The Bechdel Test for Novels

The Bechdel Test was created for movies.  The whole point was to point out the inequality of the sexes on the big screen.  In order for the movie to pass, it must succeed in these three simple tests.

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man.

It’s pretty simple.  In order for a movie to pass the test, there has to be only one part of one scene in which two women talk about something other than a man.  Unfortunately, of the 3,305 movies that The Bechdel Test Website has rated, 53% have failed.  If you did the same test for men, I can guarantee you that less than 5% would fail.  The point of the test is to point out the inequality that is seen on the big screen…and it is making a huge impact.

I want to make a vow today.  From this moment forward, I will makes sure any Novella length (or longer) writing of mine passes this simple test.  I did have this test in mind when I wrote The Stagner Chronicle–which is why it passed.  I really want to look through my first three novels and see if I fell victim to the same problem.  This type of sexual discrimination is unacceptable in my mind.  I don’t want to be a part of it.

The next time you read a book or see a movie, keep this in mind.  If you are a writer yourself, consider taking this pledge with me.

With Love,
Richard

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