Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life on Fail

Ever heard of Bechdel's Criteria? I was reading Charlie Stross' blog and having a good chortle at everyone scrambling to see if their favorite movie met the criteria, and then, today, suddenly found myself wondering if my *life* met it.

The test, which is designed to see if the writer/scriptwriter of the movie (or book) even considers women to be people, goes like this:

1. Does it have at least two women in it,

2. Who [at some point] talk to each other,

3. About something besides a man.

Charlie goes on to clarify:

The reason Bechdel's test is important is because it's a diagnostic indicator for the objectification of women. It's designed to identify the kind of film where, if two women talk to each other at all, the only subject of conversation is men (or babies). What it tells us is that our current movie and (to a lesser extent) our TV culture is pathologically misogynistic — be it in in the adoption of conservative Kinder, Kuche, Kirche values or the more extreme violence of women in refrigerators.

Over at Charlie's Blog, people are finding out in droves that very few movies, comics or books meet this simple test.

And I'm finding out, that except for work, which doesn't count because I don't get to choose who I talk to or what I talk to them about, my entire life fails the Bechdel Test.

I talk in general to 'people' on this blog, on LJ or on message boards. I write stories for 'people'. I talk to a man and two iguanas and four geckos and about 20 fish at home. On the private messaging systems I mostly talk to women - and I talk to those women about men, since Led Zeppelin, Paul Kossoff, Jason Isaacs, Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, Grand Moff Tarkin, The Pretty Things and all the Krewe I care about are actually men (or imaginary men).

I'm not sure what to make of this.

It's possible that when I tell people I can't stand John McCain and don't like Barack Obama that I'm not actually talking about 'men' - after all the Presnit of the Untied States is an office rather than a gender -

- but, wait, I just remembered I had that conversation with two men, so it fails checkpoint two.

I talked with the woman on the checkout counter at Vons today about the lighting in the new look "Lifestyle" section, but now I come to think of it, discussing the lighting in your local supermarket not exactly a feminist manifesto. And I exchanged PMs with a female novelist yesterday about writing, but the subject was how to write believable male dialogue about sex.

I'm screwed.

Edit: Seven geckos. (Sorry, little hangar lizards.)


Malia said...

What about earthquakes, squid, and Space Vixens? Those were gripping conversations that weren't about men. I think.

Peromyscus said...

True enough. Squid, vixens and the earth moving. Nothing to do with sex at all.


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