5 thoughts on “Guest post: Do you pass the Bechdel Test? by John Harper

  1. juliathorley says:

    Food for thought. I edit a couple of business journals, and while we have stopped using ‘manageress’, ‘fireman’ and the like, what can we say instead of ‘manpower’ or ‘man-hours’?


    • morgenbailey says:

      One of mine called me a ‘plonker’ (while hitting me over the head with a ‘For Signature’ book) for making a mistake on one of his letters. It was years ago and he wouldn’t have done it (or got away with it) now, and I wouldn’t have kept quiet as I did back then. We were both made redundant not long after – good news for me, not so for him. 🙂

      Thanks again, John. A very interesting topic and I look forward to hosting you again.


  2. Allen Stroud says:

    I’m afraid John you’ve misunderstood the Bechdel test in the first line of your article. The Bechdel test is not a test for gender equality. It is a minimum threshold test designed to highlight three key components. Films that pass must meet the criteria, which you feature. This does not represent gender equality and the test doesn’t claim to do so (http://bechdeltest.com).

    What it is actually doing is highlighting just how stupidly bias the creative output of the film industry is if a whole heap of films can’t even get two women to talk to each other about something other than men. As Chris Jarvis (on your facebook) says, the Bechdel test is not a writing tool, but it is a useful statistic to highlight bias in the face of denial. I wouldn’t advise any writer to use the Bechdel test as a guide, unless they were looking to reflect and soul search about their own practice. Going forward, they’d be better writing good characters of any gender.

    I posted on a related subject, specifically on understanding what equality is here – http://www.allenstroud.co.uk/2014/07/the-gender-of-writers-in-fantasy-and.html


    • John Harper says:

      Thanks Allen

      The take out of the article is half the population is women so before you cut out half your potential sales think about gender equality. I’m using the Bechdel test as a thought starter more than anything. As both you and I have said it does not present equality, but if one person reads the article and thinks about how to incorporate gender equality into their work then job done. Conversely if someone’s take out is to slavishly follow the bechdel test then it has not done its job.

      Cheers for reading!


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