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]] The Women (2008) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Madelyn on 2009-06-25 06:27:50.



Madelyn said:
There is not a single man in this movie, which is surprising. Interestingly enough, though, men have a sort of omnipresence, controlling the character's jobs and lives, and most of the movie (and conversation) revolves around one character's husband's affair.
What's more, the "token lesbian" of the friends clearly serves as a "male substitute."
Message posted on 2009-06-25 06:27:50
Melanie said:
My recollection is that the entire plot and dialogue centres around squabbling about a man/men. So how exactly does this pass the test. Can you quote a specific scene which passes?
Message posted on 2009-07-04 08:03:49
monlynnw said:
The movie's a remake that's based on a play from the 1930's where the "gimmick" was that there were no male characters at all in it. But all the action and dialog revolves around men, and how they affect the lives of the women, except for shopping and preening. If two named female characters only talk about getting their nails done, I suppose that passes the test, but what kind of litmus is that?
Message posted on 2010-06-16 14:22:48
Kelsay said:
Melanie, the specific scene that passes would be when Mary (Meg Ryan) and her best friend Sylvie (Annette Benning) run into each other on the street after not speaking for a long time and talking about the importance of their friendship.
A lot of the movie may revolve around the affair, but it is Mary's journey of transforming from dutiful wife and mother to a woman in charge of her own life. At the beginning she puts her entire self into her assigned gender role and tries to stick to it even after she discovers the affair because her mother (representing traditional values in society) tells her it's the "right" thing to do. But somewhere in the middle she realizes that focusing her entire life around a person who only cares about himself and his needs is detrimental to her own personal progression. So she comes into her own and shows her daughter what she thinks a strong female character should be. If you haven't noticed, I think this movie is great haha.
Message posted on 2011-01-10 19:34:12
Evans said:
The Women’s central conceit is that its cast comprises entirely women. As there are no men in the film at all, it actually fails the reverse Bechdel in its entirety (that is there are not even 2 named men in the film!). It clearly does pass the test with ease. It would after all, be virtually impossible for a film that only features women to fail, and the women do discuss, among other things, mother-daughter relationships, their jobs, and their relationships with each other.

That said, this film is far from being a beacon for feminism, or a trailblazer for the representation of strong independent women in film. The absent men exert real presence and these women really only define themselves through them. Much of the dialogue involves the central character's husband's infidelity (which is made so much worse as the mistress is a mere shop girl - don't worry she gets her just deserves.

The film trots out pretty much every poor cliche about women it can lay its hands on - our love of shopping, dependence on men, inability to maintain both a career and a relationship etc. It also offers is one of the least believable birth scene in living memory.
Message posted on 2012-10-28 13:15:28

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