Skepchick Quickies 11.8


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Amanda

    I’m kind of surprised movie theaters are going to be rating movies on weather or not they pass the Bechdel test. Make no mistake, I’m not upset, I’m just surprised to hear about this, given the fact that these are companies whose focus is profit, not social justice or feminism.

    I wonder if it will have a significant effect on the movies that get made Sweden. Probably won’t have much effect on Movies in the United States through.

    1. Maybe the intention is actually profit. Most blockbusters don’t pass the Bechdel test, and it is unlikely not passing will discourage viewers. But passing the test may encourage viewers for movies that are not going to be as successful.

      1. That’s a good point. If I saw that a smaller movie passed the Bechdel rating, it’d interest me to find out more about it and would make me want to see it more.

  2. I’m not sure how I feel about the Bechdel test being used in movie ratings. I love the Bechdel test, just not in looking at individual films. If a film passes, or doesn’t past the Bechdel test doesn’t really tell all that much. It’s pretty easy to think of films that treat women horribly that pass, and at least relatively feminist films that fail. The power of the Bechdel test is in exposing a widescale trend. If you tell me a specific film doesn’t pass, I can shrug that off. It doesn’t really indicate a widescale problem, or even necessarily a problem with the film itself. If you tell me the percentage of films released this year that failed vs passed, then obviously something is wrong.

    I don’t mind rating individual films on gender bias either. I just don’t think the Bechdel test is the way to go. I can see why they wanted to use it. It’s fairly well known, and it allows for an objective rating, more or less. But I’d much prefer a more informative system for individual films.

  3. The Swedish cinemas’ hearts are in the right place but these misguided regulations supported by the state are damaging for social justice films such as “Cry Freedom” and “Schindler’s List” to name a few. Both of those films deal with racism and genocide but fail the Bechdel test.

    Also does a movie like “Silence of the Lambs” pass the Bechdel test? Nope. Jodie Foster’s character is feminist and certainly reflects women as intellectuals. But the movie does not have “two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man”.

  4. Any one he used to watch the History Channel back when they showed history programs (admittedly, mostly about World War II) knows the British scientists behind there various secret weapons projects were always called “boffins”.

    Like all “scientists baffled” headlines, it is really more a case of the reporter (or headline writer) being baffled. The give-away is the name of the object, P/2013 P5, which is the name of a comet, not an asteroid. But it really is an asteroid! The tails aren’t caused by the Sun’s energy evaporating volatile substances (usually mostly water and CO2), sometimes carrying dust particles with it (which is how comet tails form), but instead are streams of dust and small rocks hurled off the asteroid because it is spinning so fast. The high spin rate has to be a very recent phenomenon or else it would have completely disintegrated billions of years ago. The mechanism for speeding it up, the YORP effect, is very interesting, but not baffling. See the link to Phil Plait’s article for a much more detailed explanation.

  5. I found this comment interesting regarding the Bechdel test:

    So whats is going on, are we being influenced by culture at a very early age or is it something more basic like an instinct? (or both).

  6. the missing text: When I was a teacher I noticed that short stories, novels, poems etc were not of much interest to the majority of male students if the central characters, or any characters of significance for that matter , were female. On the other hand, female students were able to be equally engaged regardless of the gender of the main characters. Why this is was not easily discernable. I suspected that it had to do with the relationship each of us has to power, even in fictional situations, and readers simply have more fascination with characters they assume will be able to affect change or be the ‘heros’ in the final outcome. This makes for a dilemma. Writers write to be read. Publishers publish to make sales. Readers read what is in their domain. Books with male protagonists seem to be the norm, and therefore confirm the belief that males have more power than females.

    not sure why it did not post

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