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Anonymous asked:

why is the bechdel test useless?

lisaquestions:

bartimaeass:

AW MAN I WAS HOPING SOMEONE WOULD ASK THIS OK HERE WE GO ESSAY TIME

(NOT UNDER A CUT BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE THIS IS IMPORTANT)

I have a lot of problems with the Bechdel test, as you’ve probably noticed. It’s not like I think it’s pointless, per se — it was created for a good reason — I just think that it doesn’t really do anything.

First off, what is it even measuring? TVTropes cites it as, “a sort of litmus test for female presence in fictional media”. But what does that mean? Just because there are women in something, doesn’t mean that something has great female representation.

For example: Twilight. Twilight is terrible for representation. Its main message is (regardless of what Smeyer intended it to be), “you should change your entire personality, lifestyle, and group of friends just so that a Boy will come along and make your life better.” It romanticizes an abusive relationship, encourages young girls to not go to college so that they can be with their first boyfriend, and is basically just Really Bad All Around. 
But it passes the Bechdel testThere are at least ten named female characters (Bella, Jessica, Angela, Lauren, Renee, Alice, Jane, Esme, Rosalie, Victoria, and probably more that I don’t remember, because I only ever read the first two books with any degree of interest), many of whom interact separately with each other, and most of whom have at least one conversation about something other than boys! And yet, nobody can argue that Twilght is anything resembling a bastion of feminism or whatever. 

On the other hand, let’s talk about a great example of female representation in (hugely popular!!!!!) media.

This is Chell. Chell is the protagonist of Valve’s smash hit puzzle games, Portal and Portal 2.

If you don’t know that, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past seven years.

Now, Chell is a fantastic character: she’s (1) a woman, who (2) isn’t sexualized, (3) doesn’t have a love interest (unless you count her and GLaDOS’s creepy blackrom rivalry, but even that is not a standard heterosexual pairing), and (4), perhaps most importantly, isn’t white (if we’re going by her face model Alesia Glidwell, she’s Brazilian and Japanese). All of these things are really important, because both Portal games did incredibly well: the first Portal sold over four million copies, excluding Steam, while the second one became the top-selling video game in the country within its first week.

And yet, Portal does not pass the Bechdel test. The first one technically doesn’t even have two named female characters — Chell’s name is only given by the developers, never stated in-game — but, even saying that “well, we know her name at all, so it counts”, they do not have a conversation. About anything. Because (5) Chell is disabled — she’s mute.

So Chell is a fantastic, fantastic protagonist, for so many reasons, and in the first Portal game, 100% of the on-screen characters are female (Doug doesn’t count, as he’s never seen, and in fact his gender isn’t stated at all until the second game). Yet it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test! Neither does the second one, because again, Chell is mute — even though there are still more female characters than male ones (GLaDOS, Chell, and Caroline, vs. Wheatley and Cave Johnson. Spheres and turrets don’t count.)

So,

(1) Just because there are multiple-named-women-who-have-a-conversation-about-something-other-than-a-man, doesn’t mean that a work is particularly empowering for women, and in fact can be outright detracting (Twilight);

(2) Just because there aren’t multiple-named-women-who-have-a-conversation-about-something-other-than-a-man, doesn’t mean that a work is not extremely empowering for women (Portal);

and therefore (3) The Bechdel test is a flawed system that doesn’t actually serve to prove any valid point towards feminism or representation.

The end.

Basically the Bechdel test is a witty snipe at how women are frequently treated in film because of sexism, not a rule for identifying truly feminist and not sexist work.

It originated in a Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip, with the punchline being that the character who applied the test had only seen Alien.

darkestgreen:

thebestworstidea:

resilientkate:

softgore:

“This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her.  She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol, on a table near her and invited the viewers to use them on her however they wanted. 

Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly.  “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”

This piece revealed something terrible about humanity, similar to what Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, both of which also proved how readily people will harm one another under unusual circumstances.”

This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back, and is particularly powerful because it defies what we think we know about ourselves. I’m certain the no one reading this believes the people around him/her capable of doing such things to another human being, but this performance proves otherwise.”

this is why performance art is important

So every single person who told me ‘ignore them they’ll go away’ and ‘you can’t let them know they bothered you’ and ‘They’ll stop if they don’t see you react’ and all that bull shit, my entire school career, I want you to look good and hard at this.

I want you to think about what you said.

What you keep saying.

What you are telling your children.

You are making them powerless.

that last comment. actually crying.

(Source: andrewfishman)

notamorningbird:

lillian-raven:

hungrylikethewolfie:

cure-krismoth:

pagangirl:

emegustart:

latining:

emegustart:

chenisthebestkitty:

emegustart:

This is supposed to happen the first time Persephone is back to the Underworld….so I went and made a sequel for a comic that hasn’t even happened yet. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey….

Did I regret anything? No. No I don’t. 

on deviantart

._.

He kidnapped her

Against her will

Thanks fo her father after her father raped her

She starved herself to get out of his place

twhere do people read romance into this, where??ßß1ßewkofp *flops over*

Thanks for continue to focus on the kidnapping part which is not the point of this myth. 

Life and Death, the balance between them and the changes they cause, and the origin and meaning of the seasons cycle, on the other hand, are the real points. 

Thanks for also persisting in the idea of Persephone as a passive figure. Kidnapped, raped, silenced, with no saying or power over anything (except for maybe starved herself because there are so many different versions of this myth that it’s difficult to keep track of them, did you know that apparently there is a version where she and Hades plot together?)

Thanks for also forgetting that she’s a goddess on her own and becomes Queen and Hades’ equal and actually they’re most stable marriages in the myths. 

Thank you, you’ve enriched this post by telling me things I already know but I don’t care about. (◡‿◡✿)

Reblogging for the bitchin’ commentary and also to add that if anyone wants to read the most current (and IMO accurate) studies on Greek mythology and women’s lives, Women in Greek Myth by Dr. Mary Lefkowitz is invaluable (and incredibly inexpensive for an academic book).

The confusion comes from “Zeus” which is almost a title for a supreme god (think of the way “Caesar” was used). So you have Heavenly Zeus and Infernal Zeus, and they are not the same god but rather the supreme ruler of the sky and underworld, respectively. Likewise Persephone became known as “Infernal Hera” and this naming scheme persisted well into the Roman Empire, where Pluto and Proserpina are referred to as “Infernal Juno” and “Jupiter of Dis” in Book 6 of the Aeneid as well as on many grave monuments and in spells.

Moreover, gods don’t need to eat. Persephone refusing to eat was her refusing to become a part of the Underworld, not her attempting to starve herself. The gods are defined as being deathless, and in Ancient Greek “deathless” is synonymous with “god”. (Cf. Theogony, Works and Days, any of the Homeric Hymns, etc.) The Homeric Hymn to Demeter is really clear about this. (HH 2 370-4, 393-403.)

The marriage of Persephone and Hades is actually the most loving and consensual union among the Olympian deities. Hades first offers a dowry designed specifically to please Persephone (HH 2 10-14.), then carries her off and keeps her as a guest of honour in his house. (HH 2 341-345) Persephone is referred to as αἰδοίῃ παρακοίτι - his reverent wife. “Reverent” here refers to a respect for one’s duty, and the similarity between the pronunciation of αἰδοῖος an “Hades” is deliberate and intended to show how well-matched they are. Persephone misses her mother, yes, but is not overly upset about her marriage to Hades. Even Anchises expresses more regret over his union with Aphrodite. (HH 5 185-190.) Finally, as a proper parent, Demeter is rewarded for giving up her daughter, and offers a gift to the other gods in turn. (HH 2 441-495.)

It is worth noting that Demeter is given a position of remarkable power in this myth and is in many ways treated as or better than a father would be. The focus of the hymn remains the relationship between mother and daughter, and emphasises that it is a bond that can endure even after a woman leaves to marry. More importantly, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter is an etiological myth for the Thesmophoria and the Eleusinian Mysteries, a woman-only festival and the most enduring mystery cult of the ancient world. HH 2 serves to anchor women firmly in religious and family life and sets some fairly idealised standards for husbands. Many issues arise when attempting to interpret this myth into a modern context, which is why it is so important to understand that the myth was created over three thousand years ago and is largely a historical document reflecting the mores of the time.

This is the last time I’m reblogging this strip. I edited the original post because I’m really tired of this discussion, but latining’s comment is just perfect and flawless and really educating and everyone interested in this myth should read it. 

THIS IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL AND IM SO GLAD THAT MY BOYFRIEND REBLOGGED IT FOR ME TO SEE AND TO READ THE COMMENTS OMFG

Also like to point out that Hades and Persephone were one of, if not the, most faithful divine couples in Greek mythology. 

Compare that to Zeus, who slept with anything that moved.

This comic is beautiful and adorable, and the commentary is (if you’ll pardon the pun) divine.  A++, FAVORITE MYTHOLOGICAL COUPLE, WOULD FALL IN LOVE WITH THEM AGAIN.

Beautiful commentary. God, I love mythology. 

audiconnie:

zombiesandporn:

viva-la-heichou:

levi-liberte:

captainarlert:

marcobottd:

what the actual fuck is happening in this ova tho

Apparently pixis unlocked his next level

Let’s all face the makers of SnK are this fandom.

what is this anime anymore

this isnt even the result of a fandom dealing with a hiatus

this is the animators dealing with a hiatus

If Attack on Titan makes more OVA’s like this, I’m literally going to buy them all.

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