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Feminists Rejoice as New 'Star Wars' Film Passes Bechdel Test

Image: Feminists Rejoice as New 'Star Wars' Film Passes Bechdel Test
Cast of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 07:29 PM

Feminist-minded filmgoers throughout the galaxy are celebrating the girl power on display in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," noting that the new film has passed a key test with flying colors.

The Bechdel Test has been promoted by feminists and other progressives as a way to ensure what they consider to be the proper presentation of females in motion pictures. As the blogger "Rosie Says" explains, the test was first devised by Alison Bechdel, who wrote a comic strip called "Dykes to Watch Out For" from 1983-2008.

In a 1985 strip, "a character created a 'rule' to gauge gender bias in movies. The rule has three parts:
  1. There have to be two female characters with names
  2. They have to talk to each other…
  3. About something other than a man."
Once a fringe feminist barometer, the test is now openly referred to in the mainstream press. And, according to several recent accounts, "The Force Awakens" nails all three parts.

Christopher Hooten, writing in the British newspaper the Independent, raves that the new 'Star Wars' film "easily passes the test… and [director J.J.] Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have clearly been very careful to do so."

The two main characters in the film are a young female and a young male, with Daisy Ridley portraying the heroine Rey and John Boyega the masculine Finn.

"[I]n pretty much every sticky situation the pair find themselves in, it is Rey who comes to Finn's aid," Hooten writes. "Her character isn't sexualised, she is strong, independent and adept at technology and flying ships."

"The film plays for laughs a moment in which Finn rushes to her aid only to realise she can fight off male attackers herself and is probably more dangerous than him, and another where he grabs her hand to help her flee and she quickly snaps at him."

Los Angeles Times film writer Rebecca Keegan took to twitter to report the "wonderful" news on "The Force Awakens":


Acknowledging some negative feedback from that post, she doubled down, harshly tweeting:


Perhaps unsurprisingly, she gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the film itself:


Eliana Dockterman, writing for Time, reported that "[a]udience members who watched the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monday night in Hollywood happily tweeted that the film passed the Bechdel Test, a basic measure of how women are portrayed in a film."

An actress in the film itself expressed joy at her gender-neutral character.

Gwendoline Christie plays "chrome-polished Stormtrooper baddie Captain Phasma" in the film, Vulture.com reports.

Her heavily-armored character "is bereft of most markers of gender, aside from the clipped orders that Christie sternly issues from inside her helmet."

"That's what I found interesting about the costume," Christie told Vulture writer Kyle Buchanan. "It's armor, and it's entirely functional, and it isn't sexualized in any way. I remember when I first saw it, I said, 'Wow' — not just because it looks incredible, although come on — but because I thought, This is new."

"I mean, in my own small bubble, this represents the way I think and the way I see things, but it's not always the way of the world. So for that evolved thinking to be in a Star Wars movie, I think people love that! People have responded so well to that."

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Feminist-minded filmgoers throughout the galaxy are celebrating the girl power on display in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," noting that the new film has passed a key test with flying colors.
feminists, rejoice, star wars, movie, pass, bechdel test
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2015-29-18
Friday, 18 Dec 2015 07:29 PM
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