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Brookhaven Retreat Blog - For inspiration, growth & a fresh perspective.

A Girl and Her Father

A Girl and Her Father

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Soup au Pistou

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Pineapple Chicken Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce

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Taylor Swift and Anxiety

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Maureen O’Hara—A Legacy

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Black Lentil Beet Salad

Black Lentil Beet Salad

Helping One Another

Helping One Another

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Women, You ARE Beautiful!

Women, You ARE Beautiful!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Unconditional Worth

Unconditional Worth

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Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

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Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad

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Hurricane Prep

Fashion Trends: The Knit Cap

Fashion Trends: The Knit Cap

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Chicken with Artichoke-Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

The Arms of Irony

Focus the Mind, Reap the Rewards

Focus the Mind, Reap the Rewards

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The Necessity of Silence

The Necessity of Silence

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Recovery

Service with Style

Vietnamese Grilled Steak with Portobellos and Mint-Cilantro Mojo

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Toasted Ciabatta with Shrimp, Tarragon, and Arugula

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Women in the Media

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 22:19  by Jessica W.

The Bechdel test has been featured in the news again recently, because four Swedish theaters began rating movies according to its guidelines.

If you haven’t heard of it, the Bechdel test is a measure of gender balance in movies based on three rules: the movie must feature at least two named women, those women must talk to each other, and they must talk about something other than a man.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail the test. So do nearly all superhero movies, the original Star Wars trilogy, Avatar and pretty much every other movie ever made. It’s interesting to think of popular movies and realize that they don’t even meet these three simple criteria.

Do you think that gender balance in movies affects the way women perceive themselves?

Media portrayals of women affect us in good ways and in bad. Young girls must experience a greater impact from a lack of strong, independent role models. I believe that women in the media have an insidious effect on women’s self-worth by creating a harmful standard that perpetuates hegemonic masculinity. But I also think that is fair to say of men in the media, too.

Those who study the social dominance of masculinity say that it grants sex-based benefits to men, such as better wages, career advances, political advantages and laxer sexual and social standards. These power relations begin in early childhood and are easily visible in boys’ and girls’ toys, literature and movies.

The recent discussions on the Bechdel test had me going through all of my favorite movies in my head. Very interestingly, the recent movie Thor: The Dark World is one of the only superhero movies to ever pass this test. The previous Thor movie, the Avengers movie, all of the Iron Man movies and so many others all failed. The Dark World, on the other hand, presented an intelligent and compelling female character, Jane Foster, who, though lost in a world of gods remained capable and independent. What does it say of us that most movies create female characters defined by their sexuality or weakness?

Media depictions of masculinity also affect men, I think; men are expected to maintain the privilege of social dominance by behaving in certain ways, which can lead to bullying or devaluing of outsiders. Men also can face discrimination purely on the basis of sex.

What do you think of the Bechdel test? Is it necessary? Does it reflect the state of sex and gender in our society?

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 22:28
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