and I understand if people disagree), it's a moment where the two characters are truly equal. When Flynn cuts off Rapunzel's hair, he is sacrificing himself for her, where Rapunzel is trying to do the same. They purely care about each other as friends and want the other to live. I think because of the context of the rest of the movie where Rapunzel is empowered, in this moment the two characters are true equals.

I think the way the movie treats men is also feminist. Flynn learns to move away from toxic masculinity and posturing (changing his name to Flynn, refusing to sing) through admiring her. I think men moving away from toxic styles of masculinity is a very important aspect of feminism and this movie does it well - the ruffians/thugs are celebrated for their soft-heartedness and naivety, and Flynn's bravado is NOT celebrated and he eventually goes by Eugene.

In addition, Mother Gothel is an excellent villain - she is creepy and powerful, clever and funny. She's one of my favourite ever villains.
Message posted on 2020-12-05 09:11:47
Axo said:
Amy, the argument that the overarching storyline is Flynn taking Rapunzel from one domestic setting to another is absurd. She leaves the tower because that's her dream and ambition, aka her own FREE WILL. She has to bargain and threaten Flynn just so he will come along. Also the idea that eveyone is after her virginity because of some medieval symbolism is just downright stupid. You have to be the dumbest person alive to think that her hair doesn't represent immortality and power and instead her 'virginity'. Please grow some brain cells before contributing to a feminist discussion next time.
Also I agree that this film needed more gender and race diversity, but it's a medieval German island, what do you expect?. Especially since Rapunzel is a royal, it doesn't make historical sense that she would be anything but white. But there definitely should've been at least one POC character.
Mother Gothel and Rapunzel discuss Flynn a lot because he was her tie to the outside world not because he was a man.
Message posted on 2021-02-12 11:58:52

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