A funny thing happened last week. The internet got into a minor scuffle about whether Fire Island, a film about gay men, was sexist because it failed the Bechdel Test, by not having substantive roles for women… because it was a movie about gay men. For those who haven’t seen the film… which frankly, is most people. This is true. The movie does indeed pass the Bechdel Test. Because again… it is a rom com about gay men. It almost seems as though this were a joke. Except it wasn’t. Some people were honestly upset by this. Why attack Fire Island — a tiny little queer indie film airing on Hulu — about being sexist in a week when the US domestic box office is being headed by Jurassic World: Dominion, Top Gun: Maverick, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Well, all of those movies technically pass the Bechdel Test and again… Fire Island doesn’t. But if you’re really trying to measure gender diversity in film making and you seriously think Top Gun: Maverick beats Fire Island… then what are we even doing here? Well, that’s what we want to talk about.
On this week’s show, Monica, Wayne, and Mav are joined by returning guest Stephanie Siler to talk about the Bechdel Test, its origins, its usefulness, its failings and its analogues in actual pop culture studies. Listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Citations and Links:
- This episode’s Call for Comments
- The original Bechdel Test appearance in Dykes to Watch Out For
- “Alison Bechdel Has Amended the Bechdel Test Just for Fire Island” by Chris Murphy
- “‘Fire Island’ and the Bechdel Test: Turning the Debacle Into a Learning Opportunity” by Rebecca Sun
- “The Next Bechdel Test” by FiveThirtyEight staff
- “The Oscars’ new rules for Best Picture nominees, explained” by Alissa Wilkinson
- Thank you to Maximilian’s thoughtForm Music for our theme
- Follow Mav on Twitter: @chrismaverick
- Follow Monica on Instagram: @monicamarvelous
- Follow Wayne on Instagram: @tetroc2017
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