The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test for film and other media which names the following three criteria:
- It has to have at least two [named] women in it
- Who talk to each other
- About something besides a man.
The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel's comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called The Rule:
Two further two points should be noted:
- Passing or failing the test has no bearing at all on whether a film (or other media) is good.
- Passing the test does not necessarily make it more feminist, or otherwise, positive-for-women.
So what is it, then? A crude tool to start thinking about sexism in cinema. One film failing is not a problem. When all the films you know bar one or two fail, it suggests a bigger picture where, broadly, women have nothing to do. They’re either absent, or exist purely to support male protagonists. It implies their underdevelopment – they don’t have personalities, interests or roles in the plot outside of said male protagonists. - The Bechdel Test: What It Is, And Why It Matters
For more information about the Bechdel Test, see:
Even though Young Hercules is a show that primarily focuses on three male leads with few female characters, it still manages to pass the test every so often. Episodes that pass the Bechdel Test:
- Lilith and Cyane talk about why Lilith is at the academy and fitting in while throwing javelins.
- Lilith, Cyane, and Simula are seen talking as the camera pans around the bonfire - presumably they are talking about life as an Amazon or some other non-man related topic.
- At the end of the episode, Lilith asks to join Cyane's tribe.
Care to join me in my javelin drills?
Cyane: Sure. So... why do you train with boys?
Lilith: Well, I wanted to be a warrior. There was no academy for women, so I came here. It’s the best. I’m just having a little trouble fitting in.
An Amazon warrior takes pride in who she is, not how she fits in with others.
It's gonna be a long, hard journey.
Lilith: Hey, I would love to join in that journey... if you’ll have me.
Cyane: Well, of course you’re welcome.
- Eurydice and Cynthea talk about the fate of Cynthea's daughter, Sarah. Although the conversation briefly does touch on a man (Bacchus), it quickly goes back to comparing Sarah's fate to Eurydice's.
My baby's been sent to Tartarus because she was a Bacchae. Because of you
Eurydice: I'm sorry. None of us meant to help Bacchus hurt people. I was like Sarah. I thought Bacchus was an answer to all my problems.
Cynthea: If you were like Sarah, then why are you still here?! Why were you spared?!
Eurydice: I haven't been spared. I'm so sorry for the pain I've caused you. I don't know how to fix it.
Cynthea: You can't!
If I could trade places with your daughter, I would.
Hera: Well done, Nemesis. You have a talent for dealing with mortals who dare challenge the gods.
Nemesis: I have no choice but to fulfill my obligation.
Stregna. Nemesis has disobeyed my command. If you wish to become goddess of justice, you must prove your worth... by destroying her.
Stregna: I will not let you down, Hera.
Hera: Dip this arrow in the bowl of Hind's blood - the only thing that can kill a god. Careful - a scratch and you will be lost. Nemesis is clever. You will only have one chance.
I'll only need one.
- Kora and Cleo have several conversations that aren't about a man.
You know, running a restaurant's not so bad. It's kinda fun.
Kora: Yeah, well, there's more to it than joking around with the customers.
Cleo: Like what?
Kora: Like you let six people leave without giving them a check.
Cleo: Six people.
Kora: Okay, you just need to show a little more responsibility, that's all.
Cleo: Here we go again.
Kora: Okay, fine.
Cleo: You know what this place needs?
Kora: Oh, better service?
Cleo: Live entertainment! A band! You know, like a really good band! We can move these tables around so it's like a stage over here, and then if we bring over...
Kora: I've tried bands and it's not worth the effort.
Cleo: You'd like the idea if somebody else suggested it.
Kora: Tomorrow is market day. I've got to open up some supplies in the morning, so I'm going to open up late. If you really wanted to help me, you'd come with me.
Cleo: Hey, how about I open up for you?
Kora: Oh, I don't think so.
Come on, what's so hard? Don't you trust me?
Hey, what's you problem?
Kora: Well, everybody said to loosen up!
Well, cut it out! You're scaring the band! Kora, you're embarrassing yourself.
Whoa, that was a pretty weird scene out there.
Kora: Listen, Cleo. I don't see you for four years, and you come in here and you start running the place. Where were you when mom and dad and I needed your help?
Cleo: I wondered when this would start.
Kora: What are you talking about?
Cleo: It's the same old story. People like me better, and you hate it.
Kora: Oh, yeah, right.
Cleo: Well, get over it! Can I help it if I have a personality?
Kora: Boy, you haven't changed a bit. You're so competitive!
Me? Take a look at yourself in the mirror, honey!
Kora: Aw, you came for me. Thanks!
Cleo: Hey, what are sisters for?
Cleo: Kora! You can't risk the family inn! Not for me!
Kora: You're family, Cleo. You always will be!
Great Artemis - I call upon you to receive this gift. Your sacred bow, returned to you so that my life can be returned to me, as promised.
Artemis: You have served me well, huntress, your request is just. I offer a warning: to leave my service is not a casual request. Are you certian that you no longer need my help?
Kora: I am certian, Mistress.
Then, let it be so.
- Lilith and Alcmene manage to talk a few times without mentioning a man.
You must be Lilith.
Lilith: Hi. I hope I'm not intruding.
Not at all. The bigger the crowd, the better the feast.
Alcmene: Ah, Lilith, you can have Hercules's old room.
Lilith: Oh no, the barn's okay for me, too.
Alcmene: Would you mind very much giving me a hand in the kitchen?
Lilith: ...okay. Yeah, sure.
You know your way around a kitchen.
Alcmene: But you'd rather be out there.
Lilith: I was raised by my sister. I wanted to be a warrior! But she trained me up to be a good little wife. Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't-
Don't worry, dear. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to be a bit of both.
- Lilith and Princess Dido manage to exchange a few lines that aren't about Jason, King Cadmus, or Antos.
Lilith: I'm Lilith. Jason's wife.
I don't understand. Wait, I do
Lilith: It looks like I get to be queen for a day.
Princess Dido: May I help?
- The three sisters (Enyo, Deino, and Pemphredo) manage to exchange a few lines that aren't about a man.
I'll never see again! Or love again!
Enyo: You want some cheese to go with that whine? Put a cork in it, sister!
Deino: Oh, we can't see! How will we walk o-o-or find food?
Then let's take care of our problem!
Pemphredo: Come on, sis. Take me home.
Deino: Give me something to see!
- Lilith and Neina hold several conversations about what Lilith is doing with her life.
Well, there's a fine hello!
Lilith: Neina! Oh, you made it!
Neina: Barely. This place is a lot further than I thought. Little sister, what are you wearing? It's so... sporty.
Lilith: Do you like it?
Neina: And you used to be so pretty. Oh, well. Am I the first to arrive?
Lilith: Actually, you're the last, but that's okay! The most important thing is that you're--
Then what are we waiting for? Show me around! We don't have all day!
I am not leaving, Neina. I don't care if you are
my big sister!
Neina: Lilith, stop being so disagreeable.
Lilith: I never said I wanted to go home.
Neina: So you wanted me to come here just to upset me?
Lilith: Neina. I love you. I invited you here because I-I wanted you to see how happy I am.
Neina: But what about me? Without your help I can barely run the farm!
Lilith: We can hire some help.
Neina: It's not the same. I need you. Your family needs you. It's what Mom and Dad would have wanted.
Lilith: But I--
Enough selfishness. Let's go home.
Lilith: Interesting couple of characters. You okay, Neina?
Neina: I think so! Thanks to you!
So, have you changed you mind about the Academy?
Neina: No. But I've changed my mind about you. This is where you belong. Mom and Dad would have been proud.
Oh! Thanks, Neina!