The Bechdel Test (also known as the Bechdel-Wallace test) was created by Allison Bechdel and Liz Wallace as a way to evaluate the presence of women in Hollywood films, and is featured in Bechdel’s 1985 comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. The test has three requirements for a film to pass: (1) It has to have at least two named women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something besides a man.
At first that sounds pretty simple; the act of two women talking to each other about something other than a man certainly reflects reality. But the truth is, substantially more films fail the Bechdel test than pass it – and that needs to change.
Now, I’m not saying you should avoid films that don’t pass the Bechdel test. Very few Oscar nominated films did, including my favorite of the year, 12 Years a Slave (which is disputed whether or not it passes). But it is important for movie goers (and creators) to be aware that many films that strive to be genuine and real do not reflect society – in both the representation of women and racial diversity.
A few of the films of 2013/2014 that passed the test include Divergent, August: Osage County, and Enough Said. You can visit the Bechdel Test Movie List to see what other movies passed the test.
**Check out Film School Reject’s list of films that surprisingly don’t pass the test.**