Reading and The Bechdel Test

This year I’m putting a list of the books that I read here on the blog. In the list you’ll find the title, author, some tags, when read and how much I like it. I think I might have to add another criteria. Does it pass the Bechdel test?

The test goes:

  1. It has to have a least two women in it (addendum: who are named)
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man

Of course, the Bechdel test is for movies, but after reading this post on Occasional Planet I see that it works just as well for books.

I suspect that a lot of the books I read won’t pass the test. I certainly don’t need for them all to pass the test, but I should be aware enough to notice. It could be interesting to see, after doing this for a while, if there’s any difference between female and male authors, and newer and older books.

It could also be interesting to see if I ever found a book that didn’t pass the Anti Bechdel Test. Is it possible for me to find a book that fails this?:

  1. It has to have a least two men in it (addendum: who are named)
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a woman

I think that one will be difficult.

Anyway, from now on I’ll try to have a Bechdel-report on the books I read as Passed-B or Failed-B, and if any of them actually manages to fail the Anti Bechdel I’ll certainly let you know. I’ll also do the same in my tags at LibraryThing.

I certainly think that the Bechdel test should be used by everyone reviewing movies or literature, not as a measure of quality, but as a personal awareness raiser. It should also be used by everyone teaching film or literature, I think a lot of students never gets confronted by this aspect of the books they read or movies they see.

Does anyone else use the Bechdel test as part of their reading aresenal?


About mostraum

Librarian, reader, atheist, blogger, golfer, lesbian, geek.

Posted on May 10, 2011, in Literature/Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Reading and The Bechdel Test.

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