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Bechdel test and Bechdel-Wallace test

The Bechdel test is a term that was coined in the mid-1980s. It is sometimes referred to as the Bechdel-Wallace test. We will look at the meaning of the Bechdel test or Bechdel-Wallace test, where the term came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

The Bechdel test is a test that is applied to works of fiction, including stories, novels and films in order to gauge whether women in that work of fiction are portrayed in a sexist or gender-stereotyping fashion. In a nutshell, to pass the Bechdel test a work of fiction must feature at least two women who have a conversation about something other than a man. It is surprising how many works of fiction do not pass this simple test. The Bechdel test is named after Alison Bechdel, the creator of the comic Dykes to Watch Out For. However, Bechdel has given her friend Liz Wallace the credit for conceiving the Bechdel test, and wants the idea to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test. Originally meant as a joke for a lesbian audience, the Bechdel test or Bechdel-Wallace test has resonated with feminists in general.


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Examples

In 2015, 45% of this year’s biggest movies failed the Bechdel Test- which translates no improvement. (The Jewish Chronicle)

Ruth Sherwood, the protagonist of Leonard Bernstein’s 1953 musical “Wonderful Town,” is a Bechdel test-passing, expert man-losing, scoop-searching journalist whose dreams catapult her out of the Buckeye State and into the Big Apple. (The Chicago Tribune)

In the last three years, a campaign has gradually been gaining ground to raise awareness of the unequal representation of men and women in movies based on the Bechdel-Wallace test, which started out as a joke in a 1986 comic book. (The China Post)

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