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Continued: Women on film: A notable summer

  • Article by: GINA BARRECA
  • Last update: July 5, 2013 - 6:15 PM

Smarter people than I have drawn attention to the fact that for every woman on the screen there are two male actors: Ever heard of the Bechdel Test?

In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel drew a now-classic strip where one character says that she’ll watch a movie only if it meets the following criteria:

1. It has to have at least two women in it.

2. Who talk to each other.

3. About something besides a man.

You don’t think that’s an accomplishment? I bet you will once you realize that even nontestosterone fests such as “The Social Network” don’t pass the Bechdel test because none of the female characters talk to each other.

Women buy half of America’s movie tickets. Let’s get more women writing scripts where women have lead roles and, while we’re at it, let’s get more women into director’s chairs.

Both “Hannah Arendt” and “The Heat” pass the Bechdel Test. Other movies can, too.


Gina Barreca is an English professor at the University of Connecticut. She wrote this article for the Hartford Courant.

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  • Both “The Heat” — with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock — and “Hannah Arendt” pass something called the Bechdel Test, which has three criteria (described below).

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