Bechdel test: How effective is it?
When we watched the Feminist Frequency over the old and updated versions with the Bechdel Test, I was surprised. I was really surprised about how much is surrounded around dominance of male characters in the movies. After a while though I became confused. While I understand the criteria: Two women who have names and talk about something other than a man, I got to thinking about some of the underlying themes. Considering I have not watched these movies in a while, I will not classify them by if they pass or do not pass this test but will go into detail about what the issue is that resides with these conversations.
One of my favorite book series happens to be Harry Potter. I grew up with it, am obsessed with themes that dominate the series and would love to visit Harry Potter world especially since they are now building a Diagon Alley to accompany the theme park. When watching these movies, however, I question if they would pass this test since the movies focus so much on a male's fight against another male. While I can think about some examples that might allow some movies to pass, like Molly Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange's duel in the final film, I know quite a bit of conversations revolved around Harry's fight and the workings of Voldemort. Even with the central theme gravitating around Harry, many female characters have empowered women.
Hermione Granger has been considered one of the top characters to make females feel more empowered rather than just a ditzy, Barbie doll perception of a woman. As J.K. Rowling has pointed out, she wanted her to fight because women are capable of doing so and shouldn't be put on the sidelines. I think that even if some or all of these movies did not pass this test I think that it is important to remember that women can still make apparent real issues and problems that need to be addressed that affect women.
Again this happens with some of the motherly characters as well. Molly Weasley, Tonks, and Narcissa Malfoy all address crucial stereotypes of women in this series. They show that they can be empowered despite the fact that they might focus on a man too much. They play a vital role in making sure that people can be empowered and can be smarter and more crucial than a man at times. It is because of Narcissa that Harry is able to live and she can move the piece that leads to Voldemort's downfall. Tonks fights in the war in a position that would normally seen as a male position. However in Tonks' case I will agree that she is in more of a clown position that we discussed in terms of how women are perceived. Molly, while being undervalued at times by the strength that she has in the family, shows that a home-maker can be influential. She can make a difference for people by doing what she knows in the home, but she is still able to be satisfied with it.
Again, while I am unsure of if this series actually passes the test, I still think that the female character's play a vital role in the under laying morals of the movies. I think that for me, they are even more important than the relevance of femininity in the movies. And on an end note, if Emma Watson wasn't one-take-Watson while Daniel Radcliffe was do-it-again-Dan and Rupert Grint was redo-Rupert, how much longer would it have taken to do these movies?