The Bechdel Test. First coined by Alison Bechdel via Dykes to Watch Out For in ’85, the theory has been applied to countless works of fiction ever since as a means of measuring gender bias across any medium – or lack thereof, in some cases. Its premise is simple: in order to pass the test, said subject must contain at least two women in it, two women who talk to one another about something besides a man.
Sounds simple, right? Well, you’d be surprised by how many films fail to meet even that most basic requirement. Thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is categorically not one of them.
Talking to Facebook to commemorate International Day of the Girl, director James Gunn posted an exhaustive post on the matter, before confidently stating that not only does Guardians 2 pass the Bechdel test, but the sequel seemingly manages to “run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truck.” How’s that for an answer?
“Women all over the world have been pushed to the sidelines in the interests of men, and their person hood is often forgotten or delegitimized. This is true in the realms of politics and education and religion. But it is also true in the realm of STORIES. That is my personal area of expertise, and that is where I believe women – and girls – deserve the fullness of character that men have often received,” he wrote on Facebook. “I have done my best, as a male writer, with varying degrees of success, to bring female characters and female stories to the forefront. Whether they’re protagonists like Ana in Dawn of the Dead or Starla in Slither, comedy relief like Deadly Girl, Nightbird, and Power Chick in The Specials, or the insane, scene-stealing roles usually reserved for men, like Libby in SUPER. And I can’t wait for you all to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis in action, where we not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truck, and where their stories and the men’s stories don’t come at the expense of each other, but are interwoven in a way to strengthen and optimize all of them.”
Of the female characters to be featured in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn draws attention to Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis – portrayed by Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan and newcomer Pom Klementieff, respectively – and it’ll be fascinating to see how the latter fits into the mould come 2017.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has been earmarked for launch on May 5, 2017.