Tag Archives: the bechdel test

5 Things To Know About Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, Winner Of A MacArthur “Genius” Grant

Alison Bechdel

There are plenty of people in the world who get nice things that they don’t (IMHO) deserve. So it’s especially nice when someone completely and utterly deserving is recognized for their greatness. I felt all the warm and fuzzies this morning when I heard on the news that the cartoonist and graphic novelist Alison Bechdel is a 2014 recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” one of the world’s most prestigious prizes. Bechdel draws the popular LGBTQ comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For and is the author/illustrator of the memoirs Are You My Mother? and Fun Home, the latter of which is one of the most esteemed books in the graphic novel genre (and a favorite of mine).

As a winner of the “Genius Grant,” which is awarded to between 20 and 40 individuals who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work,” Bechdel will receive upwards of $625,000 paid out over five years. The intention is for winners to use the prize money to continue doing their good work. Past winners have included people like “The Wire” creator David Simon, authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adihie, Junot Diaz and Edwidge Dandicat, and critic Susan Sontag.

After the jump, here are five things to know about Alison Bechdel, her cartoons and her important mark on pop culture! Keep reading »

The Soapbox: “Dr. Who” Has A Lady Problem

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This man proposed with a ring box shaped like a TARDIS. Read More »
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To say that I am a fan of the British sci-fi show “Doctor Who” would be and understatement.  Not only do I have “DW” viewing parties at my apartment, I own a sonic screwdriver, I’ve eaten fish fingers and custard (a “DW” inside joke), I waited for hours to get a glimpse of the show’s stars when they shot an episode in New York, and I even traveled to London to go to the “Doctor Who Experience.”  Despite some missteps (cough, “Daleks in Manhattan,” cough), “Doctor” Who won my heart(s) long ago, and I keep coming back for more adventures in that blue box.

But then I saw the promo art for season seven in which the titular character of the show, the Doctor, looks darkly determined while carrying his unconscious companion Amy in his arms. (“DW” has always referred to the people who travel with the Doctor as “companions.”)  If my life were a preview for a romantic comedy, this would have been the moment you heard the sound effect of a record scratching to a stop.  What the what?!  Is “DW” really going there? Portraying Amy as merely a victim for the Doctor to save?

It gave me pause, and it made me think about the way the show has portrayed (or betrayed) its female characters in the past. Keep reading »

So Lame: Very Few 2012 Oscar Nominees Pass “The Bechdel Test”

What's The Bechdel Test?
The Bechdel Test photo
It's a test to see whether women are substantively represented in film. Read More »
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The Bechdel Test photo
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Back in 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel drew a “Dykes To Watch Out For” cartoon describing the three rules that govern whether or not she will see a movie, which she called “The Bechdel Test“:

  1. It has to have two women in it who have names,
  2. Who talk to each other,
  3. About something besides a man.

Bechdel’s point was that the majority of mainstream films relegate women to the role of “girlfriend,” “wife” or “princess in a tower who needs to be saved by a knight in shining arming” and this is problematic for women’s substantive representation in film. Unfortunately, 25 years later, a lot of movies still don’t pass the Bechdel test, including 2012 Oscar nominees. Keep reading »

What’s “The Bechdel Test” And Will Your Next Blockbuster Rental Pass It?

Back in 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel drew a “Dykes To Watch Out For” cartoon describing the three rules that govern whether or not she will see a movie:

  1. It has to have two women in it,
  2. Who talk to each other,
  3. About something besides a man.

Keep reading »

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