Friday, July 6, 2012

Settling vs. Waiting and the Bechdel Test

Aunt Louise has brought something to my attention called The Bechdel Test. There is more information about it here, but essentially it is a litmus test to gauge the strength of women characters in movies. ]

There are three things necessary to pass the "test:"

1. The movie has to have at least two (named) women in it.
2. They have to talk to each other...
3. About something besides a man.

I recently saw the movie "Brave," (Disney/Pixar's new animated film) and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that there was a strong female lead in it. Even with a strong female lead, though, it wouldn't pass the Bechdel test, as the two main women, Merida and her mother (named, though I've forgotten it) talk to each other about Merida's prospective husbands. She's a princess and tradition dictates that she pick a husband from one of the other clans. The three options available to her are, in modern-day vernacular, losers, and she doesn't feel like she's ready to get married.

The film has come under some criticism, rather, Merida as a character has been criticized and labeled by some as gay, because what Disney princess doesn't end up with the prince at the end? "She must be gay," say some people (idiots, in my opinion), "because she didn't end up with a prince." Apparently they don't take into consideration that it's okay for a woman to hold out for something better. Why do we have to settle?

For all those nay-sayers (gay-sayers?) out there who think that woman MUST be with a man for her to matter, I say, "pffft."

It also reminds me of a song by Sara Bareeilles called "Fairytale," that says in part:

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom
Man made up a story said that I should believe him
Go and tell your white knight that he's handsome in hindsight
But I don't want the next best thing
So I sing and hold my head down and I break these walls round me
Can't take no more of your fairytale love

(Full lyrics here.)

1 comment:

  1. VERY elegant. VERY on.

    Maybe that's why I like movies with aliens... at least there is a semblance of neutrality there... and usually the men get eaten disproportionately...

    One of my all-time favorite movies (by Miyazaki) called "My Friend Totoro" passes the Bechdel Test. Note: no eating except rice and corn in this movie.