The Bechdel Test/Playing With

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Basic Trope: Two or more female characters in a given series or movie have at least one conversation that is not about men or anything really relating to men.

  • Played Straight: Alice and Betty discuss yesterday's math test.
  • Exaggerated: Despite being surrounded by men who impact every facet of their lives, including yesterday's math test, Alice and Betty never mention the existence of any male in dialogue.
  • Justified:
    • Alice and Betty have other topics to discuss, just as real women do.
    • Alice and Betty are in an Fundamentally Female Cast where males are rare, if not entirely nonexistent, or Alice and Betty spend the whole movie facing a predicament that requires their full and immediate attention; for them to discuss men would be absurd and counterproductive.
  • Inverted: Alex and Bob have a conversation not about women.
    • Alternately, every conversation Alice and Betty have is about men.
  • Subverted: Alice and Betty have a long, fruitful and insightful conversation about a friend of theirs, with no gender pronouns given, only for the last sentence to reveal that they are talking about Bob...
    • Double Subverted: ...and it turns out that "Bob" is actually Roberta and uses the masculine nickname.
  • Parodied: Every time Alice and Betty mention a guy, they have to wash their mouths out with soap.
    • In the middle of a scene revolving around a male character doing something major and attention-grabbing, Alice and Betty completely ignore him and talk about something inconsequential.
  • Deconstructed: Alice and Betty avoid discussing men, but it is revealed that they avoid the subject so completely because they both have some sort of psychological trauma related to men and that they cannot bear to relive it.
  • Reconstructed: They then deal with their trauma through regular therapy practices and discuss men in a rational proportion to the rest of their lives.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice and Betty's conversation keeps drifting to men, only for it to be revealed that they are not talking about men at all, except they are....
  • Averted: There are no women, there is only one woman, Alice and Betty never speak to one another, or Alice and Betty only discuss men.
  • Enforced: The writer wants to create women who are as multidimensional as their male counterparts and so gives them dialogue unrelated to any man or male character.
  • Lampshaded:"Rule Number One: Never discuss guys and romance, especially not in the same sentence."
  • Invoked: Alice and Betty have an important conversation because they refuse to be like the women on TV who only talk about men.
  • Defied: Alice and Betty talk about men because they refuse to be like the women on TV who believe talking about men is beneath them.
  • Discussed: "There's more to life than guys and romance, you know."
  • Conversed: "Is their refusal to talk about men supposed to be feminist? It seems odd when they have a mutual guy friend."
  • Played For Laughs: Alice and Betty's conversation involves a witty, funny anecdote or observation.
  • Played For Drama: Alice and Betty's conversation means a lot to the plot and/or delves into Contemplate Our Navels territory.

Go back to The Bechdel Test