The Modern Bechdel Test

By Gaela LaPasta

The Modern Bechdel Test 

In 1985, the Bechdel Test was created to test if a movie could simply portray a woman as a human being. In 2017, we still rejoice when a movie passes said test, although few blockbusters and big budget films manage to. According to Dykes to Watch Out For, the comic strip where the Bechdel Test originated, a film must meet three criteria to pass:

  1. The movie has to have at least two [named] women in it,
  2. who talk to each other
  3. about something besides a man.

I have noticed that a lot of movies aren’t passing the Bechdel Test. In fact, according to, 32% of the top 50 movies of 2016 failed to do so. In light of this information, I think it’s time to make a change. We want our movies to pass! As a remedy, I present a few suggestions of new guidelines that blockbusters should aspire to achieve. It’s 2017, people, we can’t be living in 1985 anymore!

In the style of Congress’s declaration that pizza is a vegetable, I present a list of five modern Bechdel tests that blockbusters might actually manage to pass:

  1. The movie has to have at least half of a woman (dead or alive) in it.
  2. Have a woman on set somewhere while the film is rolling.
  3. Have someone in the cast who has at one point spoken to a woman about something besides a man.
  4. Have a man in the movie who looks a bit like a woman or talks about lady things, such as what’s for dinner and how to do laundry.
  5. Have a token man with a gender ambiguous name, like Leslie, who is featured in the credits.
Art by Gaela LaPasta


My Bechdel Test for 2017

(Alternatively called the LaPasta Test, but that probably won’t be taken seriously so I’ll forget about that dream and live anonymously)

  1. The move has to be written, directed, or produced by a woman.
  2. Have at least one named minority woman who is not a maid or stereotypical character.
  3. Star ANYONE who is not a cis, white, able-bodied man.
  4. Have a cast and crew that is made up of at least 40% minorities.
  5. AND have at least two [named] women who talk to each other about something besides a man.

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