(reference for when i am trying to explain these to people and they are looking at me like “huh”):
- the Bechdel test: does the story have a) more than one women, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a man.
- the Ellen Willis test: if you flip the genders, does the story still make sense?
- the Sexy Lamp test (courtesy of Kelly Sue DeConnick): can you replace your female character with a sexy lamp and still have the story work? if yes, YOU ARE A HACK.
- the Mako Mori test: there is a) at least one female character, b) who gets her own narrative arc, c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
- the Tauriel test (which i made up in response to The Hobbit 2 [which passes] and Skyfall [which fails]): a) there is a woman, b) WHO IS GOOD AT HER JOB.
and in justification of my recent TV obsessions, i would like to note that Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy, and Nikita (ALL HAIL MAGGIE Q) pass all of these tests with flying colors.
UPDATE: i just discovered the Finkbeiner test and it is FANTASTIC.
A vital contribution to American Lettres.