Bechdel Test – fail

Over the weekend, I saw a reference to the Bechdel Test (one of many links:, which, for anyone unfamiliar, is a test of gender bias. Passing the test is supposed to indicated three-dimensional female characters.

The explanation goes like this, your movie (or novel) must have two named, female characters that have a conversation about something other than a man. It can be any subject, even something that is cliched, like shoes or shopping. If not, then you fail the test.

It was originally conceived for movies, but I decided to apply it to my first novel to see how it rated. It failed.

My novel has lots of named female characters, but without going back and rereading the whole thing, I can’t think of an instance where any two of them talk about a non-male-related subject. I could go back and insert a scene with such a conversation, but in a way it feels like cheating. Like I am putting it in just to pass the test.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

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