Sexism is rooted in our culture so deeply that in many situations it has become unnoticeable or commonplace.
One great example of this is in movies. Movies can be rated by something called, “The Bechdel Test” to see if they are female-friendly. This test was popularized by Alison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985.
All that the movie has to do to pass this test is three things:
- Have two women in the movie (that are named);
- Who talk to each other;
- About something other than a man.
This is potentially the lowest bar you can set for female presence in a movie. When hearing this criteria, I thought it was a joke. Then I looked up some of the movies that don’t pass the test.
Here’s a short list for 2013 alone:
- 21 & Over
- Jack the Giant Slayer
- The Hangover Part III
- Now You See Me
- After Earth
- The Internship
- The Purge
- This is the End
You would think with such a low bar set that movies would have no problem passing. But they still do. The fact that media is reflective of society shows that the presence of women independent of men is not being recognized.
Not only are the movies that do not pass the test problematic; movies that do pass the test still can be. The movie can still contain sexist content, it can be gender biased, or have sexist speech.
So next time you watch a movie keep this test in mind and see if it passes.