The Bechdel test: How is it possible so many movies fail?

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by GingerCoffee, Nov 12, 2013.

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  1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Perhaps it makes no sense because you missed the point. The test is only a measuring stick, like a thermometer. It's not a test an individual work needs to pass. The results reflect the state of the whole. In fact, if someone were to throw in a couple women talking to each other just to pass the test, it would defeat the purpose of the test and make the test less useful as a cultural thermometer.

    One of the reasons I decided to write my own book was because a lot of the female characters in other people's books don't reflect me. I want to read female characters I can identify with, cheer for, stories that I can relate to. All one need do is look at some of the fan fiction of the worst offenders like Bella in Twilight to see readers want their female characters to be different. Readers want female characters that have more redeeming qualities than having a boyfriend.

    No one is forcing me to write different females, it's not because I want to be PC or join a trend. It's the females I want to write.

    BTW, I also have teenage females in my book whose lives revolve around boys. It's a fact of life. But my female hero is so much more. :)
     
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  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    o_O

    I'm speechless.
     
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  3. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    That's 'cause the most interesting settings have dinosaurs in them.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  4. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Supporter Contributor

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    Men's restrooms? :confused:
    o_O
     
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  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It is funny the kind of hostility or negative reaction a topic like this draws, even though the whole thing is just about awareness. Some people seem really put out by the idea that we should have more female characters with agency. I'm not sure what the cause for such a negative reaction would be.
     
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  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    There's actually an article on the internet, I think Cracked.com, about how/why powerful people become jerks and vice-versa, and part of it was about how the appeal of being in power is not just in getting to think about using it, but also in getting to not think about having it.

    When you have power over other people, it can sometimes seem like the most natural thing in the world, something too obvious to be worth thinking about anything else. In those cases, it can feel like people who want freedom from you are not protecting themselves, but that they are just "rocking the boat" for the sake of insulting you personally and that there's no real reason for them not to give everything to accommodate you.
     
  7. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Supporter Contributor

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    That's a bit of a blanket statement, isn't it? I mean, I have to wonder how that's even possible since, as a guy, to me men = boring, women = interesting, so a story about some sweaty dudes on a boat isn't really my idea of an interesting setting.


    Maybe a big portion of such consumers are men who are mainly interested in men, things related to men, reading about men etc? You know, for whatever reason.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Maybe. But why should men only be interested in men? I'm interested in people. I have a daughter, and I'm very much interested in knowing more about teenage girls and their experiences, &c. Who says because I'm male I have to be interested only in reading about men or things traditionally associated with men? Yes, I like a lot of those things as well, but those aren't the only things I like.
     
  9. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Supporter Contributor

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    Dude, I seriously have no idea whatsoever. I've never quite understood men like that as I've always found girls / women far more interesting in all their infinite mystique. Very few male-led stories can pull off interesting to me, but usually it has to be exceptional in some way. Consequently, if I'm choosing a book simply by its blurb / cover / title, I'll be much more likely to pick a female-led piece.

    ETA: personal interests might even play a big part in it. I mean, I'm more likely to choose a novel that has swords or guitars in it than one that's centered around cars or fishing because the latter two subjects just don't cater to my interests, and if one's interested in learning more about women in general, one's more likely to want to read about them (especially portrayals written by women).
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  10. DPVP

    DPVP Active Member

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    was more a joking swipe back about his boring comment but if you want to make it something bigger be my guest.

    granted reading peoples reactions to my comment about some of the best setting it seems to be a trend. Also speaking from personal experience i dont meet as many interesting women as men. its much more common to find a man that does interesting things like climb mountains, hunt, work in high stress or dangerous environments. In the end i at lest seem to run into lots of women with no passion or great stories, but run into men that do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  11. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Considering you falsely assumed ChickenFreak was male, you may be misjudging other authors as well, but you know, to each her own.

    Without your caveat, 'people you've encountered', it really is an indefensible position and you seem to be unable to stop digging the hole deeper.
     
  12. DPVP

    DPVP Active Member

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    refer to my comment before about professionals.

    also what? got a problem with people talking about their experiences?
     
  13. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well you are accusing half the population of being boring and somewhat useless. As a member of the group so labeled, I know from my experience your conclusions don't apply to me and an awful lot of incredibly interesting women I've met and authors I've read.

    I don't understand why you'd want to alienate so many forum members here for such little gain.
     
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  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Clearly, you enjoy drama and physical danger, at least in fiction. That's fine. It's not so fine when you assume that people who don't enjoy physical danger have no passion. And when you assume that your preferences are not merely your preferences, but are the "right" preferences, you're going to have trouble communicating with other people.

    If you want to be a writer, you're going to need to be able to communicate with other people, and to understand that other people have thoughts, feelings, and preferences that don't match yours.
     
  15. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

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    Personally, I'm not bothered by people saying we should have more females of 'quality' in stories. I do get uptight when told it's my "social responsibility" to include them, or told that I have been somehow brainwashed just because my opinions differ from someone else's (kinda like telling someone they don't have the 'right' opinion).
     
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  16. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So did someone tell you that?
     
  17. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

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    There were comments to the effect that people had been so accustomed to women being in "inferior" roles that we had internalized it and that's why people didn't see the need to include women. There were also comments about "needing" to be more proactive in including women. But in every forum where this "test" has come up, those types of comments come into play, sooner or later.
     
  18. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well since you've not posted quotes I'll address that generally.

    I choose to write the female characters that reflect my own feminine feelings. I certainly don't expect anyone else to write any story or characters that don't come from their own hearts. One of the things that I'm glad is a part of my character is valuing observation. And observing how many mainstream movies don't have so much as two named females that talk to each other about something besides men was an eye opener, but at the same time consistent with my world experience.

    I thought others might be equally surprised at this simple observation. It's really other women I hope to awaken, not men. Not that male writers don't have a contribution to make here. How cool would that be if some of them do take notice?

    But I'm the last person to expect someone else to act. No, that's not me. I control what I write, I don't control what other people write, nor do I think it's a reasonable expectation.

    I hope to open eyes, that's all.
     
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  19. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I've been "awake" for a few decades now and I still won't stick a female character - or a black one, or a gay one, or any other "one" - in just because some test by a comic strip writer says I should. Nor will I use a male character if the story is best served with a female. I'm not interested in corrupting a story just to serve some social 'cause'.

    As to your desire to "awaken" other females - coupling that with your attitude in that romance thread, you may want to look at your own views of the female gender. You may discover that other women don't need to be 'awakened' by you as much as they need to be seen as equal to you.
     
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  20. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Can you please start a post about a bechdel test for minorities. They're even less represented than women, and on here, sadly, seem to have no one to represent for them.
     
  21. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see the Bechtel test as something our fiction necessarily needs to 'pass' every time. It is just a reflection on how things 'are.'

    For some reason, apparently, our culture sees men's stories as more interesting than women's, unless the woman's story is some kind of romance involving a man. It's something to be aware of, to think about—but I don't see it as a rule everybody needs to follow all the time. I dislike tokenism in any form. What needs to happen is a real change in belief, so that portraying all aspects of women's lives will become as 'interesting' a task as portraying those of men.

    Awareness of this issue will hopefully bring its own result. I know I'll certainly be keeping it in my own mind for future writings.
     
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  22. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    The good thing in having a writing partner is that T.Trian is happy to write the women, so I don't have to worry about personal obligations to include women into the story if I don't feel like it :D

    You should, like, move to Israel where it's compulsory for the women to serve in the IDF.

    Anyway, my head hurts cos I got my ass kicked by a 40-something white-collar woman yesterday. Shit she hit hard, even through the guard. Now there's one interesting women, even by your definition.
     
  23. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    You lost to a 40 year old? :S
    She outweighed you I hope.
     
  24. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    Yeah, but that's 'cause even Q-Tips outweigh me, so no excuses there. She was just really skilled and strong...
     
  25. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Supporter Contributor

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    It seems you just know boring women, then. Sure, I've met boring women too, but why would I want to spend time hanging out with or reading about boring people at all, men or women? It just seems easier to find interesting women than it is to find interesting men.

    And, of course, practically every woman is interesting in one way or another when clothing is removed (I assume it also works vice versa). Can't really say the same about men. But even this is more like... just a bonus: I realise women aren't aliens but they are fascinating, there's all kinds of cool new stuff you can learn about them (or, rather, the context, background, how society treats them which leads some women to act different from men in some situations etc) just by reading books about women written by women. Isn't that an interesting setting in and of itself? At least the rewards are much better (and more far more useful) than those of reading how GI Joe shoots 100 Arabs and then retires to his room to fiddle with his gun. And it's not like there aren't GI Janes out there, most of their stories still untold.


    Sometimes people have surprising abilities. Back when I trained muay thai, I ended up sparring with a girl about a foot shorter than me and when I went for a kick, she swept my feet from under me and sent me on my ass. And she did that thrice. Good times. :cool:
     

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