While at first glance, the new feminist rating system out of Sweden appears to be so much nonsense, it is actually rather interesting, and one I may tuck into the back of my head for a while to see what I may have been missing. It involves the following:
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.
No really, what do women talk about -- have I missed something? Does it mean they can talk about anything other than men (like fashion, babies, or aging parents) or does it mean that they have to talk about engineering, political theory, or metaphysics? Or how to bring down the boss? It would seem the latter:
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."
Wow, how many films have we seen concerning "exciting challenges" for women. And yet saying that they cannot talk about men means that there's half the human race that they're obliged to ignore, which isn't quite the complimentarity that the ideal society should foster. Presuming that romantic interests are too shallow for the test, it would seem that their conversations must also preclude fathers, brothers, and sons. Doesn't this sound remarkably stilted and sexist on its own?
Remarkably, the Lord of the Rings trilogy failed the test, as did Star Wars, most of the Harry Potter films, Pulp Fiction and The Social Network, what passes?
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 Nov. 17, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as "The Hunger Games," "The Iron Lady" and "Savages."
It would seem, then, that there's more than just boy talk that causes a film to flunk and a girl power theme must pervade the story. In essence, the bulk of women who like chick flicks seem to have been duped into paying to watch their own slavery on the screen, and this standard (created by the cartoonist who penned "Dykes to Watch Out For" in 1985) will help to socially reengineer the masses.
Good luck with that, but in the meantime, I may take a few notes of my own along these lines.