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The Dangers of Low Bechdel Scores and Why Boys Aren’t Becoming Men in Today’s Society

Hollywood has recently developed numerous action thrillers that are based on dystopian fiction. Where many of these blockbuster hits lack in solid plot lines they make up for in stunning visual effects. The problem lies within the context of the story-line; more accurately the lack of context. Many of us are guilty of criticizing the plot-hole(s) in the story lines of film & TV series only to conclude “it’s just a TV Show”, or “this is my downtime, who cares.”

Not only are the action thrillers lacking in context, many other genres of TV/Film entertainment have seen an aggressive decrease in overall quality. Unfortunately, many movie producers are limited by time, budget, and the unfortunate reality that some moviegoers have the memory of a goldfish; whereas TV series can afford to drag out story lines and present plot twists along the way (22 to 45 minutes at a time).

If it is only entertainment what is the real harm in watching films and TV shows that lack credibility in the content they display?

One of many problems that come from film/tv/media today is that the majority fail the Bechdel test on all levels. Programs with lower Bechdel scores objectify women and could cause harmful ill-informed assumptions/generalizations that could lead to unfortunate circumstances. For those that aren’t familiar, the Bechdel Test consist of the following 3 criteria:

  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.

Shows with low Bechdel scores send a negative message to developing minds. It could lead many to believe that guys are always the hero, women have nothing better to talk about than boys, and finally the boy always gets the girl(s). With this message on a continuous loop, many may believe that this is reality for all. In the age of selfies and continuous self-promotion via social media, it may not be surprising that many believe that they have an ongoing starring role in their own movie called Life.

The dangers of continuously misinforming developing minds could lead to dire situations down the road. One could argue that the rampant increase in slut-shaming online and the growing complexities of rape culture today is directly correlated to a lack of programs that have high Bechdel scores. A great example is the existence of Pick Up Artist schools, where individuals will pay a small fortune to attend a seminar to learn how to get a woman’s number.

PUA supporters will argue that it helps empower men to gain confidence so they can learn how to approach women in everyday situations. Unfortunately, many of these programs have been exposed in the news where such tactics displayed could be considered criminal. Perhaps these individuals hoping to become PUAs have not realized that not all women want to be with them and that they need to be more humble with their expectations.

We should consider demanding more entertainment programs that pass all three Bechdel tests. This could counter the growing online slut shaming culture where there is very little to no recourse to assist victims online and offline. There wouldn’t be any victims if TV and Film producers start developing stories that have higher Bechdel scores; possibly newer viewership markets could be discovered if gender equality was present within everyday entertainment.

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