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]] Star Trek (2009) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by LaShawna Powers on 2009-05-15 20:05:27.



LaShawna Powers said:
Uhura and her roommate Gaila briefly discuss Uhura's lab time, and her interception of a Klingon transmission. The interaction is brief, but necessary to the plot.
Message posted on 2009-05-15 20:05:27
Becky disagreed with the rating and said:
True, except my roommate and I feel that this brief interaction, while theoretically passing the tests is compromised by the fact that Kirk is hiding under the bed watching while Uhura strips down until both women are nearly naked and conversing in their underwear.

Our vote: This movie fails.
Message posted on 2009-05-17 07:50:04
Mireille disagreed with the rating and said:
I agree with Becky, especially since that conversation very quickly segues into discussing Kirk.

I did notice at the beginning that the nurse and Kirk's mother were talking, however Kirk's mother wasn't really answering the nurse, so I don't think that counts.
Message posted on 2009-05-22 03:36:17
Em said:
*falls over laughing* If 'Star Trek' passes on the basis of that Uhura scene, then legendary porno 'Debbie Does Dallas' passes as well -- the naked cheerleaders in the showers are talking about football, not men, which is necessary to the, um, plot.
Message posted on 2009-05-23 06:48:54
cibo said:
Just because it passes the test, doesn't automatically make it feminist friendly. Star Trek is a good example of this.
Message posted on 2009-06-05 21:02:05
Yonmei disagreed with the rating and said:
It's not whether it's feminist-friendly, it's whether it passes the test, and there's no way that conversation between Uhura and Gaila passes when the scene was a set-up to let Kirk see Uhura stripped to her underwear.

This is a botch-up: if Star Trek XI is listed as passing when it's an obvious fail, this list is worthless.
Message posted on 2009-06-16 02:24:22
neil said:
@Yonmei: It all depends on your interpretation of the Bechdel test. Taken literally, I think it passes (based on comments here, I haven't seen it) since there is no rule about under which circumstances the conversation should take place. I however also agree it might not pass the spirit of the test.
Message posted on 2009-06-16 21:54:44
the opoponax said:
Since when does that scene take place "only" to allow Kirk to see Uhura in her underwear?

One of the things I liked about this film (in a 'quality film' sense, not necessarily a feminist sense) was the very severe economy of the scenes. There is little or nothing in the film that is at all gratuitous, and just about every scene works on multiple levels and conveys different types of important information.

Secondly, isn't the whole point of the Kirk/Uhura subplot that he wants her/thinks she's hot, but she has no intention of giving him the time of day? Slightly ruined by the fact that she's uninterested mainly because she's "taken" by Kirk's rival, but still.

Also, Kirk isn't in the room explicitly to stalk Uhura - he's coincidentally hooking up with her roommate. Shitty behavior, to be sure, but A) Kirk is a shithead when it comes to women, and B) since when is any heterosexual activity in a film "antifeminist"? Considering the origin of the Green Alien Babe race in Trek, this film's portrayal of Gaila is downright feminist.
Message posted on 2009-07-20 21:22:25
Lori Watts disagreed with the rating and said:
Since the green roommate is not even given a name, I really don't think she counts as a character in the movie. She's more of an extra. So: are there any other 2-woman interations at all?
I still loved the movie, though.
Message posted on 2009-11-01 21:47:42
Intruder Alert said:
Well, I'm a guy, so I don't know if that disqualifies me from posting, but it seems to me that the point of the scene was to establish an important Chekov's (heh) gun so that Kirk could plausibly connect the dots about the villain; while still injecting humor that would move the plot forward later on, Kirkian character (And yes, a brief amount of cheesecake) into the scene.
Message posted on 2009-11-12 20:27:21
Also a Guy disagreed with the rating and said:
UHURA: "Hey."
GAILA: "Hey."
UHURA: "How are you?"
GAILA: "Good."
UHURA: "Strangest thing... I was in the long range sensor lab."
GAILA: "Yeah, I- I thought all night."
UHURA: "I was tracking solar systems and I picked up an emergency transmission."
GAILA: "Really."
UHURA: "Yeah, from a Klingon prison planet."
GAILA: "No..."
UHURA: "Yeah, a Klingon armada was destroyed. 47 ships."
GAILA: ", you're not going back to the lab tonight?..."
UHURA: "..."
GAILA: "..."
UHURA: "...Gaila, who is he?"

The problem isn't that she's taking off her clothes, or that the conversation isn't relevant to the plot (it is actually relevant). The problem is that only one of these two women is talking to the other about something besides a man. Uhura is talking about the Klingons, yes, but Gaila is talking about Kirk. Her entire perspective on the conversation is driven by her motivation to make Uhura leave so she can continue having sex with Kirk, hence her short, dismissive responses that don't really address what Uhura is saying. Frankly, Uhura is having more of a conversation with Kirk here than she is with Gaila. Kirk recalls the Klingon incident Uhura mentions here later on in the movie; Gaila, on the other hand, leaves the audience with the distinct impression that she neither heard nor understood anything Uhura said.

There are two women, and they are talking, but they're not really talking to each other, and only one of them is talking about something besides a man. This scene doesn't pass.
Message posted on 2009-11-14 00:31:30
Ana disagreed with the rating and said:
I say this movie doesn't pass the three tests, because "Gaila" might be named in the script or credits, but she isn't named in the movie.
Message posted on 2010-04-12 03:55:45
JK said:
Obviously Gaila is named in the movie, if the transcript posted by "Also a Guy" on November 14 is correct, since it shows Uhura calling her Gaila.
Message posted on 2010-04-21 23:59:03
Erin disagreed with the rating and said:
I can't believe star trek passed! I thought star trek would be a perfect example of a movie that wouldn't pass. I don't think this movie even manages to get beyond the first part of the test. Technically "Gaila" may be named, as is Kirk's mother, Spock's mother et cetera.
This is making me think the idea of a "named" character is not at all helpful. Technically being given a name doesn't mean much. All the women I mentioned, who are the only possible named women I can recall in the movie aside from Uhura, have very short scenes, not roles throughout the course of the movie, and are named, but known primarily through their connection to other characters.
Like most who saw the movie, prior to reading comments here, I knew the green girl only as "Uhura's roommate" (and without looking it up I couldn't remember Spock or Kirk's mother's names either.)
Looking at the rule in a way that could make this pass, technically only a short period of the movie passes, because "Gaila" is seen, twice? in the entire movie. She is not a part of the entire movie.

It definitely doesn't seem like it is in the spirit of the rule. Could you imagine us having a conversation here about whether or not Sulu was named in the movie? Of course not, he is a central character who is seen throughout the movie, the fact that he was given a name is very clear- even if you forgot it, you would know that he was given one because of his role throughout the movie. That there is confusion over whether or not Gaila was called that in the movie because we can't really remember that one line... proves it doesn't fit the spirit of the rule in my opinion.
Message posted on 2010-05-01 04:29:12
Jenn said:
Gaila is a member of a race whose females been used as sex toys for bipedal males for 40 years in real time, and hundreds or thousands in the Star Trek Universe. The fact that she can think about ANYthing besides sex with a male is a huge feminist leap in and of itself.
Message posted on 2010-05-24 03:53:46
Foggen said:
The rule is that the women have to talk to each other about something other than men, is it not? There's nothing in that about men not being present or relevant to the context of the conversation.
Message posted on 2010-05-28 13:21:04
Alison said:
The reason we don't forget Sulu's name is that he was in the Original Series; he wasn't that big of a character in the actual movie. One swordfight and one "Ha ha, he left the parking brake on" gag are not what I would call a prominent role throughout the movie.

Also, I think it's unfair to say Uhura's rejection of Kirk is undermined by her relationship with Spock; she's been rejecting him since she was a new recruit, and presumably her relationship was nonexistent then. Personally, I love the subversion of the whole "Hot Chick initially out of Smartass's league eventually swept/annoyed off her feet", and her relationship with Spock, from the 4.5 seconds we see of it, seems pretty solid and awesome.

The Bechdel Test is an interesting one, but it's hardly the be-all end-all of whether a movie is feminist or not. It is a crying shame that Star Trek did not feature more female characters, considering it is set in the All Social Problems Fixed Forever future (although compared to the source material it's a downright improvement), but it still passes the test.
Message posted on 2010-06-14 17:02:57
monlynn said:
Star Trek XI is similar to Inglorious Basterds in that there are female characters that have non-romantic conversations with men that portray them in a positive, intelligent, and responsible light, but not many (if any) conversations with each other. The room-mate conversation does pass the test, however brief and barely. As for the green girl/Gaila, it's quite a switch from the way this race was portrayed in the source material. They're regarded as sex-obsessed animal-women, good only for sex. So, to see this character actually involved in something other than being strictly a sex toy (implied, yes, but one would assume Starfleet cadets have a demanding academic life even without familiarity with the original television series), and presumably balancing her sexual proclivities with a career, is quite an improvement. In fact, the switch from the portrayal of "green alien chick" sexuality from something overwhelming and dangerous to something significant but not out-of-control (even if it does annoy her roomie) is pretty indicative of how social standards have changed for women since the 1960's.
Message posted on 2010-06-16 13:57:02
Benjamin_William said:
Just so y'all know, I'm somewhat of a Trek fan, and the original series was ground breaking in multiple aspects, and I shouldn't have to say why, but I will anyways: it crossed racial barriers, gender barriers, and even acted as a proponent of socialism (life on the Enterprise was allegorical to a socialist society, though admittedly more so in the Next Generation).
Also, two of the four commanders in the Next Generation Were women, Janeway from Voyager was a woman (and became an admiral later on), and all the crews have been pretty evenly mixed along gender and racial lines. People who say Star Trek is chauvinistic don't understand the underlying ideology, or even what it's role actually was durring the post-civil rights era. It also contributed to geek chic, allowing the socially unacceptable to have a common ground.
Study your history kids. A good feminist knows the place of sci-fi in the second and third wave (sans corny anti-intelligence sci-fi, such as we've mostly seen since the late 70's).
Message posted on 2010-07-01 19:37:38
chamekke said:
I did an analysis of "Star Trek: The Original Series" way back when, and the only episode in the entire series in which I can remember two women talking together about anything other than men is in 2x03 "The Changeling"; namely, the short scene in Sickbay in which Nurse Chapel teaches the mind-wiped Uhura how to read first-grade English.

Furthermore, to my knowledge no one has ever remarked on the fact that episode 1x25, "The Devil in the Dark", had no actresses in it whatsoever. Unless you count the alien blob, the Horta, which turns out to be a female (a "mother") in the end... and which was portrayed by a male actor. What's really remarkable, to my mind, is that it was possible for an entire episode not to have a single woman onscreen, ever, *and for this to go entirely unnoticed*.

Sorry, but while ST:TOS may have been admirable in many ways, it was tiredly conventional (in a predictably Sixties fashion) when it came to the way it treated its female characters.
Message posted on 2010-07-16 20:59:01
Zeppo said:
The test is simple - you don't get to argue over whether a film violates the "spirit of the rule". As another poster points out Debbie Does Dallas passes, whereas Alien 3 (a movie with a strong female lead) fails - its NOT a litmus test for whether a film is feminist/sexist.
Message posted on 2010-07-23 12:34:39
Charity disagreed with the rating and said:
I agree with Anotherguy -- only one of the women is talking about something other than a guy, the other one is interacting with Kirk hiding under her bed ---

Hopefully the next star trek film won't leave the question so dubious....
Message posted on 2010-08-08 20:40:18
EvoSero said:
People need to remember the rules.

The conversation does NOT need to be relevant to the plot.

It does not matter if Kirk is under the bed.

The rules are not about feminism, but about female representation.
Message posted on 2010-08-24 17:09:36
Leitner disagreed with the rating and said:
No, it does not pass. It's not about "the spirit of the rule." This film doesn't pass the LETTER of the rule. The only conversation between two women IS about Kirk. Just because Uhura says a couple of lines about a Klingon transmission DURING a conversation about Kirk DOES NOT MEAN that the conversation isn't ABOUT Kirk. It is.

There is no way this movie passes, not even close.
Message posted on 2010-09-09 01:45:52
E said:
I think everyone needs to keep in mind that just because it passes the test doesn't mean it does a good job of representing women. However, this site is for what films pass the test, nothing more.
Message posted on 2010-10-06 00:48:42
Adam said:
You don't get to parse the spirit of the rules. It's a test, not reading tea leaves. Both characters are named and they vocalize words which do are not about a man. Hidden motivations, director's intent, quality of the movie, etc are irrelevant.
Message posted on 2010-10-13 16:17:56
Lydia disagreed with the rating and said:
1. Numerous posters have pointed this out, but no, the conversation does not pass the test. Only Uhura is participating in the conversation in question.

2. The movie suffers from a total lack of the other named female character, Nurse Chapel, from the original show. Additionally, anyone who digs the Uhura/Spock doesn't know how much that compromises Original Series Uhura. Sure, the show is pretty typically feminist, but that's as much bad writing as anything else. Uhura wants eternal youth one episode, and to kick ass the next. The writers could not make up their minds.

The big thing about the show that was always true is this: Uhura didn't get with anybody. Ever. So the fact that new!Uhura is right off the bat getting with Spock (a character who Nurse Chapel specifically had affections for in the original show, and Uhura did NOT) is pretty unfortunate. It doesn't matter if the guy is smart, it'd be nice if the girl didn't have to get with a guy at all.

But that's neither here nor there; as per 1, doesn't pass the test.
Message posted on 2010-10-23 17:21:55
fallynleaf disagreed with the rating and said:
What Also a Guy said is entirely correct.

In the "conversation" between Uhura and Gaila, Uhura may be trying to have a legitimate conversation about plot-relevant matters, but Gaila's just talking about Kirk.

And the "conversation" quickly disintegrates into being about Kirk anyways.
Message posted on 2010-12-19 08:58:10
Nimravid disagreed with the rating and said:
Complete agreement with Lydia and other commenters: Yes, there's no way to interpret Gaila and Uhura's conversation as being about anything other than Kirk: Gaila is not talking about anything other than Kirk for any part of the entire conversation, and Uhura realizes it by the end of her info dump. They have to talk to EACH OTHER about something other than a man; since Gaila never does, just by the letter of the rule it doesn't pass. At the end of the conversation, in which all of Gaila's interaction with Uhura was about Kirk, Uhura finally picks up what her roommate has been saying and realizes that Gaila has not been participating in her conversation about transmissions, but has been talking about a man this whole time: "Gaila, who is he?"

Some commenters want it to pass so badly they say that we should deliberately misinterpret the conversation so that it's about something other than Kirk, just because Galia doesn't explicitly mention Kirk by name when she talks about him.

Fine, we'll play by those rules then: the movie doesn't pass because no female characters talk to each other at all- you want to argue that they do, just because they're presented together onscreen with alternating lines of dialogue? The context, no matter how clear, isn't part of the Bechdel test; saying there was a conversation is your interpretation of the director's intent. Don't try to get your pet movie to pass by reading tea leaves.
Message posted on 2011-03-01 02:07:46
Steve said:
"Saying there was a conversation is your interpretation of the director's intent."

Yes, but what does that have to do with the Bechdel test? The word "conversation" appears nowhere in "It has to have at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man." Uhura and Gaila saying "Hey" to each other, on those grounds, qualifies.

I'm not happy that this movie passes - I think it really took a step back in the role of sci-fi at dealing with matters of social equality - but a test is a test, and this scrapes by.
Message posted on 2011-03-29 15:47:26
Irritated said:
1:Must have more than one FEMALE character
2:Who TALK to each other
3:About something OTHER THAN MEN.

Guess what, the movie passes.

Talking does not equate to conversation.

The rule does not say that both female characters have to be named (that's a different but similar test), even though they are.

Both female characters are talking about somethign other than a man.

The test says nothing about one sidedness, it says nothing about men being present, it says nothing about woman being in their underwear, it says nothing about intent of the scene.

The movie may fail your test, but not the Bechdel test.
Message posted on 2011-04-03 16:47:58
Nimravid disagreed with the rating and said:
Irritated says
"1:Must have more than one FEMALE character
2:Who TALK to each other
3:About something OTHER THAN MEN... The test says nothing about one sidedness"

"The rule does not say that both female characters have to be named"-that statement shows that you have not read before posting; the version of the rule on this site is that female characters do have to be named. Other places define a "character" in different ways.

It's true that it doesn't have to be a "conversation" but it can't be one-sided. I'll change the emphasis, so you can see why each one of them has to say something, anything, even if it's just "Hey," that's not about men:

2:Who talk to EACH OTHER

If one of the two does not talk to the other about something other than men, they are not talking to EACH OTHER about something other than men. One person is talking AT THE OTHER about something other than men, and the other person is talking about men. If one woman says they found a new quantum particle and the other replies that she loves her boyfriend, the movie doesn't pass that part of the test. Some tiny part, even a one-line-each exchange in the middle of a conversation about men, has to be not at all about men. Someone who says she loves her boyfriend is talking about love...but also about men; so that wouldn't pass.

And all of Gaila's interaction with Uhura, every single word she says, even when she says "hey," is about Kirk being under the bed; she never, ever, says a single line to Uhura that is not about Kirk being in the room (no matter if you argue that Gaila may be talking about Kirk being under the bed, PLUS something else at the same time.) It is quite clear that every time Gaila says something, it's about Kirk too; that's the whole point of the scene, that's why it's supposed to be funny, and that's why Uhura realizes, and flat-out states outright, that Gaila was talking about a man the whole time. Uhura acknowledges verbally in the movie itself that Gaila was talking about a man; they couldn't get much clearer about intent than having it written into the script.
Message posted on 2011-04-10 18:31:40
dallan007 said:
Despite the circumstances of the scene I have to say it passes the letter of the test.

Gaila's lines in the scene in question are responses to Uhura's comments and do not *directly* concern Kirk. Gaila is *thinking* about Kirk, but not *talking* about him. Just because you have a scene where one character is thinking about cheese sticks doesn't make the conversation about cheese sticks.
Message posted on 2011-05-24 21:44:02
nastebu said:
I also disagree they are "talking to each other" about anything but a man. This exchange for example,

UHURA: "Yeah, a Klingon armada was destroyed. 47 ships."
GAILA: ", you're not going back to the lab tonight?..."

Gaila has just been told a truly big thing--47 ships destroyed, thousands of people killed, possible galaxy-wide implications, and he response is only about whether she's going to get to keep on boinking Kirk.
Message posted on 2011-05-30 17:23:09
j said:
"the naked cheerleaders in the showers are talking about football, not men, which is necessary to the, um, plot. "

That would in fact pass the test. A lot of people here seem to have trouble separating this specific test from other issues.
Message posted on 2011-07-08 08:56:45
martin disagreed with the rating and said:
wow, I can't belive this one caused such a difference in opinion. to me, the scene betwen Uhura and roommate cleary isn't enough to get a pass. I completly agree with Also a Guy and others. From the roommates perspective the conversation is clearly about Kirk. The things she say to Uhura is all about hiding the fact that she's having a guy over. BOTH female characters must talk about something other than a man, not just one of them. This movie fails the third criteria without question.
Message posted on 2011-07-11 16:41:40
Matrim disagreed with the rating and said:
I don't think the Gaila/Uhura conversation counts. Gaila contributes exactly four words to the "conversation" that don't involve Kirk which aren't her really conversing so much as they are placeholder words (kinda like saying "yeah, uh huh, mmhmm" while listening to someone on the phone. The only actual legitimate contribution to the conversation is "Yeah, I thought all night" and "So, you're not going back to the lab tonight?" These is directly about Kirk, she only cares about the lab because she thought she had the room to herself to sleep with Kirk and she wanted to know if she'd get the room back to herself to, again, sleep with Kirk.

I consider this a failure in the 3rd part.
Message posted on 2012-10-15 23:56:41
Quaze said:
I agree with Zeppo. This is not a litmus test on sexism or feminism. There is no letter of the test vs. the spirit of the test.

1) There are more than two women in the film.
2) They do speak to each other.
3) The subject is something other than a man.

Yes, Star Trek's history is riddled with terrible and backwards views on feminism/sexism, but strickly speaking, this scene and therefore this film passes the Bechdel test.
Message posted on 2013-01-30 21:44:16
darryl said:
Technically, Orion Slave Girls aren't actually slaves, they pose as slaves so they can ensnare their "owners" and turn the owners into the slaves. Which doesn't make it any better, because their entire role, either perceived by the characters or the actual one they play, is defined by sexist tropes.
Message posted on 2013-05-16 09:56:52
Christie said:
The purpose of the Uhura scene is for two main reasons. The first being so Kirk can later connect the dots with the lightening storm. And second so we know that Kirk was sleeping with Gaila in order to get her to plant a bug in the kobayashi maru test (the one Spock modelled for the captain to feel fear in the face of certain death.)
This test (because of Gaila's presence,) ends up putting Kirk out of action when the Romulan's strike Vulcan. And from there on out a number of other events go on to have Kirk save the Enterprise.
Further proof that Kirk was sleeping with Gaila (if you haven't watched the special features) is how she looks rather angry with her body language during the meeting with all cadets.
This would have made more sense if they had kept another scene in the movie.
Also, the reason why Uhura strips down is because JJ thought it would be comical the fact that they are all in their underwear.
All in all, it was a crucial scene to the movie. Therefore, I agree with the rating.
I do wish they would introduce more of TOS female cast.
Message posted on 2013-07-16 03:28:00
Matt said:
This is a perfect example of why the Bechdel test is a pretty useless tool when it comes to measuring equality or misogyny in cinema.
Most of the disagree comments are trying to twist the meaning of the scene or create qualifiers for the rules to make the film fail - simply because the commenters think the movie is sexist and don't want it to pass.

The fact is that a horrendously sexist film can pass with flying colours whilst a film with a super badass and strong female lead can fail it miserably.

With that in mind it's utterly redundant to split hairs over whether Gaila and Uhura really aren't talking about a man or not.
Message posted on 2013-11-07 17:17:23
slarty said:
Maybe I'm missing something, but based on the transcript, Gaila's not talking about a man either. She's talking about Uhura's schedule and why the heck she's back in their room so early. The reason Gaila is saying those things is obviously Kirk, but she does not actually say anything about Kirk.

I agree with all the criticisms of this scene, the movie, and the whole franchise. But neither Gaila nor Uhura is talking about a man. Gaila's motivated by one, but the things she actually says are not "about" a man in any sense that we use "talking about" in English.
Message posted on 2013-11-28 04:12:11
Sam said:
As ever, people are missing the point of the test.

Of *course* it's trivially easy to pass with merely a half-naked scene of dialogue between two named female characters about non-male stuff while the main male character is huffing and being erect under the bed.

The whole IDEA of the Bechdel test is to show how humiliatingly easy it is to pass, and yet the vast majority of films fail!

Gaila and Uhura constitute a pass: they are two female named character who have a conversation about something other than a man. Just like in the first film Bechdel herself reviewed, it's a few moments in length and seems laughably lacking in feminine dialogue.

That's the goddamn **point**.

I genuinely don't understand people who argue about this. The whole idea is that this test should be laughably easy to pass, but that patriarchy is so strong that hardly anything passes. If you want a harder standard, make one. THIS standard is passed by this movie.
Message posted on 2014-02-04 11:01:36
Tristan Wicks disagreed with the rating and said:
I think it fails because she is only talking about her life in order to conceal the fact that Kirk is under her bed.
Message posted on 2016-09-04 02:16:17

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