The ‘DuVernay Test’ Is Like the Bechdel Test, But for Race

The term was coined after the premiere of The Birth of a Nation at the Sundance Film Festival.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Joining the Bechdel test as a measure for representation onscreen is the DuVernay test, named after Ava DuVernay, director of the critically acclaimed 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma.

Newly coined by New York Times writer Manohla Dargis, the DuVernay test measures whether a film portrays “fully realized” African-Americans and other minorities who have their own plotlines, motivations, desires, and actions that are not informed by white characters. Dargis points to The Birth of a Nation, a film about slave rebellion leader Nat Turner’s life that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, as an example.

The DuVernay test arrives in coincidence with growing national debate on the film industry’s treatment and inclusion of people of color, especially in light of the #OscarsSoWhite criticism of the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards. But it’s no surprise why Dargis chose DuVernay as the inspiration for the test; DuVernay is one of Hollywood’s leading black directors, and she has openly criticized the term “diversity” as a simple check in a box for some filmmakers.

“I feel it’s a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue,” DuVernay told The New York Times. Rather than calling the lack of representation an issue of diversity, she called it a “belonging problem” that further excludes and disenfranchises already marginalized communities.

DuVernay was excitedly surprised by the test, sharing her reaction on Twitter.

The Bechdel test, which was conceived by comic artist Alison Bechdel, is a similar measurement of character actualization, but for women. If a film depicts two women having a conversation that is not about a man, even once, then it passes. It seems like a no-brainer, but a surprisingly large number of films—especially those produced by major studios—fail.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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