Mulling The Bechdel Test

by Shelt Garner

Oh boy. Where to begin with this one. This is a very touchy subject because a lot of well meaning people take it for granted that any piece of art with dialogue in it has to pass the Bechdel Test: two women talking about something other than a man.

Now, it’s my impression that the test was proposed originally as something of a “half joke.” But it’s a testament to how segmented pop art is now that it definitely goes against the media narrative to quibble with the importance of the Bechdel Test.

So, in a sense, the less I say about it and my very strong opinions about it, the better. But I’m an idiot, so I’m going to talk a little bit about it anyway. I have absolutely no problem with someone thinking the Bechdel Test is important. But I also know that on a personal level, I fail any test I’m given and so it make sense that the novel I’m developing and writing would fail the Bechdel Test.

The thing is, there are an unusually high number of female characters in this novel — which, me being a male author brings up a whole different set of problems for some people — but I’m not going to worry about if the novel passes the Bechdel Test or not. The point of this whole endeavor is tell a great, engaging story. If it happens to pass the Bechdel Test, great. If it doesn’t, I’m not going to worry about it.

Given how extremely self-conscious I am ensuring the female characters I’ve come up with are not simply women I want to bang, I think if I fail the Bechdel Test — which I inevitably will — then maybe I can get a pass on it. Or if you refuse to give me a pass on it, then maybe my novel — given that it was written by a man — maybe isn’t for you.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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