A 1-post collection

Testing the media: Weighed and found wanting

I’ve told my spawn about the Bechdel Test, and come up with a comparative test of my own.

And let me tell you, it’s a hard test for most movies to pass.

I’m calling it the “Brown Test” lest egomania strike me down and I name it after myself. Who the hell would want to pass the ‘Nutter Test? But I digress.

The Bechdel Test goes thusly:

1) Does the movie/show contain at least two women?
2) Do they both have names?
3) Do they share a conversation?
4) And is that conversation about something other than men?

It’s a presence/representation test, not the measure of a good movie. There’s lots of good movies out there and many of my personal favourites completely fail this test.

Lots and pots of them fail the following one.

The Brown Test asks:

1) Does the movie/show contain at least two people of colour?
2) Do they have names?
3) Do they share a conversation?
4) Does that conversation successfully avoid a negative stereotype?

That’s a hard, hard test to follow. Ironically, I think a few “blaxploitation” films managed to pass.

The only modern film I can think of that passes both tests [though it’s a narrow squeak with the second] is Wreck-it Raplh. I kid you not. Vanellope and Calhoun exchange lines (briefly) and some of the Nicelanders are POC, named (AFIR) and avoid stereotypes in the brief scene where they all speak.

The Bechdel Test opened a lot of minds to the presence of ladies on screen. I’m almost positive that most movies at least include one we-have-to-pass-this-thing, one-line-each exchange between two named girls on the screen. That’s what I call “squeaking through on a technicality”. And given the insulting level of some of these exchanges… I’d rather the movie fail than try this badly.

I’m hoping that the Brown Test opens some minds. But really, you can apply the same rule-set with sensible adjustments to any underrepresented group. Trans* folks, LGBTIAQ, healthy fat people, the differently abled… it goes on and on and on.

And I’m already aware that you can’t make a good movie that passes every last test humankind can devise.

I just want them to try a little harder.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?