Bechdel Test

Bech·​del Test | \ ˈbek-dəl- How to pronounce Bechdel Test (audio) \
variants: or Bechdel test or less commonly Bechdel-Wallace Test \ ˈbek-​dəl-​ˈwä-​ləs-​ How to pronounce Bechdel Test (audio) \ or Bechdel-Wallace test

Definition of Bechdel Test

: a set of criteria used as a test to evaluate a work of fiction (such as a film) on the basis of its inclusion and representation of female characters

Note: The usual criteria of the Bechdel Test are (1) that at least two women are featured, (2) that these women talk to each other, and (3) that they discuss something other than a man.

In addition to being co-written by pre-"Lady Bird" Greta Gerwig, the film [Mistress America] passes the Bechdel test because it showcases the (non-romantic) ambitions of two women in different stages of their lives.— Sophia Spirus While the premise may seem simple, there are a shocking number of movies that manage to fail this test, with only 58 percent of all movies in the Bechdel Test database passing in all three areas.— Victoria Lara

First Known Use of Bechdel Test

2007, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Bechdel Test

after Alison Bechdel (born 1960) American cartoonist, who introduced the test in a comic strip in 1985, and her friend Liz Wallace, whom the cartoonist credits with creation of the test

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The first known use of Bechdel Test was in 2007

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Cite this Entry

“Bechdel Test.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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