Opinion | Sexuality

The Friendless, Voiceless Disney Princess

Most 'family-friendly' movies lack substantive female characters and friendships, according to the Bechdel Test. Then again, so do most movies.

Take a moment to think of the last movie you saw. Did it have:

  1. Two women with names
  2. who had a conversation
  3. about something other than a man?

If so, it passes the three-point Bechdel Test, named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who featured the concept in her cartoon strip in the 1980s (she says a friend came up with the idea).

I shared this video with my coworker and film critic for Christianity Today, Jeff Overstreet, and he noticed that many of the movies that don't pass muster are kids' movies. Of the top-grossing family movies in 2010, Alice in Wonderland and Despicable Me pass; Toy Story 3, Twilight: Eclipse, and Karate Kid squeak by; and How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Iron Man 2, and The Last Airbender flat-out flunk, according to this user-generated list.

Of the feature films put out by Pixar (arguably the high cultural watermark of family films) only three out of ten—The Incredibles, A Bug's Life, and (barely) Toy Story 3—pass.

The Bechdel Test can't tell you ...

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