From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/swedish-cinemas-bechdel-test-films-gender-bias
Movies need to pass test that gauges the active presence of women on screen in bid to promote gender equality
Associated Press in Stockholm
theguardian.com, Wednesday 6 November 2013
You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.
To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
“The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,” said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm’s trendy Södermalm district.
Bio Rio is one of four Swedish cinemas that launched the new rating last month to draw attention to how few movies pass the Bechdel test. Most filmgoers have reacted positively to the initiative. “For some people it has been an eye-opener,” said Tejle.
Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, Tejle said, noting that the rating doesn’t say anything about the quality of the film. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens,” he added.
The state-funded Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative, which is starting to catch on. Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will start using the ratings in its film reviews and has scheduled an A-rated “Super Sunday” on 17 November, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as The Hunger Games, The Iron Lady and Savages.
The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the A rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.
In Bio Rio’s wood-panelled lobby, students Nikolaj Gula and Vincent Fremont acknowledged that most of their favourite films probably would not get an A rating.
Continue reading at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/swedish-cinemas-bechdel-test-films-gender-bias