Open discussion: A POC version of the Bechdel Test?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bechdel Test, let me give you a short overview.

The test was popularized in Alison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to Watch Out For (“The Rule,” 1985), when one of the characters says that she will only go to movies that meet three simple criteria. The movie must have:

  1. At least two women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

You’ll be amazed at how shockingly few movies meet these tiny requirements.  Go here for a video plus links on just how rarely movies pass the test. The only movies I recall seeing recently that pass the test are Hoodwinked and Alien.

Now that the stark reality of Hollywood sexism has got you good and depressed, let’s cheer up by turning our eye to Hollywood racism.

If there is a POC version of the Bechdel Test, what would be the requirements, and what would we call it?

My initial thoughts are that to pass the [Test], a movie must have:

  1. At least one named character of color
  2. Whose primary trait is not their race
  3. Who does something important besides help a White person

What do you think? What would be your test? Which movies would pass? Which ones would not?

BTW, feel free to make your own test for sexuality, disability, and other marginalities as well.


A Tribute: Elisabeth Sladen/Sarah Jane Smith

As many of you have heard, Elisabeth Sladen has passed away.

It was only a few days ago that I penned a tribute post to both Elisabeth Sladen and the iconic heroine she portrayed, Sarah Jane Smith.

And don’t think the eerie timing hasn’t been fucking with me.

First Perry Moore, then Dwayne McDuffie, now Elisabeth Sladen. I have no words.

It goes without saying but my thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Sladen’s family and loved ones.

Below is the tribute post I wrote this weekend.

And to Ms. Sladen, thank you…..for everything. And take a bow.

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Review: Midnighter- Killing Machine

Cross-posted from Prism Comics.

“I know what special abilities you have. I can see the enhancements. I can detect the increased electrical activity in your brain. I know what moves you’re preparing to make. I’ve fought our fight already, in my head, in a million different ways. I can hit you without you even seeing me.  I’m what soldiers dream of growing into. I’m what children see when they first imagine what death is like. I’m the Midnighter.”

Confession time. I was late to the party discovering many of the wonderful gems that Wildstorm has to offer. When it comes to comics, I’ve traditionally remained with the mainstream superhero genre and even with that I’m highly selective.

The Authority was repeatedly recommended to me in passing but I didn’t give it much thought. One night online however, I was having a discussion on an internet forum about the dearth of gay superheroes in comics and in the media in general. I voiced how we desperately need more Capt. Jack Harknesses, Willow Rosenbergs, Lafayette Reynolds, and Satsus, each of whom are awesome personified. Another forum member suggested I check out Midnighter because they felt he would be right up my alley.

And what alley was that? The alley of AWESOME!

Counting Colored Cash

You would think that with the economic climate being what it is, that the entertainment industry (which hasn’t been immune to the recession) would be all too eager to jump on the opportunity gain revenue.

But as people of color know all too well, many racist whites (both fans and industry shot-callers alike) would sooner cut their nose (or in this case burn their wallets), just to spite their face.

When cis straight white fans demand certain things in media: be it movies, television or comics—storylines or better characters or what have you—they’re lauded and praised as being outspoken, passionate and devoted fans. Yet when marginalized audiences, specifically POCs, simply ask for better representation (or any representation for that matter) and to have our stories explored, suddenly we’re being entitled, uppity, unreasonable and too sensitive.

Yet the racist white PTB have been left to their own devices: be it the erasure and whitewashing of POCs from the media, inundating the media with the white caucasian power fantasies, etc. and yet, they are still suffering economically.

And while they continue to hemorrhage financially, they still refuse to acknowledge that POCs can make an impact—even though we’ve proven it time and time and time again—and will make the flimsiest excuses to justify why POCs shouldn’t be visible in the media and why our dollars don’t count.

Excuses I’m about to debunk and with this post.



Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Strong, Be Tall

In light of yesterday’s post, I was reminded of something special I witnessed a few years ago.

Most of you are aware that creators Bruce Timm and the late Dwayne McDuffie are not only credited as talented but also progressive storytellers.

Between Batman, Superman, Static Shock, the Zeta Project, Batman Beyond and Justice League, epic tales were not only told but they were inclusive and trailblazing in showcasing women, POCs, LGBTQs in leading and prominent roles but also handled interracial relationships with respect and class, and tackled racism, sexism and bigotry in any form.

I’ve talked in depth about McDuffie’s work, specifically introducing a gay superhero in one Richie Foley aka Gear.

However he wasn’t the only example of Timm and McDuffie giving a nod to gay fans.

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