Writers Anonymous
Writers, come in. Talk about your stories, problems, any advice you need, critique, etc. You don't have to be good, you just need to want to write! Fanfic or original fic writers, all are welcome. Read the rules before posting or risk Rhea's displeasure.
New Follow Forum Follow Topic
« Prev Page 1 .. 3 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 23 .. Last Next »
Hippothestrowl

I decided to reverse the test so its for two men having a conversation but not about a woman.

Of my ten stories, Only two of my stories definitely pass the test and three grey ones that probably do though one of the men is an elf and another is a magical training dummy, ie not a real person at all - oh yeah and virtually all of mine are really kids anyway so do they count?

Also talking to a snake in parseltongue probably doesn't count and also if you go back in time and talk to yourself that counts as one person and what about magical portraits and owls and ghosts and werewolves or portraits of werewolves and portraits of ghost werewolves and owled message exchanges to persons of indeterminate sex which are hijacked and read by unidentified Death Eaters so the original recipients never actually receive them? ;)

5/8/2012 #361
Corinne Tate

I write romances, and still only about half of mine pass. Too few characters, and male POV are to blame for "failures."

And Hippo, you're right to be irritated that your work was denied based on some blanket rule about interviews. Some people get so caught up in tests, and rules that they forget a good writer can pull it off. I wrote a one shot that was basically a question and answer session between a doctor and his patient. It worked as a one shot, and it could have worked as a longer story if I wanted to do it that way.

5/8/2012 #362
The Lauderdale

I actually think that one of the most interesting things about the Bechdel Test is the reaction people have to it. They spend so much time bristling at it and making assumptions about what it is trying to measure. The TVtropes page (and most discussions of the Bechdel Test) actually does a pretty good job of breaking down what it is and isn't: ie. not "a scorecard of a work's overall level of feminism," or a reason to turn your brain off and ignore all other factors.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/TheBechdelTest?from=Main.TheBechdelTest

As I mentioned earlier, it really only becomes interesting when applied to a larger body of work. Also when one starts applying reverse-Bechdels, as Hippothestrowl did. In Hippothestrowl's case, 2 out of 10 stories passed - so more of her stories passed the Bechdel Test than the reverse-Bechdel Test. In my case, 9 out of 14 stories passed - so more of my stories passed the reverse-Bechdel.

5/8/2012 #363
Hippothestrowl

It's fascinating to me not as a test but how we might misperceive things in our experience. I suspect from my own little experiment and others here that if you apply the test to measure feminism or masculinism you'll probably find roughly one third each fall into the categories of feminism/masculinism/neither. (put badly but hope you know what I mean.) So it's not measuring feminism at all but something else; I'm not sure what. Put another way, if you measure the percentage of stories that pass the 'feminism' test and those that pass the 'masculinism' test and those that pass neither - they will all be roughly equal. I can't even figure out yet what the significance of that is but it probably means we are all fairly balanced (if the test means anything at all.)

5/8/2012 #364
The Lauderdale

I don't know what the feminism test or the masculinism test is - or rather, I suspect there are a lot of different tests that people could come up with, but since none are specifically mentioned, it's hard to determine one way or another. ;)

But for the Bechdel Test and the reverse-Bechdel Test, which only have three criteria each*, I actually doubt the results would be equal. I think, the more you read and view, the wider the divergence will be - but the only way to find out, or begin to find out, is to develop a broad-based knowledge of film and television and literature and fanficcery. My guess is there are trends - the tvtropes article points out that more TV shows are likely to pass the Bechdel Test than movies do, and I suspect that more books will pass it than TV shows. Applying it to fanfiction? I can hazard some guesses, but there's no way to know without doing, and it would doubtless vary with different fandoms.

_____

*Although thinking about it, there is room for ambiguity in the criteria. Lorendiac discussed the context in which conversation between women takes place and whether the women are alone together. I was like, "It doesn't matter," but I have seen some people talk about the importance of whether the women are "named" characters or not, or how long the exchange is. I've erred on the side of conservatism...or thought I was being very conservative and only using the criteria stated. Except when I think about it, considering the terms men and women, I actually err on the side of liberalism, generalizing them as males and females. Whereas Hippothestrowl questions whether kids or non-humans would count.

Making me pause. It's like, "Huh. If I go by that standard, ie. man = adult male human and woman = adult female human, neither the Bechdel Test nor the reverse-Bechdel Test would be relevant to my ongoing LOTR fic. All of the characters are either non-human or children."

Also, in looking over my old DW stories, my female OC, the Voice, is presumed to be a guy for several fics. Leaving me to wonder, when Darkwing and Launchpad were discussing their latest villain of the week, whether they were passing or failing the reverse-Bechdel Test, since the "guy" they're talking about is actually a woman. (Not that it would change the overall results for those two stories, since they still talk about other non-woman related stuff in the story.)

5/8/2012 . Edited 5/8/2012 #365
Captain Zangano

What I don't like about the test is the way that if you have a female character (or two, or five) who interacts with men as an equal, that's considered to "fail

I think the Bechdel test is useful as a starting point when evaluating something. I don't think it was originally intended to be taken super seriously as a way to measure movies or books. It's more of a commentary on the industry as a whole. But sometimes it is important to ask why are there no other women around for a female character to talk to?

5/8/2012 #366
cathrl

But sometimes it is important to ask why are there no other women around for a female character to talk to?

In my case, that's as simple as "because I write action/adventure, and more men than women have the extreme physical capabilities required to do what my characters do."

It's not sexist to write a story about, say, firefighters or soldiers, where a majority of the characters are male. It's also not sexist to write a story set in today's society where a particular job has the gender ratio in your story that it has in reality.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a female physics graduate, and I work in a massively male-dominated industry (scientific and technical computer programming). If you made a film of a day of my working life, chances are it would fail the Bechdel test simply because the vast majority of my colleagues are male. But when I do talk to a female colleague, it's not about men, it's about software bugs!

But I'd laugh at a film set in 2012 in that industry where 50% of the programmers were female. Not because they couldn't or shouldn't be (I thoroughly recommend programming, if any woman out there is thinking about a science/maths based career), but because they aren't.

Edit: Thinking about it some more, isn't half the problem that it's being applied to films where it's completely plausible either for there to be very few female characters or for the female characters to be talking about men? Action/adventure, or romance? And then those films are used in the statistics too?

I guess I just don't see it as an issue that there aren't, say, large numbers of war movies out there where there are multiple female characters. They're representing something that didn't involve a lot of women.

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #367
The Lauderdale

In my case, that's as simple as "because I write action/adventure, and more men than women have the extreme physical capabilities required to do what my characters do."

Then, in your case, it is just that simple.

It's not sexist to write a story about, say, firefighters or soldiers, where a majority of the characters are male. It's also not sexist to write a story set in today's society where a particular job has the gender ratio in your story that it has in reality.

To quote tvtropes (because it seems to need the quoting),[The] Bechdel Test is not meant to give a scorecard of a work's overall level of feminism. A movie can easily pass the Bechdel Test and still be incredibly misogynistic. Conversely, it's also possible for a story to fail the test and still be strongly feminist in other ways. Bolding theirs, not mine.

I'll repeat that only 4 of my 14 stories pass as well. I too know why the other ten don't fill the criteria, with reasons varying from "There only IS one woman character" to "The two female characters in the story never meet each other."

I also know some things about the stories that "pass" which the test does not measure, like, "The only reason 'School House Rocked' passes is because the hero's spunky daughter exchanges three sentences with the female villain before kicking her in the shin," or "Of course, the conversation between the two women in 'Orcs In Hobbiton' represents one conversation out of eight and the other seven are between guys (which all, incidentally, pass the reverse-Bechdel.)"

Edit: Thinking about it some more, isn't half the problem that it's being applied to films where it's completely plausible either for there to be very few female characters or for the female characters to be talking about men? Action/adventure, or romance? And then those films are used in the statistics too?

True enough, but I'm not sure where you're going with this, unless it's to point out that "Many movies have few female characters" and "Many movies that feature two or more women characters only depict them insofar as they are defined by men."

Yes, the Bechdel Test would probably bear you out on that. ;)

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #368
Lorendiac

*Although thinking about it, there is room for ambiguity in the criteria. Lorendiac discussed the context in which conversation between women takes place and whether the women are alone together. I was like, "It doesn't matter," but I have seen some people talk about the importance of whether the women are "named" characters or not, or how long the exchange is. I've erred on the side of conservatism...or thought I was being very conservative and only using the criteria stated. Except when I think about it, considering the terms men and women, I actually err on the side of liberalism, generalizing them as males and females. Whereas Hippothestrowl questions whether kids or non-humans would count.

In gauging how many of my own fanfics "pass the test," I had also considered that latter point ("how literally do we interpret the term 'women' in terms of the character's age?") and had chosen to disregard it as a mere quibble. I felt the test was more about the male/female balance than it was about "grown women, as opposed to girls who aren't yet old enough to vote." Some of my stories feature canonical legal minors (such as the Teen Titans), but I chose to count ANY exclusively female-to-female conversation (if not focused on discussion of a male of their acquaintance) as being a "pass."

On the subject of the other question I did express in this thread, and which you also mentioned in what I just quoted . . .

Thinking it over, I realized that the other day, when I was gauging how many of my stories could definitely "pass the test," and commented in here on where I had doubts about whether or not certain situations would also "pass," I was remembering one piece in particular which I had bookmarked some time ago, right after I first became aware of the Bechdel Test (when someone mentioned it on a comic book discussion forum).

It's written by a female screenwriter. It's called "Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test." It's found at: http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-schools-teach-screenwriters-not-to-pass-the-bechdel-test/

The whole thing is worth reading, but I'll just quote one paragraph. At one point she says (regarding the prevailing attitude she encountered, many years ago, when she was just getting started, and sometimes got criticized for writing scenes with two female characters hogging the spotlight as they spoke of one thing or another):

According to Hollywood, if two women came on screen and started talking, the target male audience's brain would glaze over and assume the women were talking about nail polish or shoes or something that didn't pertain to the story. Only if they heard the name of a man in the story would they tune back in. By having women talk to each other about something other than men, I was "losing the audience."

So in context, I was left with the strong impression that this woman, at least, felt the Bechdel test applied to situations where it was JUST a couple of women doing ALL the talking in that scene. I gathered she didn't regard the test as being relevant to a situation where, let's say, two guys and two gals are all actively participating in the same scene, talking back and forth in a freewheeling four-way conversation which SOMETIMES involves one woman asking a question and another woman responding, before a guy chimes in with his two cents' worth!

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #369
The Lauderdale

So in context, I was left with the strong impression that this woman, at least, felt the Bechdel test applied to situations where it was JUST a couple of women doing ALL the talking in that scene. I gathered she didn't regard the test as being relevant to a situation where, let's say, two guys and two gals are all actively participating in the same scene, talking back and forth in a freewheeling four-way conversation which SOMETIMES involves one woman asking a question and another woman responding, before a guy chimes in with his two cents' worth!

I actually didn't get that impression from the quote at all, or from the larger article. As far as I can see, she never mentions a scene featuring women only, or in which women are "hogging the spotlight." She just talks about scenes in which women talk to each other about something other than a man or men. Now, scenes in which only women characters were present and were talking to each other about something other then men would certainly pass the Bechdel Test. But she doesn't say anything about such scenes, and she never excludes mixed company scenes in which two or more of the women in the group talk to each other about something other than a man or men.

I do notice that she uses the qualifier in her description of the Bechdel Test about "named" female characters, which isn't in the criteria from the original comic. However, she seems to think this stipulation is in the original comic, based this passage from a follow-up article:

For those who don't know, the "test" comes from a comic in which one character cleverly gets out of going to the movies with another by saying she will only go to a movie that contains two named female characters having a conversation with each other about something other than men. http://thehathorlegacy.com/the-bechdel-test-its-not-about-passing

No, actually. If you read the original comic, it doesn't say that. This qualifier seems to have been popularized by http://bechdeltest.com/ It's an interesting qualifier, and people can add on other qualifiers or adapt it in other ways (like making it about two people of color having a conversation together about something other than a white person or white people), but it changes what the test is actually measuring.

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #370
pyrrhicvictoly

About 6 out of a 50+ fics of mine would pass the Bechdel test. Most of my fics are short one-shots, though, and there were those that failed because the woman was only reminiscing about a conversation she'd had rather than actually having a conversation. There was one where the woman was writing a letter to another woman, but is that really talking? There was also a fic with dialogue between a woman and both an MtF and FtM individual, but I didn't count that because it was just confusing. Even if I had counted those, the number of passes would be no more than 10. And... actually, out of the ones that passed, most of those conversations were between OCs or CC and OC. I'm not usually a fan of OCs, but I throw them in when I need to. Looking at the OCs I've written so far, most have been female. There are fics I want to write featuring a female CC, but canon hasn't provided any other women for her to talk to in that particular situation.

I think Bechdel test failures in fanfiction are more of a reflection on the lack of female presence in the canon series.

5/9/2012 #371
Captain Zangano

I think Bechdel test failures in fanfiction are more of a reflection on the lack of female presence in the canon series

Exactly. It would be easy to write a fanfiction for Xena: Warrior Princess that would pass the test, since the two most interesting characters on the show are female.

(Slightly OT, but the Bechdel test made me think of this again - does anyone know why there isn't a fanfic listing for DTWOF?)

@Lauderdale - That was a good article. I guess the whole point of the test, looking at it that way, is that if you have to try really hard to make a story with more than one female character pass the test, maybe you should re-evaluate how the female characters were developed/their importance to the plot.

@Cathrl - I work with bugs too. The six-legged kind. :)

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #372
pyrrhicvictoly

It would be hard to write a fanfiction for Xena: Warrior Princess that would fail the test, since the two most interesting characters on the show are female.

But you could choose to write solely about Ares and Joxer!! :D

Actually, I think it would be hilarious if someone managed to write a full-cast Xena fic that fails. That would take a lot of effort!

5/9/2012 #373
The Lauderdale

I remember an Ares/Joxer archive back in the day. Uh...I think I read a story or two there. Xena is one of many shows of the past 10-15 years that I never actually watched when it was on, but a friend of mine was really into Joxer (although she shipped Joxer/Gabrielle) so she made me curious. I'm vaguely planning to watch the series once I finish watching all of Buffy and Angel (I'm going through chronologically, which means I was just alternating between BTVS4 and Angel season 1, and I'm about to do the same with BTVS5 and Angel season 2.)

There was one where the woman was writing a letter to another woman, but is that really talking?

I think for it to qualify as conversation, it needs to involve a give and take. I was actually reading through the comments for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 on http://bechdeltest.com/ and there was a lot of argument. People pointed out a number of instances of women making one-sided comments to other women ("Not my daughter, you b!tch!" being the most cited), and some people also brought up a mutual exchange between the young Lily and Petunia (which I don't recall myself, so I have no idea) but that got discounted on the basis that Petunia isn't named in the movie (?!) Seemed silly to me on several fronts (if nothing else, the fact that she is certainly named in the other movies seems pertinent), but I suppose fighting tooth and nail just to find one brief snippet on which to pass the movie could seem silly in its own right.

I think I find the comments and discussions more interesting than the actual articles when it comes to this stuff.

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #374
The Lauderdale

Argh, delete.

5/9/2012 . Edited 5/9/2012 #375
pyrrhicvictoly

Joxer is awesome, and Ares/Joxer is awesomely hilarious. It's like, "Well, Xena and Gabrielle are obviously into each other, so what will the male side characters do?" Poor guys... :D

I think for it to qualify as conversation, it needs to involve a give and take.

True. They would need to talk TO each other and not just AT each other, like in the case of someone shouting a battle cry and then lunging for the jugular. Even though in my fic it was implied that the two women regularly corresponded with each other, I didn't show that so it didn't count. It makes me wonder, though, if an epistolary fic would count as conversation? If letters from both sides were shown, I mean, of if the exchange has to happen in person.

I think I find the comments and discussions more interesting than the actual articles when it comes to this stuff.

I was cruising around on that site yesterday and read the debate on Bridesmaids. I haven't seen the movie, but it surprised me that there was actually a debate to be had when nearly the entire cast is female, and it's a comedy where they talk about a whole bunch of absurd things. Maybe the dissenters were (surprisingly well-spoken) trolls?

5/10/2012 #376
Lorendiac

I was cruising around on that site yesterday and read the debate on Bridesmaids. I haven't seen the movie, but it surprised me that there was actually a debate to be had when nearly the entire cast is female, and it's a comedy where they talk about a whole bunch of absurd things. Maybe the dissenters were (surprisingly well-spoken) trolls?

I've never seen the movie either! But my wild guess would be that someone was arguing that almost all (or maybe ALL) of the all-female conversations in the film were talking about the wedding in one way or another, and that the wedding by implication involved the groom (a man, presumably) -- even if his name wasn't mentioned for minutes at a time?

5/10/2012 #377
pyrrhicvictoly

I've never seen the movie either! But my wild guess would be that someone was arguing that almost all (or maybe ALL) of the all-female conversations in the film were talking about the wedding in one way or another, and that the wedding by implication involved the groom (a man, presumably) -- even if his name wasn't mentioned for minutes at a time?

Yup. That's what they were saying, but it really makes no sense. The groom himself didn't matter to the story, but just because he's necessary for the upcoming wedding that spurs on most of the dialogue, all of that conversation that doesn't mention him is somehow indirectly all about him?

One person was basically arguing that the everything about the film could be traced back to a man's influence, and therefore it fails the Bechdel test because a man was involved at some point. By that logic, life would fail the Bechdel test. We're failing it right now by having a conversation about female presence in film, but this conversation wouldn't be happening if not for feminism, but feminism wouldn't exist if women didn't react to the actions of men, and therefore men are responsible for the existence of feminism and all talk of feminism or women is in context of there being men. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

I really hope they're trolls. :|

5/10/2012 #378
The Lauderdale

We all ultimately come from the union of an egg (origin: WOMAN) and a s*** (original: MAN). And some day, when human cloning happens successfully (as I'm pretty sure it will, whether it is done legally or not) that individual will have been cloned from a cell that came from a person produced by the union of an egg and a s***.

It is silly to be silly.

5/10/2012 #379
Kitsune no Tora

This is completely not related to the topic on hand nor writing in general, so feel free to ignore me, but can I just say...

What, exactly, is the point in upgrading the avatar system only to change the forum layout to make them so small you can hardly see them? The forums are where the avatars are best seen and most helpful! I know that in the past few years FFN has been downsizing avatar size in the forums (the last few forum changes decreased their sizes too), but as they are now it's ridiculous.

I don't understand. So I'm just going to sit here and think it looks really ugly and hope they change it into something that actually makes sense again and is pleasing to the eye. I don't know if it's just my eyes rejecting it because it looks so different or what, but it's really hard to read and keep track of who is saying what now. Anyone else having that problem?

5/10/2012 #380
Captain Zangano

By that logic, life would fail the Bechdel test

Except maybe, for female aphids in their parthenogenic form. :)

5/10/2012 #381
Sailor Pluto
I can't tell on my tablet
5/10/2012 #382
pyrrhicvictoly

Except maybe, for female aphids in their parthenogenic form. :)

Aphids don't talk to each other. They just crawl around and eat plants. THEY ARE FAILSAUCE. XD

(Also, you just gave me the strangest urge to go look up aphids in wiki. So I did that. And I gotta say, the idea of telescoping generations is frightening.)

5/10/2012 #383
Captain Zangano

Aphids don't talk to each other.

They do. * They use pheromone communication.

5/10/2012 #384
JayWasHere

Hi, can i join your forum?

5/10/2012 #385
Sailor Pluto
Hi
5/10/2012 #386
JayWasHere

Hey! So what are we talking about on here?

5/10/2012 #387
pyrrhicvictoly

They do. * They use pheromone communication.

Shush, you. We're species-ist, so obviously only verbal (or possibly also written) communication counts, though a case could be made for telepathy if in fantasy or sci-fi...

Hi, can i join your forum?

Welcome, welcome! You don't need to ask - go ahead and jump in. :)

5/10/2012 #388
Captain Zangano

Hey! So what are we talking about on here?

Uh, lots of things. (The Bechdel test, Xena, and aphid pheromones were most recent topics I think). You can talk about whatever you want, really.

Actually, I think it would be hilarious if someone managed to write a full-cast Xena fic that fails. That would take a lot of effort!

Hmm, it would be hard to write the dialogue between Xena and Gabrielle if they could only talk about men. Especially if Callisto happened to be the villian. XD

5/10/2012 . Edited 5/10/2012 #389
pyrrhicvictoly

Hmm, it would be hard to write the dialogue between Xena and Gabrielle if they could only talk about men. Especially if Callisto happened to be the villian. XD

Unless it was a horribly conceived OOC crack!fic in which all of them had sex reassignment surgery, which, by deus ex machina, happened to exist in ancient times. Problem solved?

5/10/2012 #390
« Prev Page 1 .. 3 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 23 .. Last Next »
Forum Moderators: Rhea Silverkeys Monotonehell, Rowena DeVandal, Maryilee, ODST-127, cathrl, AbCarter
Rules:
  • Forums are not to be used to post stories.
  • All forum posts must be suitable for teens.
  • The owner and moderators of this forum are solely responsible for the content posted within this area.
  • All forum abuse must be reported to the moderators.
Membership Length: 2+ years 1 year 6+ months 1 month 2+ weeks new member