A small truth: I think the Bechdel Test is the worst thing to happen to Feminism since they first awarded Oscars for Best Actress.
There, I said it, for all the world to see. Now before the raging tide of anger comes flooding across the internet to come crashing down upon my humble blog let me add and explanation. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, The Bechdel Test a means for determining if a “work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man” (Wikipedia). In some cases there can be other rules which determine if the movie passes or fails but for the sake of this discussion we will use this as the definition. Since the advent of its wide spread popularity on the internet, it has had ripples in all forms of fiction, but has this been happening in a good way? I would say no.
Before anybody says anything to the contrary, I do believe that it has pointed out in stark contrast, the lack of women in fiction, namely movies and television; and because of this I am willing to acknowledge its importance to the over all cause of Feminism. That being said, the adverse effects it has had are now beginning to outweigh the good.
Lets look first at a Movie series many will know: The Hobbit. This is a hot topic with me. I read the Hobbit late in life but I loved it none the less and it sparked in me a love for Tolkien that is with me to this day. After watching the first Hobbit, I was in high spirits. The story was mostly intact and the characters were close enough to my imagination. In steps Tauriel. My Hopes for a faithful imagining of the story falls to pieces. Granted she is a strong female character who makes her own decisions in life and does not submit to the will of a man, but what the heck does that have to do with the Hobbit or any of Tolkien other works? The answer is nothing. She is an example of a token strong female character fitting all of the standard tropes Feminists look for in movies like The Hobbit. She fulfills no function in the story and in no way enhances the plot. She is in there entirely to appease feminist audiences and that is unacceptable to me. It should be unacceptable to Feminists too, and yet I constantly get people defending the decision. I believe she never should have been put into the story and doing so is insulting to everybody involved. Tolkien for changing his story. Fans for wasting their time. Feminists for tossing them a bone to chew on and faun over as a victory while they character is shallow and poorly developed. instead of wasting my time with this why not take the concept and create and entire story about her, devoted to her, with her story being the focus. It would not have interfered with the Hobbit storyline and could have told the story of a powerful woman in middle earth. she is instead thrown in like an after though. This is in the wake of the effect scoring methods like the Bechdel Test have had on fiction. Instead of increasing the amount of stories ABOUT women, they have created another hoop for Hollywood to casually jump though and then be rewarded for as Feminists praise them for being progressive.
This test and others like it provided insight into where tv and movies in particular can improve in telling diverse and meaningful stories. They are not standards to grade a movies quality on. the Hobbit was written as a story that didn’t happen to have many female characters. That has no bearing on its merit there is nothing wrong with a story like that. there should be more stories like that about women. The same is true for television. I see all the time for people use these test to compare and imply quality of a source material. Sherlock vs Elementary, Doctor Who under Russel T. Daves vs under Steven Moffat.
this is a logical fallacy. The False authority to be specific. many are under the impression that a movie which fails the test is sexist because it did not have the requirements needed to pass and that those movies are to be shamed for not passing and those which do pass should be praised. this is a ridiculous idea. The test is a means of dividing fiction into a binary catagory, yes and no, do and do not, pass and fail. that is all. it is meant to outline the lack of Female stories being told and Female characters being developed in movies. this is not to say all move should/have to pass. The Hobbit does not have many Female characters mentioned and it is not a bad book. That’s just not what the story was about.
The bechdel test is setting into motion the desterbing trend of Token strong female characters without any real unique personality traits that are convincingly dressed up to look legit. There are not more stories being told. Just the shadows thrown up on the walls that look like stories. It pisses me off every time I see something like that happen in fiction and even more when it pops up in a debate over validity. we need more stories about women, not more women in stories
p.s. for anyone wondering about the Best Actress category. I will simply say that having a separate category is the same as saying a woman could never win against a man. actor has no gender association in many languages. I am not sure why female actors don’t find this insulting.
i’m reblogging this in full in the hopes some great soul will provide the thourough smackdown i expect, nay, deserve before this shitpost gets deleted.
I would probably watch an episode of Elementary if Cumberbatch turned up …
nobody wanted this in the elementary tag, you dimwitted walnut. keep to posting c grade porn, it’s what you’re good at
So, the Labyrinth’s a piece of cake, is it? Well, let’s see how you deal with this little slice.