Please stop calling it the Bechdel Test, says Alison Bechdel

Cartoonist doesn't claim sole credit for the idea

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The Independent Culture

Alison Bechdel has said that she feels a little embarrassed when people call the film sexism check the Bechdel Test, as she believes as much credit should go to her friend Liz Wallace.

The test requires a work of fiction to feature at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man, and though invented in the 80s is still often referenced and used in critical analysis to this day.

Bechdel told NPR’s Fresh Air how the idea for the test arose from a conversation with Wallace.


“I feel a little bit sheepish about the whole thing, because it's not like I invented this test or said, 'This is the Bechdel Test'. It somehow has gotten attributed to me over the years," she said.

"It's this weird thing. Like, people actually use it to analyse films to see whether or not they pass that test."

She would prefer it to be called the Bechdel-Wallace Test, though this name has been slow to catch on.

The test, which surprisingly few films pass, was made famous by Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985 (above).