Gender portrayal in popular fiction[ edit ] Female and male characters in film, according to four studies In her essay A Room of One's Own , Virginia Woolf observed about the literature of her time what the Bechdel test would later highlight in more recent fiction: And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends.
They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men. It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen 's day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex.
And how small a part of a woman's life is that Female characters were portrayed as being involved in sex twice as often as male characters, and their proportion of scenes with explicit sexual content increased over time. Violence increased over time in male and female characters alike. In a strip titled "The Rule", two women, who resemble the future characters Mo and Ginger,  discuss seeing a film and one woman explains that she only goes to a movie if it satisfies the following requirements: The movie has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something besides a man.
Not finding any films that meet their requirements, they go home together. It requires "a Bechdel analysis of the script to be supplied by the script readers". The television series Sex and the City highlights its own failure to pass the test by having one of the four female main characters ask: It's like seventh grade with bank accounts!
In , only one in six of the directors, writers, and producers behind the most commercially successful movies in the United States was a woman.
Rowling , Margaret Atwood and Nnedi Okorafor among others as counter-examples. A work may pass the test and still contain sexist content, and a work with prominent female characters may fail the test. One of the questions arising from its application is whether a reference to a man at any point within a conversation that also covers other topics invalidates the entire exchange.
If not, the question remains how one defines the start and end of a conversation. Where Bechdel and Wallace expressed it as simply a way to point out the rote, unthinkingly normative plotlines of mainstream film, these days passing it has somehow become synonymous with 'being feminist'.
It was never meant to be a measure of feminism, but rather a cultural barometer. Similarly, the Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin disapproved of the test as prizing "box-ticking and stat-hoarding over analysis and appreciation", and suggested that the underlying problem of the lack of well-drawn female characters in film ought to be a topic of discourse, rather than individual films failing or passing the Bechdel test.
She also wrote that it remained to be determined how often real life passes the Bechdel test, and what the influence of fiction on that might be. The Bechdel test has inspired others, notably feminist and antiracist critics and fans, to formulate criteria for evaluating works of fiction, in part because of the Bechdel test's limitations. Does the film contain a character that is identifiably LGBT, and is not solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect?
Are there two named characters of color? Do they have dialogue? Are they not romantically involved with one another? Do they have any dialogue that isn't comforting or supporting a white character? Is one of them definitely not magic?
Source code passes this test if it contains a function written by a woman developer which calls a function written by a different woman developer.