Bechdel Films was created because of the limited roles women have in front of and behind the camera.  We chose the name Bechdel because of the ‘The Bechdel Test’ which was inspired by cartoonist Alison Bechdel‘s 1985 tongue-in-cheek comic strip ‘The Rule’ which became a basic measure to see if women are fairly represented in a film.

For a film to pass The Bechdel Test, the movie must simply have the following:

1: It must have at least two female characters
2: They must both have names
3: They must talk to each other about something other than a man

Simple, right? You’d think so…
Of the 25 top grossing movies of 2016, a measly half passed the test. Considering the ridiculously low bar in order for the film to pass – that’s pretty poor. Also, research conducted by The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film discovered that of the 4,370 speaking named characters from the top-grossing films in 2015, only 31.4% were women and 26.3% were underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.

The test is not a measure of how good or ‘feminist’ a film is but it does highlight just how male-dominated cinema really is. It’s a simple, albeit imperfect test, but as author Alison Bechdel herself says ‘it’s a bit of fun’. It gives us something to think and do something about.

We named ‘Bechdel Films’ after the ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ comic strip episode The Rule by Alison Bechdel, but not in collaboration with the artist herself. Alison Bechdel is not personally involved in this organisation in any way.