The Bechdel Test (also known as the Bechdel Rule or Mo Movie Measure) is a simple assessment used to indicate the active presence of women in Hollywood films and measure their dynamic character profile. It was originally coined by Alison Bechdel in the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. Through three rules, it forms a relatively simple baseline for female representation in film:
Easy enough, right?
What was the first year in which a majority of films passed the Bechdel test?
Enter your guess:
The issue is clear: there's a lot to be done for female representation in film. While the historical rates of success in passing the Bechdel Test demonstrate some progress, the test is an incredibly trivial baseline for a movie to meet; one non-male centered conversation between two female characters should not be a difficult task. Additionally, accomplishing Bechdel's benchmark in no way guarantees that the film (with its cast, crew, and content) truly promotes gender equality.
Still, the test serves as an intuitive evaluation for whether a film ignores the importance of diverse representation in media. It's our duty to push for diversity and representation not just out of moral obligation, but to instill values of equality in media consumers of all generations.
This was a final project for Harvard's CS171 course in fall 2018, created by Jess Eng, Cassandra Kane, Lucy Li, and Jarele Soyinka.
Thank you to the CS171 course staff and especially our advisor, Nam Wook Kim, for all their help with this project!