Welcome to Beyond the Bechdel
As you probably know, the BECHDEL TEST hails from a gag from DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR, a 1980s underground comic strip by CERTIFIED GENIUS, ALISON BECHDEL. It unfolds when two women pass by a movie marquee and one asks the other if she wants to catch a flick. The friend declines with the following qualification:
“I only go to a movie if it satisfies three basic requirements. One, it has to have at least two women in it who, two, talk to each other about, three, something besides a man.”
She concludes that the last movie she was able to see was ALIEN .
To reiterate, this idea came from a comic strip, that’s C-O-M-I-C, meaning it was intended to be funny. Yet, since then it’s evolved (devolved?) from a witty exaggeration into a cinematic aspiration. And why? Because so many contemporary Hollywood films fail this absurdly deficient litmus test. And when the occasional anomaly does manage to hurdle this ridiculously low-hanging bar, some people have the poor taste to call that “progress.”
How did this happen?