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]] Zero Dark Thirty (2012) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Lenore Tenenbaum on 2012-12-09 19:07:08.



Lenore Tenenbaum said:
The female leads Maya (Jessica Chastain) and Jessica (Jennifer Ehle) discuss topics like their work and living situation at least a few times.
Message posted on 2012-12-09 19:07:08
Holden disagreed with the rating and said:
Yes they have a conversation, but Jennifer Ehle's character asks Maya if she has hooked up with her boss, which would seem to be in direct violation. Do they talk for more than 60 seconds about topics other than men? Perhaps, but it seems improbable considering the whole movie is about a man hunt.
Message posted on 2012-12-30 23:38:25
Chris said:
Maya has a few conversations with Jessica during this movie.They are mostly about capturing Osama bin Laden, who is a man; but they also discuss strategy and politics.
Message posted on 2013-01-10 07:03:13
Chuck said:
@Holden: I mean they were CIA employees hunting Al Qaeda, it was kind of their job to talk about men, I don't really think that's what the Bechdel Test has in mind when it criticizes films for showing female characters only talking about men. Aside from the brief attempt on Jennifer Ehle's part to get something personal out of Maya, it's all business.
Message posted on 2013-01-10 15:08:53
Rubin said:
@Holden: The point of the scene is ultimately to demonstrate that Maya is too concentrated on her work to think about dating... so in that context it still does what the Bechdel test is hoping the dialogue achieves: A demonstration of a female character whose existence and motivations are defined independently of men... and then the two escape *spoilers ahead* an earth-shattering explosion together, without need of rescue by a man.
Message posted on 2013-01-11 03:03:23
Owen Ferguson said:
The film maker is obviously aware the test exists, and uses the point where the feminine conversations happen to make a point about feminist theory. The "not-talking-about-mens" parts of their conversation very clearly convey that they are both trapped in a male zeitgeist where the opposing ideological arguments are all also patriarchal constructs. The indistinct persons they talk towards are assumed to be all male as only males are considered legitimate foot soldiers of the enemy.
Message posted on 2013-01-13 23:46:22
Jenny said:
i don't think there's anything dubious about this rating. These two women are defined by their relationship to their work - OBL may be a man, but he's not a love interest in any way - he's an object of their work.
Message posted on 2013-01-14 15:36:36
Ashley disagreed with the rating and said:
In addition to Osama bin Ladin and various male detainees, Maya and Jessica also have a somewhat philosophical conversation about the relative value of ideology vs. monetary gain with regards to members of al-Qaeda in general. Jessica also expresses concern for Maya's well being while they are at dinner together. Their friendship, though brief, is unconditionally supportive in a way that none of Maya's relationships with other coworkers are.
Message posted on 2013-01-16 05:27:01
stella said:
It definitely passes the test. Their first two interactions in the movie are disagreements over Al Queda's movements and tactics, and only during the dinner scene does the subject of men come up. I think that their last interaction should also count, even if it technically concerns a man, because his gender is irrelevant (he's an informant) and like most of what they discuss, it relates directly to their work.
Message posted on 2013-01-24 02:44:18
Mark W. said:
I would add that there is also a brief exchange between Jessica and her associate Lauren before the car bomb attack.
Message posted on 2013-01-30 06:01:03
emma rosenthal disagreed with the rating and said:
feminism in the service of empire is not feminism, it is the appropriation of feminism. the normalization of torture in this film is an outrage. hegemony is not justice.
Message posted on 2013-02-03 17:03:50
Mitchell Hundred said:
I wouldn't say that the film normalizes torture. It does portray it as being an important part of the search, but it also shows the effect on its practitioners. Maya becomes a harder, more ruthless person because of her monomaniacal desire for revenge. And we see that at the end of the film she really gains nothing but an empty sense of purpose. Depicting something in a story does not denote an endorsement of that thing.
Message posted on 2013-02-03 18:17:23
Trent disagreed with the rating and said:
There's a scene in the movie where Jessica encourages a romance between Maya and her coworker Dan...

This movie definitely does not pass...
Message posted on 2013-02-04 23:16:18
milton. said:
Jessica does ask Maya if she's "hooked up" with someone (maybe Dan?).
Message posted on 2013-02-06 02:27:09
Daniel Hofverberg said:
I agree that there is nothing dubious about this - the "dubious" marking should be removed.

Although many of Maya and Jessica's conversations are related to Usama bin Ladin, they also talk about other things - and about al-Qaeda in general (which can't be considered to be about men, even though a lot of al-Qaeda's members probably are male).
Message posted on 2013-02-07 15:45:04
neil (webmaster) said:
I've removed the dubious flag from this movie.
Message posted on 2013-02-08 06:34:41
Raleigh said:
@Emma: You may disagree with the importance of the test, but your comment doesn't qualify as disagreeing with the rating.
Message posted on 2013-03-06 18:18:03
s said:
The test is whether they talk about a man.
They talk about men in literally every conversation. Does not pass.
Message posted on 2013-03-07 20:28:56
Isa said:
This is the only action movie about a male dominated theme (war, espionage, CIA) that I have seen that did not make me uncomfortably aware that I was in female unfriendly territory. While the women in the movie are clearly aware they are in male territory, the movie does not make women feel as outsiders. I consider this a great contribution by this filmmaker. I wonder how men respond to the subtleties that allow women like me to feel like I do.
Message posted on 2013-04-03 21:20:28
Margaret disagreed with the rating and said:
The test does not specify that the conversations about men are necessarily romantic. It is meant to draw attention to how society is constructed around paternalistic ideals. As such, this film should fail because the women's conversations clearly aim to implicate women in a violently oppressive, phallocentric patriotism.
Message posted on 2013-04-25 16:09:38
James said:
This movie is a clear pass. I'm amazed anyone here is disputing it when you've got two central female characters who are constantly talking to each other about their job.
Message posted on 2013-05-03 03:08:51
Cy Dixon said:
A lot of you seem to be having trouble understanding the basic premise of the test. It's a very simple objective criteria that avoids ideology and wider societal concerns. The argument that the military is inherently patriarchal is not relevant nor are the moments when conversations between two characters do not meet the criteria. All the test seeks to examine is whether there are any instances at all of two named female characters talking about a topic other than a man. As long as there are instances where they have such a conversation, the film passes. You may feel those criteria aren't strong enough or you may feel it to be too simplistic but then your beef is with the test itself and not with the rating a film gets under that criteria.
Message posted on 2013-05-05 12:37:38
Logan said:
The rule is about there being conversations about something other than a man. It has those. It passes.

That there are OTHER conversations about a man is irrelevant. Know the rule.
Message posted on 2013-05-29 04:34:05
fluffy said:
The test doesn't require that NONE of the conversations be about men, just that AT LEAST ONE conversation is about something other than a man. The point of this test is to show how ridiculous it is that even THAT SIMPLE CRITERION can't be met in the vast majority of movies. This passes.
Message posted on 2013-06-09 08:06:05
S.M. Stirling said:
The "talk about a man" is generally taken to mean talking about a man in a gender-specific sense: romantically, for example.

Maya talks about Osama (and other Al Qaeda members) -as a target-. He could be transgendered for all she cares.

Note to Emma: note who's fighting who here. Feminism is a -product- of Western hegemony; learn to live with it.
Message posted on 2013-11-21 21:46:59
Zoe said:
Maya is in the kitchen, Jessica walks in. They discuss motivation of Al Qaeda members (in general, never specifically mentioning any male members or stating that Al Qaeda only has male members), and greed as an instrument of recruitment.
Message posted on 2016-04-15 15:50:14

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