How the New Star Wars Movie Is Surprisingly Feminist
You’ve probably heard of the Bechdel test, which the cartoonist Alison Bechdel came up with back in the ’80s to measure whether a work of fiction pulls its feminist weight. The criteria are simple: The story has to include 1) at least two women, 2) who talk to each other, 3) about something other than a man. In other words: Have female characters that serve as more than just props to the plotline. It sounds so basic, and yet a shocking number of Hollywood movies fail to make the cut. Paper Towns? Nope. Minions? Not even. Entrourage? Surprise surprise — big time fail. In fact, according to the data publishing site Silk, only 55.4 percent of 2014 films made the cut.
But one major, super-hyped action flick is reportedly passing the Bechdel test with flying colors.
That’s right. Star Wars: The Force Awakens passes the Bechdel test. Los Angeles Times film writer Rebecca Keegan happily tweeted the news last night, adding that she was “impressed by the breadth of female [characters].”
The Force Awakens features four female leads, which might not seem like much, except that women made up a sad 12 percent of main characters and 30 percent of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing films in 2014, according to data from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
Are you surprised that The Force Awakens passed the Bechdel Test? Tweet us @britandco!