Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Bechdel Test. Now In Swedish Movie Theaters

So the British Guardian tells us.  The Bechdel test:

You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.
To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
"The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm's trendy Södermalm district.


The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the A rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.

Bolds are mine.  It doesn't sound like a very demanding test to pass.  But, surprisesurprise!, it is a hard test to pass.

But who cares?  Not a Swedish anti-feminist:

For some, though, Sweden's focus on gender equality has gone too far.
"If they want different kind of movies they should produce some themselves and not just point fingers at other people," said Tanja Bergkvist, a physicist who writes a blog about Sweden's "gender madness".

That's an interesting criticism, because publishing the Bechdel test results don't require anything from anyone who makes movies.  You don't have to pass the test!  And what is finger-pointing about any of this?  Should we pretend not to notice that movies are made for the clientele of young men?  That it's somehow rude to mention that?

It's also weird in the sense that making movies is extremely expensive and before one gets the funding for a movie there are umpteen zillion hurdles in the way.  Most of them seem to be aimed at getting nothing but the next Rambo 3289 out to the marketplace.

I like the idea of giving consumers more relevant information.  That way I don't have to waste my time or buy products which I end up hating.