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Bechdel Test- Gender Bias in Movies

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Penumbra, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to imply there weren't any old movies. It would be nice if the chart told us, though, the quantity of the sample so far. Still 3900 movies is... pretty small.

    However the chart is interesting so far. I think some of those odd shapes will even out with more samples. But if there was really that significant of a focus of story in the ten's, I would be surprised. Maybe it was early-era marketing naivety.
     
  2. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    So if I show you a picture of a person you won't be able to tell me whether it's a male or female with a 90%+ certainty?

    Please give me several examples of movies you like where two men don't talk to each other where there is substantial dialogue.

    I've pointed out numerous trilogies spanning multiple cities and worlds where not a single woman spoke to another woman, and I've listed dozens of blockbuster movies where two women never speak to each other, or they only speak about a man.

    Surely you have a few examples of long, complex, multi-character movies like those where two men don't speak to each other?
     
  3. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    I suspect zebra pick out genders amongst a group of zebra with amazing accuracy, but I could be wrong.
     
  4. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    Yeah, those early years definitely have a small sample size. Their full list goes by year, so you can actually scroll down and see that they only record a few movies per year in the early years.

    Nearly 4k movies isn't a whole lot, but I think the primary focus is on fairly popular movies that were broadly released in theaters, which brings the number closer to the total number of movies released in that way.

    Also, for a different scope, they specifically list the IMDb top-voted 250 movies:
    Movies in the IMDb Top 250 - Bechdel Test Movie List

    So that shows a finite list of extremely popular movies from a sample that was not chosen by members of this particular website, and then the test is applied to them to show how many fail it.
     
  5. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly why the test is unreliable. Technically the movie fails the test and a reverse test yet the movie is clearly male dominated. I'm willing to accept there is a gender bias in media, but this test doesn't prove it.
     
  6. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    The early argument wasn't put forth as a statistical argument; it was merely pointed out as something to observe for her to point out gender bias. Only this website tends to apply it on a large scale and then forms a few charts about it.

    But seriously, entire trilogies without female/female dialogue. That's totally weird.

    I'm happy to hear about numerous long complex popular movies without male/male dialogue.
     
  7. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    I can tell what gender people are, I just don't care about it.
     
  8. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    And to clarify to people:
    -At no point was it stated that this test is a definitive measure of whether a movie is gender balanced or not. Most movies that fail it are probably not, and some movies that pass it are probably still not.

    I invite people to consider it the next time they watch a movie. Do two men talk about something other than a woman? Do two women talk about something other than a man? Wouldn't it be weird (for you men) if half the movies you watched didn't include two men talking about something other than a woman? The test is simply a creative way of pointing out gender bias in fiction; that an entire sweeping epic can unfold without a single instance of two women speaking, for example.

    It's also a funny way to put it. When a guy thinks back at Star Wars and realizes that in an entire trilogy with an unusually creative and well-described universe and a huge number of characters and amount of dialogue, there are only three named female characters and zero instances of a woman talking with another woman, then maybe he realizes why his girlfriend might not be as into it as him. :facepalm:
     
  9. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    How can you tell if gender is just genitalia, as you put it?
     
  10. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    Like I said, I don't disagree that there is a gender bias in media. I just don't think this particular statistic shows it in any way.
     
  11. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    In all seriousness, though, I rarely watch any movies, and this is just one of the reasons for that. It gets tiresome to watch movies with repetitive themes, protagonists, and recycled character traits (some of which have been mentioned in this thread, such as the generic "protective male" protagonist in the Twilight movies).

    I greatly enjoyed Inception (which was the last movie I fully watched, about a year ago), but I don't recall any elaborate all-female dialogue there either. Most characters were male, and as far as I recall, the female characters weren't introduced from the beginning, while male characters were present from the get-go.

    I don't remember the movie enough, but it wouldn't surprise me if it also failed the Bechdel Test.
     
  12. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    Because as far as gender is concerned, the only way it matters to me at all, is whether you are an "innie" or an "outie", and even then it barely matters because I probably don't want to have sex with you anyways.


    PS: Not "you" specifically, "you" in general. It felt weird to use "one" in place of "you" here.
     
  13. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    You don't think pointing out that multiple sweeping trilogies don't include any instance of female/female communication, or pointing out that dozens upon dozens of popular movies in the OP doesn't show gender bias?

    Honestly, I'll take that seriously if you can list 5 movies with substantial dialog and a large number of characters that appeal to a broad audience where no men speak to each other, or where they only speak briefly and it's about a woman.

    For me that's easy to do the other way around, because it's every other movie.

    Alternatively, in this list of 200+ of the most popular movies of all time as voted by IMDb users, where a large number of them fail the test for women (looks like well over 50% fail), see if you can find even 20+ movies where two men don't speak about something other than a woman. I bet there aren't 20 of them on this list (or maybe not even 1 or 2 or 3), and that wouldn't even bring the failure rate down to 10% for men. For the movies on the list I have seen, I can generally remember rather quickly that men spoke to men multiple times.
    Movies in the IMDb Top 250 - Bechdel Test Movie List
     
  14. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    According to the website, it's officially listed as "pass" but it was challenged by members that say it didn't.

    Apparently the only female/female conversion is one brief time between two women where they talk about love (indirectly about a man, so that's debatable), and one of the characters is just a part of a man's subconscious anyway (so that part's debatable too).

    Inception is a good example because:
    a) It's modern and new.
    b) Really, any character could have been a man or woman. No characters really needed to be a certain gender nor were there settings or contexts where a only certain gender was relevant.
    c) And yet, most characters were male, and there were enormous amounts of male/male dialogue but virtually no female/female dialogue.
    d) It was a good movie. I mean, I liked it. It's not like it only applied to men or was targeted directly towards men. It had a great director; one of the best. And yet, it was a total dude-fest.
     
  15. sunni56

    sunni56 Active Member

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    I genuinely don't think the female/female interactions in movies should be of any concern to any of us. The fact of the matter is, there is open sexism not just in the movie industry but also all types of media in general, to the point that channel bosses and movie directors don't even bother trying to hide it. Have a look at this woman who was told that she better be careful, because people will be able to see her wrinkles from now on.

    The message is simple: 'Ugly' women do not belong in the movie industry nor in the media. Women are there to be admired for their physical attractiveness and women who refuse to pour make-up over their faces and show their legs and walk like they are in a strip club will struggle to be hired.

    In fact, women who are considered 'too old' struggle to be hired as actors precisely because of what age does to the actor's perceived attractiveness level.
     
    #95 sunni56, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  16. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I think it's a big concern, because it's a reflection of the culture that produced the movies.

    I agree. Movie characters are just a tiny subset of it.
     
  17. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    This just remembered me something.

    A mate on college shared with us the rating results of a show on a channel he worked in. Seeing e rratings by the minute and making comparisons, they could determine that young hourglass firgure women display on EACH take made a MINUTE TO MINUTE change on e ratings of episodes and shows. Given this discovery they aumented the time they spent during each episode, and the ratings went way up.

    It was a show about talks. I assume similar to what Opprah does but with people of our city.

    I would be curious to know how much influence would men do in different ages.

    I mean I have heard from a lot of female friends that some men only get sexier as they get old, while women in general do look better younger (with exceptions of course. Personally i like women from different age ranges when it comes to sexual appeal)

    So if we go to ratings, it is not sexual discrimination if it is directly related to the ratings.

    I mean, it is not discrimination to not hire a blind man to make a job that needs reading material books that are not on braile. Equally, you want a person that is going to put the most ratings in the movie.

    So I would be curious to know how much it happens the other way around, if ratings go down when you put a man with wrinkles in a TV show. i doubt it, but i wont pretend to know. (Nor I would pretend that any wrinkled lady wouldnt work for movies, I would assume it would depend on the role she is making)
     
  18. sunni56

    sunni56 Active Member

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    I understand what you are saying; young attractive women pull in the viewers and the ratings and that is why television producers and movie bosses hire them. I didn't argue against that because it is a fact. What I saying was that nobody can claim that there isn't open sexism in the television and movie industry.

    Look at this disgusting case of an actress who was asked to sit with her legs apart and a camera pointing up her skirt. Women are hired for what they have to offer to television viewers and movie-goers in terms of beauty and sexual gratification.
     
  19. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Completely intriguing at it's current state, but the data aren't quite up to par to where I think we'd all like it to be. It's obvious the that sample is by no mean random, but the idea for the project can only grow and become more accurate at this point, especially as people contribute.
     
  20. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    I dont feel that as sexism at all. They will see if that is in her contract or not.

    It has to do with sexuality, sure, but not with sexism.

    It happens less often but I ve seen very several times in series men taking off their shirts and stuff and a female POV for the male. Thats not sexism either.
     
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