Dating tests men
and other movie professionals, also called the "celluloid ceiling": In 2012, only one in six of the directors, writers, and producers behind the 100 most commercially successful movies in the United States was a woman.
Writing in National Review in 2017, film critic Kyle Smith suggested that the reason for the Bechdel test results was that "Hollywood movies are about people on the extremes of society — cops, criminals, superheroes — [which] tend to be men", and that such films were more often created by men because "women's movie ideas", mostly about relationships according to Smith, "aren't commercial enough for Hollywood studios".
According to Andi Zeisler, this criticism indicates the problem that the test's utility "has been elevated way beyond the original intention.
Where Bechdel and Wallace expressed it as simply a way to point out the rote, unthinkingly normative plotlines of mainstream film, these days passing it has somehow become synonymous with 'being feminist'.
The "Sphinx test" by the Sphinx theater company of London asks about the interaction of women with other characters, as well as how prominently women characters feature in the action, how proactive rather than reactive they are, and whether they are portrayed stereotypically.
It was conceived to "encourage theatremakers to think about how to write more and better roles for women", in reaction to research indicating that only 37% of theater roles were written for women as of 2014.
In a strip titled "The Rule", two women, who resemble the future characters Mo and Ginger, According to Neda Ulaby, the test resonates because "it articulates something often missing in popular culture: not the number of women we see on screen, but the depth of their stories, and the range of their concerns." Dean Spade and Craig Willse described the test as a "commentary on how media representations enforce harmful gender norms" by depicting women's relationships to men more than any other relationships, and women's lives as important only insofar as they relate to men.Alessandra Maldonado and Liz Bourke wrote that Smith was wrong to contend that female authors do not write books that generate "big movie ideas", citing J. Rowling, Margaret Atwood and Nnedi Okorafor among others as counter-examples.The Bechdel test only indicates whether women are present in a work of fiction to a certain degree.A work may pass the test and still contain sexist content, and a work with prominent female characters may fail the test.A work may fail the test for reasons unrelated to gender bias, such as because its setting works against the inclusion of women (e.g., Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, set in a medieval monastery).