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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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    As much as we, guys, don't care about it, it still influences and shape our reality in ways.

    I am always surprised to see people claim some kind of superiority of what they ingest, as if it doesn't bother them or effect.

    We are what we ingest, as cliche as that may seem. What we do and spend our time consuming is very much a great indicator of who we are and what are attitudes we will possess.
     
  2. Badran

    Badran Veteran Member
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    I think it does a decent job of showing it. It doesn't necessitate any of the movies on either end to be gender-bias or gender-balanced, but what it does is help in finding candidates, especially the blatantly obvious ones. It's one tool to use among others. Or one property to observe. As while it's not 100% accurate (or even close to that), it's still pointing out something important.

    For example, some of the movies failing it are not necessarily gender-bias, for more than one possible reason relating to something about the story, making it's failing understandable. But how many such reasons are there to go around for all those movies that failed the test? Most stories can be told equally well with either genders, so i think it's almost a given that most of the movies that failed had a chance to pass easily. The criteria is awfully simple, i can't think of many reasons for a story to not have any room for a conversation between two women about anything other than men, or worse, to have a conversation at all.

    In short, i think the test provides minimal and very simple criteria to point out just how unbalanced the situation is. As by pointing out these many successful movies which have failed to pass an extremely simple test, the problem seems pretty obvious.
     
  3. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    Right, like that shirtless dude in Twilight.
     
  4. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    I never seen twilight.

    Twilight is wrong and it should be destroyed.

    (For clarity's sake, I am playing)

    Bt seriously, destroyed. DESTROYED!
     
  5. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I turned it off after he showed her his skin glows like diamonds in sunlight. Horrible movie. I just remember people making jokes about that guy going shirtless for no reason all the time.
     
  6. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    I absolutely love Toph. :bow:
     
  7. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    So, most movies are about male protagonists playing the central roles and female characters being secondary.

    This is well known, isn't it?

    I think it is far more productive to think on what you can do about it.
     
  8. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger
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    There's also a strange glib denial when whites are shown how normalization occurs with Caucasians so frequently: look at pantyhose for women sold at most any store, and "nude" colored stockings are always lighter-skinned. People with darker skin get it every single time how wrong it is. Lighter-skinned people shrug their shoulders and say "So? Doesn't really say anything. Why should I care about it? It's no big deal."

    It really is difficult to get past looking at the world through a privileged lens.
     
  9. Badran

    Badran Veteran Member
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    Part of what should be done about it is getting more people to realize (and in some cases admit) the issue. Which is what this thread is doing. Attempting to help some people see this from one female perspective, with the support of some interesting facts.
     
  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    It occurs to me that the most politically correct movie is Terminator 2:
    - Heroes:
    A brilliant scientist who is black.
    A juvenile delinquent who is white
    His plain looking incarcerated (mental issues) mother
    A cyborg with poor social skills (Asperger's?)
    - Bad guy:
    A white bread looking male (also a machine)
    - The innocent victims:
    A biker gang in a bar
    A dog named "Wolfie"
    - None of the main characters had romantic entanglements, although the scientist was a married family man.

    Now I feel shame at enjoying a weepie feminist chick flick!
     
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  11. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Well-Known Member

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    Aw man Terminator 2 was my favourite childhood movie! I just to love the truck scenes ^_^

    But the question is....... does it pass the Bechdel test? Hmmm............
     
  12. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Hmmmm....yes, the truck, bike & exploding building scenes are redeeming qualities.
    Without those, our loving this movie would brand us as metrosexuals!
     
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  13. freethinker44

    freethinker44 Well-Known Member

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    Dredd is the same way. And I'm not sure, I would need to rewatch it, but I think it fails the reverse Bechdel test, unless you consider shooting someone in the face a conversation.
     
  14. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Well-Known Member

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    I suppose it could be considered a projectile conversation, about Lead? :shrug:

    Hey now that I think about it, another favourite of mine, Aliens passes the Bechdel test - Ripley and Newt. Not sure if the Bechdel test qualifies a Woman to have a conversation with a Girl though. If not, then I'm pretty sure Vasquez and Ripley make eye contact and briefly exchange words during the movie LOL.
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Aliens is another great chick flick. In the extended version, we understand
    Ripley's loss of her daughter, & perhaps why she is so protective of Newt.
    But there were definitely 2 adult females talking, albeit by a combination
    gesture, word & hiss....the alien queen & Ripley. They did not discuss men.
     
  16. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Agreed.

    What I'm thinking about is what if the situation was reversed? Imagine things like these:

    • Your favorite superheros are all females, the movies that feature them barely have any male dialogue that doesn't talk about females, and most characters in the story are female. At the very least, it'd be disappointing and underrepresenting of a large part of the audience who are males.

    • Males are constantly portrayed in movies as dependent people who seek female companionship for protection, success, strength, and every other cliche there is. That'd be outright annoying and possibly even insulting (again, to a large part of the audience, i.e., males), not to mention unrealistic.

    • Your favorite movie which has a deeply philosophical storyline and well-developed female characters who have thoughtful conversations throughout the story features a couple of male characters whose primary concern is whether they're loved by a specific female character(s), and they're always busy seeking the female character's companionship while the latter is engaged in all kinds of adventures and risk-taking.

    Yeah, that would suck, and it'd suck even more because those portrayals would be absurdly inaccurate to any males I know.

    I think the fact that such portrayals are considered palatable by many people and not even a concern points to a desensitization resulting from decades of movies doing this—the "What's the big deal? It's nothing new!" sort of desensitization.
     
    #116 Debater Slayer, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  17. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Well-Known Member

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    LOL!

    Ah! But The Queen was hissing at Ripley whilst laying her eggs, who knows - maybe the Queen was telling Ripley about how much she hates her Alien husband for not being present during the egg-laying, or for refusing to pay Child Support! :D

    I gotta admit though, out of all the characters in Aliens, Vasquez was my favourite! ^_^
     
  18. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    As a phlebotomist, I always wince a little when I put a bandaid on a darker skinned person, because the bandaids are colored to blend in with the skin of a Caucasian. It just feels so rude.
     
  19. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    [youtube]JYkxCzBszOQ[/youtube]
    Mistaken for a man - YouTube

    Jenette Goldstein is a great actress. She also played Janelle & the T1000
    pretending to be Janelle in Terminator 2. She deserves/deserved higher profile roles.
     
    #119 Revoltingest, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  20. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    But that's exactly the point: That soldier could have been a female. Even in secondary or background roles, men are almost always the default.

    I never really noticed this before, but often when women do make appearences in movies, it is often just as "token" as the addition of a black guy.
     
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