In 1985 the Bechdel Test was coined by Alison Bechdel to determine whether or not a movie fairly represented women. The test consists of three rules: it has to have at least two women in it, they have to talk to each other, and they have to discuss something besides a man. These rules may seem simple and straightforward but the test is harder than you think and many movies don’t make the cut. Men dominate the movie industry and women are often cast as characters that have the sole purpose of character development for the male protagonist. The depiction of women in film is detrimental to the impressionable female youth and warps the way men perceive women. Now without further ado from one woman to another, here are the best movies that do in fact pass the Bechdel test:
1. Legally Blonde:
This film single handedly proves women can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods on her journey to Harvard Law school where she proves herself and her peers wrong. Elle Woods challenged the stereotypes others placed upon her and she remained true to herself which is empowering to see as a woman and in our misogynistic society. This movie was years ahead of its time and is still relevant today. The film is inspiring and captures the meaning of friendship and being a woman.
2. Hidden Figures:
This film tells the untold story of three powerful African American women who worked for NASA as mathematicians and were vital to the space race. Throughout the film the three women Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn endure both racism and sexism. All three of them prove the resilience that women possess and empower each other, proving that this film is monumental for women everywhere.
3. Girl, interrupted:
This psychological drama with an all star cast may seem like an obscure choice as this film follows the story of a woman in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. However it is important as all of the characters in the film represent the harsh reality of mental health in our society and the diversity within it. The film is emotionally evoking and captivating altogether.
4. Black Swan:
The film follows the story of Nina, an acclaimed ballerina for the New York City Ballet through the production of the ballet, Swan Lake. This psychological horror thriller that captures the duality of women. Nina is pressured to not only be a graceful and fragile white swan but also a mysterious and sensual dark swan which represents the pressure placed on women from the male gaze. The pressures placed on Nina by her mother and the ballet’s director cause her to reel into madness and learn about herself from a new perspective. There is never a dull moment in this film and the overarching themes provide a deeper level of meaning to the movie as a whole.
5. Wonder Woman (2017):
After years of seeing male superheroes finally women were granted a female figure to emulate. Wonder woman is an empowering film that portrays how women can defy odds and save the world. Diana, princess of the Amazons, was trained to be a warrior and throughout the film we see her prove to herself just how powerful she is. She fights alongside men in a war to end all wars and proves to herself that she is capable of anything which is refreshing to see in a male dominated movie industry.
6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:
This movie is filled with nostalgia and is the perfect film to watch with your best friends, it follows the story of a group of friends who purchase a mysterious pair of pants that fit all of them despite their difference in sizes. The four best friends are about to spend their first summer apart and share the pants throughout the movie which keeps them connected and demonstrates the powerful bond that women have. The four girls each follow their own story and ultimately end up having a stronger relationship with each other than before.
7. Steel Magnolias (1989):
This movie is a generational classic that resonates with all women regardless of age. The film follows a group of best friends as they cope together through the death of one of their own. The resilience and support of women is clear throughout the film and shows the empathy women possess making it a film for the ages and why it is able to touch so many women in a personal way.
This comedic masterpiece follows the story of an out-of-work pastry chef when she finds out she is the maid of honor for her best friend's wedding. Although her life is falling apart at the seams she tries her best to be everything and more for her best friend even when going head to head with another bridesmaid. Although the movie will make you laugh until your ribs are sore it reminds us how important it is to be there for our friends and navigate the dynamics of women.
9. The Devil Wears Prada:
Andy lands a job as a personal assistant to Miranda Priestly at a high end fashion magazine. This job is supposed to be Andy’s big break yet others around her attempt to tear her down which is why the film is so empowering for women everywhere. Andy is an ambitious woman who is determined to be recognized but she learns she has to seek validation solely from herself. This film is culturally important as well as a monument for women. In society women are patronized for being ambitious but this film steers away from that and commends Andy for learning to want things for herself and being secure in herself and proud of her accomplishments.
10. 13 Going on 30:
“Thirty flirty and thriving” optimizes this fun film that has simply some of the most iconic costumes. Jenna, along with everyone in society, is sick of the social hierarchy of middle school and wishes to grow up. Growing up is something that every girl wants when they’re younger because they crave independence yet fear the external pressures that come with being a woman.