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IIllustration by Rachael Dottle

If you are alive and have ever engaged in any form of social contact, you have likely come across a woman in conversation with another woman, on a topic that's not related to men. Who knows—it could even be that you yourself are one of these accomplished women, and have experienced just such an interaction. Sadly, though, Hollywood hasn't caught up with you yet. The perception of female characters as fleshy frosting on the top of every movie cake has endured into the 21st century. To remedy this, Alison Bechdel, writer and recent recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's "Genius Grant," created the Bechdel test back in 1985 to be the low-water mark for movies.

In order to pass the Bechdel test, a movie must have two or more female characters who engage in a conversation in at least one scene, on a topic unrelated to a male character. For your dejection, here are four famous movies that bomb the Bechdel spectacularly.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
While not a bad moment in terms of a show of female strength in a high-grossing movie, Molly Weasley's fiery dialogue at the end of the film—"Not my daughter, you bitch!"—can't count as a conversation to pass the Bechdel test, as she never gives Bellatrix Lestrange a chance to reply. Geek details aside, this movie does boast some of the most well-developed female characters ever to grace the big screen, with Hermione, Luna, and to a lesser extent Ginny all doing the gender justice. It's just a shame that the women in this final movie only seem to get together to shoot the breeze about how worried they are about the men in their lives, rather than, you know, the impending dark wizard doom scenario that's been hanging over their heads for a decade.

"The Wolf of Wall Street"
So on the whole, women werenít invited to the decade-long party on Wall Street in the 1990s, during which alpha protagonist Jordan Belfort defrauds the country of its hard-earned cash via a huge-scale stocks scam.

But one might hope that, in between the aggressive porn-inspired sex scenes, bikini-parading, and general degradation of female bodies, two of the handful of women in the film could have turned to one another and let the audience know that, at least internally, they were having thoughts about the whole sorry situationólike humans do.

"Star Wars": The Original Trilogy
This old gem dates back to the era before the likes of "The Hunger Games" and "Game of Thrones" proved that female protagonists would not in fact cause sci-fi fans to turn off their screens and hide under their beds, quaking from the flashbacks of when Cindy rejected their invitations to prom. Still, the fact that the only three female characters, Aunt Beru, Princess Leia, and Mon Mothma, do not say a word to each other over the course of three entire movies cannot be excused just 'cause the '80s. Either the three secretly hate each other's guts, or they just don't have the cognitive capacity to make communication worthwhile without a man's help.

"Avatar"
History's highest-grossing movie of all time has a fair few female characters, but they aren't so talkative—to each other, at least. Apparently, even alien women have an aversion to girl talk, unless it's to ask your mother for her opinion on that teeny tiny human guy you're dating. Deniers of this particular Bechdel failure want to count the goddess Eywa as a woman, by which measure the film would just pass. You're grasping at straws, people, and it's a little sad.

katie.mcmahon@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

Bechdel Test Women in Film sexism
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