The Bechdel test asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Several variants of the test have been proposed—for example, that the two women must be named characters, or that there must be at least a total of 60 seconds of conversation.
Originally conceived for evaluating films, the Bechdel test is now used as an indicator of gender-bias in all forms of fiction. Critics have noted that the test is most informative when applied in the aggregate, because individual works may pass or fail the test for reasons unrelated to sexism.
The test is named after the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel. In 1985, she had a character in a 1985 comic strip titled "The Rule", say that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements:
- It has to have at least two women in it,
- who talk to each other,
- about something besides a man.
|The Muppet Movie|| |
|The only named female characters in the film are Miss Piggy, Janice, and Camilla; they do not talk to each other on screen during the movie. Even the unnamed females (the El Sleezo patron, the 'Myth', Lew Lord's secretary and the Miss Bogen County Beauty Pageant contestants) don't interact with each other on screen. There is a brief exchange of words between Miss Piggy and Janice during the closing credits, although the dialog is obscured by music.|
|The Great Muppet Caper|| |
|There are several named female characters in the film — including Miss Piggy, Lady Holiday, Marla, Carla, Darla, Dorcas, and Janice. Lady Holiday and Miss Piggy converse and it isn't about a man at all, it's plot exposition (it had to go somewhere). Lady Holiday is also seen talking with Marla, Carla and Darla about their gowns (telling Carla she looks "like an ostrich," telling Marla that she has a "fantail pigeon look," and saying Darla's gown has folds like "a turkey's neck.")|
|The Muppets Take Manhattan|| |
|There film has several female characters — Miss Piggy, Jenny, Janice, Camilla, Jill, Eileen, Yolanda, and Beth. Jenny and Miss Piggy converse and Miss Piggy and Eileen also converse about matters other than just men (or frogs).|
|The Muppet Christmas Carol|| |
|Emily, Betina and Belinda talk to each other. The Cratchit women talk about Emily eating the chestnuts (to see if they were not burnt) and explaining which twin is which. Although the whole conversation is framed within a larger conversation the girls are having about when Bob and Tiny Tim will get home. Other female characters in the film include Belle, Clara, Ma Fozziwig and The Ghost of Christmas Past; however they do not interact with each other.|
|Muppet Treasure Island|| |
|The only named female characters in the film are Benjamina Gunn, Mrs. Bluveridge, and Big-Fat-Ugly-Bug-Face-Baby-Eating O'Brien; none of these characters interact with each other.|
|Muppets from Space|| |
|Miss Piggy and Shelley Snipes (the only female characters named on-screen) converse with each over who gets to report the big story and who gets coffee.|
|It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie|| |
|Miss Piggy and Rachel Bitterman converse (and fight) in the Muppet Theater. Also, in a gender-empowering move, the film depicts God as a woman.|
|The Muppets' Wizard of Oz|| |
|Dorothy Gale has non-man related conversations with fellow-females: Aunt Em, the Wicked Witch, Glinda and Tattypoo.|
|The Muppets|| |
|Miss Piggy and Miss Poogy (assuming Poogy is in fact a "sister") trade insults with each other before Piggy karate chops Poogy. Other named females featured in the movie include Mary, Veronica, Camilla and celebrity cameo actors Selena Gomez and Whoopi Goldberg; however none of these women talk with each other on screen.|
|Muppets Most Wanted|| |
|Miss Piggy, Nadya, Janice, Camilla, and named celebrity Salma Hayek all appear in the film, however the women do not converse. Miss Piggy does share a song and the screen with her unnamed "Fairy Godmother" (played by Céline Dion) however the song is about a man, or in this case, a male frog.|
Creature Shop Fantasy Films
|The Dark Crystal|| |
|Kira and Aughra (the only females in the film) do not meet.|
|Despite a strong female protagonist, the only other female characters besides Sarah, is her unnamed stepmother (who talks to her solely about babysitting her brother) and an unnamed junk lady whom Sarah has a brief and disengaged interaction with.|
Henson Family TV Productions
|Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas|| |
|Alice Otter has a brief conversation about laundry with Gretchen Fox and another brief conversation with Hetty Muskrat about using her sewing machine to prepare for the talent show. Other female characters in the special include Melissa Rabbit, Shirley Muskrat, Old Lady Possum and Mrs. Mink.|
|Fraggle Rock|| |
| Fraggle Rock features several strong female characters, including Red Fraggle, Mokey Fraggle, Cotterpin Doozer, Ma Gorg and Marjory the Trash Heap. These characters have leading roles and interact on a regular basis throughout the series. Some notable examples of episodes featuring strong female relationships or interactions include "I Want To Be You," "All Work and All Play," "Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief," and "Wonder Mountain."
There are some specific episodes that feature the female characters in lesser roles (or absent all together). As such, there are individual episodes that do fail the Bechdel test; however there are no episodes that fail a reverse Bechdel test (i.e. episodes lacking substantial interactions between two or more male characters). Despite this, overall as a series, the show passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.