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Do you pass the Bechdel Test?

by Leigh Hooper 28 days ago in review

An exploration into the IRL Bechdel Test

Do you pass the Bechdel Test?
Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

You know when you're doing something monotonous and you have this ground-shaking revelation about something related to that task and it makes you rethink your entire life? Like when you realise instead of just putting your keys down in a random place, you could put them away on the hook where they're supposed to go? (don't expect me to believe you haven't done it too!)

That feeling hit me when I was walking and talking with a friend the other day.

There we were, having a catch up after I recently hit a rocky patch in my relationship, and I had this out-of-body experience where I realised something terrible, and I had to rethink about the entire way I interact with people.

I realised all I had been talking about was a man. I realised because of that, I had failed the Bechdel Test.

Now, for those of you know don't know, the Bechdel Test is a measurement of representation of women within media/fiction. To pass the test, the media/fiction must include two female characters who talk to each other about something other than the topic of men.

And I had failed the Bechdel Test...miserably. I felt terrible, thinking that my friend probably thought all I cared about was the man I was talking about. So, after having this realisation it lead me to the question: should the Bechdel Test only be used in fiction?

I don't think so!

I believe that the Bechdel Test is also a great way to keep your female relationships in check. When you text or meet up, do you only talk about the guy you met on a dating app? Do you only have conversations about the latest White Boy of the Month?

If you do, you too have failed the IRL Bechdel Test.

As the test is an indication of the gender inequality in media, I find it interesting if many of us women would pass the Bechdel Test in real life, and so I did an experiment. I thought about all the conversations I had had with female friends, co-workers and family members and I realised something shocking.

We talk about men a lot, unintentionally. A conversation I had with a female co-worker lead to us talking about our male boss, my conversation with the friend I mentioned involved us talking about both of our significant others, and the mention of ex-boyfriends occurred too. I couldn't even have a conversation with my mother without wanting to show her a TikTok of Dylan O'brien and talk about it!

I realised I couldn't escape it! I talk about men to all of the females I know and sometimes we don't talk about anything else. It made me wonder: am I boy-crazy or am I really that boring?

For somebody who sees themselves as a modern and independent woman, I was shocked to think I failed the Bechdel Test. Why is so much of my headspace consumed by the thought of men? Is there nothing else I have to think about?

Am I mad about it? Maybe a little bit, because it's weird to think if my life were a movie I would've failed on the Bechdel Test Movie List. I'm worth more than just the men in my life. But, do I think I would feel better if I has passed? Probably not, and there's a good reason for that.

For real life scenarios, it's more than likely unrealistic to never talk about the men in your life, the same way it would be unrealistic to never talk about your work-life or what you had for dinner last night. It's a common thing to talk about, and we all do it subconsciously. Maybe we could spend more time thinking about what we talk about, but then it wouldn't be a genuine and authentic conversation!

I'm sure not every woman wonders if they pass the Bechdel Test, but it definitely gave me something to talk about.

So, next time you and your girlfriends are talking about Channing Tatum or the random dick pic you never wanted from an old classmate you've not spoken to in seven years, maybe you will have a revelation similar to the one I had and wonder...

Do you pass the Bechdel Test?


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If you want you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @leighooper and you can also find my writing Instagram @leigh_writing, just make sure you don't mention a man if you DM me ;)

Thanks for reading, I hope to see you soon!


Leigh Hooper

A writer in her twenties wanting to share her random knowledge & opinions with the world✨

My Twitter and Instagram handles are: @leighooper

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