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Fandor Now Categorizing Its Films Using the Bechdel Test -- And They Want Your Help

by Beth Hanna
May 6, 2014 11:36 AM
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Oscilloscope Kelly Reichardt's 'Wendy and Lucy'

Fandor is going above and beyond the typical ideas of a streaming service. Beginning May 5, the site is incorporating a pop-up survey that appears with whatever film a viewer has chosen to watch. The three-question survey is the Bechdel test! Answers from the survey will help Fandor catalogue their content, so that all Bechdel-passing films can be found on a dedicated landing page.

Per Fandor, which is overseen by TOH! contributor Ted Hope, this new service is designed to let its users "become more aware of gender roles" in the films they choose to watch.

As a reminder, the three questions in the Bechdel test are: 1) Are there two women in a given film? 2) Do those two women talk to each other? 3) Do they talk to each other about something other than men?

Now, the Bechdel test is by no means fool-proof. It's been pointed out many times that a film such as, say, "Gravity" doesn't pass the test, though that's certainly a strong example of a film primarily about a woman, who has a rich interior life and must overcome daunting obstacles (most of which are completely unrelated to men). Here's what Fandor has to say:

When applied to individual films, this test can seem extremely reductive—after all, many fantastic films will not pass, and many films that do pass (like a certain sparkly vampire franchise which shall not be named) aren’t exactly lauded for their depiction of women. However, when applied holistically to a group of films, like Oscar winners, or even the films made in a certain year, the data can be used to show what kind of media is being produced and promoted, and for who. In fact, a more apt term for the test might be the Bechdel Lens.

In the original Bechdel comic [see below], the characters choose to forgo that trip to the movies because none of the films that are playing appeal to what they are looking for or what speaks to them. Independent film exists and is essential for this exact reason—because the paradigms of the mainstream film industry don’t reflect the depth and wealth of stories that can and should be told. It is in that spirit, the spirit of keeping film a democratic, dynamic and moving medium, that we are asking viewers for their assistance. Watch films. Rate them. Let’s see the pattern that emerges. Let’s watch films that appreciate, not just the depth of human experience, but the breadth of human relationships. Popcorn optional.

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More: News, Bechdel Test, News, Fandor


  • Jacqueline | May 7, 2014 6:21 PMReply

    Good to see! Its certainly not fool proof, as proven by Gravity and many other excellent films, but its a pretty good rule of thumb. I agree with Tyler4all that adding a category for female directors would be interesting too.

  • tyler4all | May 6, 2014 1:00 PMReply

    Does "Wendy and Lucy" pass the Bechdel test? SPOILER ALERT! Wendy and Lucy are best buds and all and I'm sure Wendy talks to Lucy but Lucy is a dog sooo...I guess it doesn't pass the test. Maybe they should add another point to the test: Whether the director is a woman or not.

  • Crazyxcrazy | May 6, 2014 12:56 PMReply

    WOW just WOW

    The world is ending, it's time to get off this planet. this is laughable.

    Can i have category of my own? i want a category of dwarfs talking to lobsters but this shouldn't include any talk of dogs or prawns

    We'll call it Lobarfs

  • Jacqueline | May 7, 2014 6:22 PM

    Good. Get off the planet, then. Won't miss you.

  • ttruffaut | May 6, 2014 7:15 PM

    Sitting in front of your computer trolling on websites is not working for anything…certainly not for the greater good. The internet has unfortunately given people with half-baked, ignorant opinions a platform to share them…which would actually be fine if those people didn't feel an undeserved sense of importance.

    I can't wrap my head around why the Bechdel Test is even bothersome to people like you. It's good to know that you're in the minority.

  • Crazyxcrazy | May 6, 2014 6:35 PM

    I work for the greater good of mankind. ridding the world of pc bullshit

  • ttruffaut | May 6, 2014 4:56 PM

    When I see the same troll spewing its vitriol on multiple websites about the same topic, I'd have to agree that it's time for you to get off of this planet.

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