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Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it. : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby DrG2 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:08 pm

For those of you who don't know, the Bechdel Test is basically: If you have two or more females talking to each other in your novel/story/graphic novel/movie, do they ever have a conversation that doesn't mention men?

I recently wrote a novel that is basically a romance (with a body count). Two women characters speak in several scenes - - it's often the sequel to scenes between the male and female MCs. Since it's a romance at heart, I believe they always mention men. One of the characters had just gotten married, and she is trying to get her friend to open up to a relationship. In that situation, I don't think it is unlikely that dialogues I put into the novel would at least mention men - - it is a romance, after all.

I could have them discuss the new job one of them got, but it's not really intrinsic to the plot. There would be some opportunity to reveal character, and the stress of the new job would relevant to the plot. If I did that, I'd probably add another "new job" scene, but I'd have to introduce new characters, which I kinda don't want to do.

But, really, I'd be adding it to pass the test.

What do you think?

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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby updog » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:15 pm

I wouldn't add things just to pass the test. Write the story as you see it, and if people don't like it, they don't have to read it.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby shadowwalker » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:19 pm

Exactly.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:17 pm

Primarily, they should discuss whatever the problem of the story is, even with a conversation that isn't directly about it.

TerryRodgers
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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby TerryRodgers » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:03 pm

Do you mean mention men as in a sexual way? My protagonist and antagonist are females. They mention the antagonist's uncle and brother in dialogue but nothing sexual.

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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby cynfranks » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:53 pm

Ask yourself, "What would Dickens do?"



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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby MookyMcD » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:31 am

It is a real thing, and you would think of it (when looking at how 50+ percent of the population is represented in literature and/or movies) to see whether that small majority of the population are even remotely represented as being something other than ancillary to or focused on men. It's not meant to be a writing tool, it's a spot check for gender bias. And, as I understand it, it's not that they can't mention a man, just that the conversation can't be about a man. In other words, is there any point in the book or movie where a man is not, directly or indirectly, center stage.

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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby TerryRodgers » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:29 am


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updog
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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby updog » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:07 am

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Passing the Bechdel Test for the sake of it.

Postby onceuponwednesday » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:24 pm

There's so many books out there with female MCs that are all about finding a man, where all the conversation revolves around which man to choose and how to get them.

Next time you watch a movie or read a book take note of how many of the male conversations revolve around a female and how many the female conversations revolve around a man. It's pretty baffling.
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