Swedish Movie Theaters To Display Films’ Gender Equality Rating


This is probably more helpful than the current MPAA rating system in use here. Via the Washington Post:

Four Swedish movie theaters touched off a heated debate across Stockholm last month — and in the English-language media this morning — with the announcement that they plan to begin publicly labeling films that pass the so-called “Bechdel test.” The metric gauges whether a film meets a bare minimum standard for developed female characters.

Promoters are encouraging theaters to stamp its “A” logo on the movie posters and pre-roll screens of any film that (1) has at least two female characters who (2) talk to each other (3) about something other than men. A surprisingly high proportion of films fail this test.

In the weeks since, it has been covered in a dozen newspaper columns and earning the endorsements of Equalisters, Women in Television and Film and a popular cable movie channel and, controversially, the blessing of Anna Serner, who presides over Sweden’s state-funded film institute.

  • howiebledsoe

    Heated debate? Why? This won’t put a dent in films like “Die Hard 15” or anything, but people with young girls (and boys for that matter) will be more than happy to know these things.

    • oneironauticus

      Or, you know, people who are women.

      • Calypso_1

        Such audacity! You just keep charging in headfirst. ; )

  • erte4wt4etrg

    That is RETARDED

    • bobbiethejean

      Maybe to you if you don’t give a shit about gender equality or the struggle of women to be seen as more than sex objects.

      • erte4wt4etrg

        not gonna be won this way i know that much

        • Calypso_1

          It’s about winning?

  • Jin The Ninja

    the bechdel test is almost apolitical in its simplicity. it harbors no aspirations or pretenses for an engaged discussion of women in film and society.

    it is very simply a measure of whether good, nuanced writing is applied to on-screen female characters. that so many films fail the test is highly telling and problematic.

    • Calypso_1

      your outlook & elocution have been sorely missed as of late

      • Jin The Ninja

        much obliged!;)

        reading certain recent posts / discussions caused one to feel demoralised and antagonised. did not wish to enter previously disputed territory.

    • thereckoning

      The bechdel test just advocates adding a scene with 2 women discussing something unrelated to men, regardless of whether such a scene is relevant to the story or not.
      I’m not sure why so many films failing this test is ‘highly telling and problematic’. I guess if I write a story about my brother and I getting lost in the desert I’m contributing to the ‘problem’ because there aren’t any female characters? I’ll add an irrelevant scene with 2 women talking about a random subject just so I can pass the test, that should solve the ‘problem’ right?

      • Jin The Ninja

        you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the bechdel test. it doesn’t in fact “advocate” anything (which was the point of my original statement), it is a question NOT a suggestion.

        it is problematic when cinema relies on stock stereotypes and recycled plotlines in an attempt to cultivate the same audience demographic of the last 60 years and actively denigrate and disenfranchise narratives of the ‘other’- be they women, the poor,
        non-heteronormative people, people of colour, or non-western/non-anglophone peoples. representation is an active and ongoing issue within cinema. by controlling narratives, they can control perceptions of history, culture and the relationships between people.

        cinema is mass-culture, it should not be colonised and dominated. we must ask ourselves, not only why so few films pass the test, but why so few women work in hollywood? why MOST genre films aimed at the female audience fail the test? and why are women so infrequently represented as being capable of existing nay, even not discussing men between themselves? is it because stories MUST be dominated and controlled in some way? and lastly why NOT a sister and her brother, rather than two brothers?

        to quote the late howard zinn:

        “The people who dominate today’s big media networks, who publish school textbooks, who decide upon the dominant ideas in our culture, are mostly rich, white men. Not surprisingly, they ask that history concentrate on those who are rich and white and male. That is why the point of view of black people has not been a very important one in the telling of our history; same with women’s perspectives, or those of working people. Most of what we get from mainstream media and from standard history books is ideological—biased not in favor of the people, but towards the commercial and political interests of the men and corporations at the top.”

        • thereckoning

          If you’re claiming there is a ‘problem’ then you are advocating something since calling it a problem implies you want to fix it. If the bechdel test is the way you identify this ‘problem’ then it is indeed advocating something itself.

          My point is that there’s no correlation between the problems you are identifying and the test itself. You don’t get to state ‘it is problematic when cinema relies on stock stereotypes and recycled plotlines‘ and then encourage enforcing limits on plotlines (requiring writers to find a way to include a scene with 2 women having a conversation) as this would be counter-productive. Many movies only contain 2 main characters, for example the only ways to make the movie Gravity pass the bechdel test would be to replace George Clooney with a women or to include some kind of flashback with Sandra Bullock talking to another woman on earth (which would be fairly irrelevant to the story). Even movies that empower female characters can fail the test (the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for example). The main character is a genius hacker but the fact that she’s also an introvert (which adds to her character in the story) ultimately means the movie fails the test because she fails to talk to another woman.
          Also there are movies that objectify women (including some porn movies) that pass the test. Whether the movie fails the test or not tells you nothing about the quality of the characters or the story itself. It tells you nothing about the attitudes the writer/director/producer has towards women. What I’m saying is, it’s entirely irrelevant.

  • Rhoid Rager

    Recommended additional rating strata: (4) do not wear tight or revealing clothing and (5) do not show weakness to adversity.

  • Eric_D_Read

    Who the hell still goes to movie theaters?

  • Allie Kiteley

    The point of the test is not necessarily to prove whether a film is “woman friendly” or not. Rather, its existence, and the fact that so many films fail it, work as a commentary on the portrayal of women in films, the number of significant female characters in films, and the fact that just about all female characters’ stories revolve around men. Sure, the fact that a scene where two women discuss doing laundry is not particularly empowering, but the fact that many movies do not even have something as trivial as that is very telling (especially when you look at some of the random shit male pairs, or mixed sex pairs discuss in movies, like the hamburger discussion in Pulp Fiction).