Fewer Films Passed the Bechdel Test in 2014

Get it together, Hollywood.

Paging Geena Davis: Hollywood is still pretty bad at giving women roles that don’t degrade and marginalize them! According to data publishing site Silk, which analyzed information from IMDB and a USC Annenberg report, fewer movies passed the Bechdel test in 2014 than in previous years. Only 55.4 percent of films released in 2014 passed the test—a notable drop from 2013, when 67.5 percent of all films made good on the test.

Silk organized the data it collected in a series of interactive graphs that allow users to filter out films based on genre, directors, main actors, and other categories. This allows us to see that crimes films in 2014, for example, did worse than films overall, with a pass score of 36.8 percent. On the other hand, films under the “family” genre passed at 85.7 percent and romance films, surprisingly, passed with a score of 81.3 percent.

The Bechdel test, created by badass cartoonist-cum-Genius Grant winner Alison Bechdel, tests films on a criteria of three questions: 1) does the film feature women? 2) Do those women talk to each other? 3) do they talk to each other about something other than men?

It’s not a perfect test—which makes sense, since Bechdel concieved the test in her much-loved comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, and did not expect it to take off the way it did. Still, it provides a rudimentary method of appraisal for Hollywood and the types of roles it offers to women. It’s not a hard test to pass, and yet so many filmmakers fail to do so on a pretty consistent basis.


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