Star System

Here is a breakdown of the system for all who are interested. There are 10 stars, 5 central ones and 5 additional ones as well as 10 bonus points. A feminist litmus test if you will, for those moments in your life when the bechdel test is just not enough. Also, I still cannot work out how to insert pretty pictures of stars so I will be calling on your imaginations once again

The Bechdel Test (

Developed female relationships

Non- stereotyped Female Characters

Developed, prominent female characters

No Excessive Air of Misogyny

No rigid adherence to gender norms

No Excessive Female Exposure or Sexualisation

No objectification of the female body

No Gratuitous or Trivialising Scenes of Rape or Male Violence Against Women

No threat of male violence against women

  • Female director
  • Female writer
  • LGBT+ women
  • BME women
  • Working class women
  • Disabled women
  • “Unglamorous” women
  • Women in traditionally masculine roles
  • Women in power
  • Explicit discussion of feminist issues

The 5 main (bold) stars indicate what I see as the central points around which film-misogyny revolves.

  1. A lack of female, non-male related conversation.
  2. A tendency to stereotype female characters.
  3. A rigid adherence to gender norms including the “norm” that all the male characters should sort of hate the female characters, apart from the pretty ones, whom they merely despise.
  4. A tendency to sexualise female characters to the point that Talkative Blowup Doll becomes an accurate, if offensive, description of them.
  5. A willingness to trivialise and indeed revel in male violence against women.

The idea is that you get a main star if you avoid misogyny in this field, and then you get a bonus star if you manage to stray into the field of an actively good representation of women. (Note: It is important this is not about Strong Women. You need not be strong to be developed, and you don’t get a star for development just because you’re strong.) Bonus points are then awarded for the representation of basically anyone who isn’t a Young White Cis Straight Able-Bodied Slender Woman. Or an active interest in feminist issues. Or a female writer or director.

This is all still up for debate but so far it seems to work. It’s not that good films always score highly and bad films remain star-less, but re the representation of women I think it’s pretty on point.

You decide.


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