Last week four non-profit movie theatres in Sweden (yes, Sweden again) released a ratings system named after the Bechdel Test. For those uninitiated, to pass the Bechdel Test, a film has to have two named female characters talk to each other about something other than a man. Since the Bechdel Test was launched in the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985 by Alison Bechdel (who says that actually it was her friend Liz Wallace’s Idea) this test has been something of a oasis in the world of male cinema that we all live in. The term has taken on a life of its own. There is a wikipedia page and there is a great video from Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency where she goes through a laundry list of popular and award winning films that would not pass the Bechdel Test.
When the “A” rating was released last week there was a big burst of energy from the Europeans, the feminists, and women media writers but there was decidedly very little response from the mainstream film blogosphere and also from mainstream media here in the US. When I did an interview last week with the UK press about the topic, I was asked what I thought the reaction the people in Hollywood would be, and I responded that I thought that the story would barely make a blip in the consciousness of the folks running Hollywood.
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