I’m immersed in another Netflix series Jane the Virgin. I just love feisty Jane and I’m impressed with how the writers for this ‘over the top’ very modern and funny soap opera hook your interest and leave you guessing at the end of every episode.
Jane the heroine is pursuing a graduate degree in writing. Her genre? Romance. This puts her in conflict with her staunchly feminist advisor. She tells Jane the chapters in her thesis novel must pass the Bechdel Test. They must have…….1) at least two women in them….. who 2) talk to each other…… about 3) something other than a man. It takes awhile for Jane to figure out how to do that, but since Jane is very much her own woman and has grown up in a household of women she has lots of personal experience to draw from. She gets it right and impresses her advisor.
Just after I saw the Netflix episode of Jane the Virgin about the Bechdel Test a Facebook friend posted a link to an article in The Atlantic. I just started an online subscription to the magazine so I’d missed the article which explains the origin of the Bechdel Test. A comic creator named Alison Bechdal mentioned the three criteria above in one of her comic strips and they became popular and branded with her name.
Modestly Bechdal gives credit to a friend who suggested the criteria to her and to writer Virginia Woolf who inspired them when she said, “the women of literature, contrary to the living, breathing, complex women of real life, are almost always depicted only “in their relation to men.”
I’m glad to know about the Bechdal test. In the future it will make me think about whether the things I write could pass it.