More than a third of major films of the past decade have failed to pass a basic test for representing female characters, a new study has found.
To mark the release of Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, gambling community hub CasinoGrounds analysed how many popular films from the past decade pass the Bechdel test, which means the movie or media must have two named female characters, who talk to each other about something other than a man.
Collecting user-submitted data from bechdeltest.com, the study shows that over the past 10 years, more than a third of the 1118 films assessed on the site have failed the test – a total of 36.4%.
Of the 33 films assessed so far during 2021, nine have failed the test, a total of 27% – including A Quiet Place Part II and F9: The Fast Saga. This figure is currently higher than the total from 2020, in which 21.5% of films measured failed to meet all three of the test’s requirements.
The two lowest performing years over the past decade were 2014 and 2016, in which 40.7% and 43.6% of the films assessed failed to achieve a passing “grade”.
Bechdel Test – Failure rates over past 10 years
|Year of release||No. of movies assessed by Bechdeltest.com||Number of failed movies||Percentage of failed movies|
Assessing the five highest-grossing films of each year from the past decade, there are four years in which all five films pass the test – 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Last year, only two of the year’s five highest-grossing films passed – Sonic The Hedgehog and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.
Perhaps some of the most surprising failures from the past decade come from the most renowned movie franchises – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Monsters University and Jumanji: The Next Level each failed to tick all three boxes of the test.
And although Black Widow passes the Bechdel test, Marvel Studios’ 2012 epic The Avengers – which also saw Scarlett Johansson assuming the role of Natasha Romanov – did not.
Bechdel Test – Highest Grossing Films over past Decade
|Year||Highest grossing movies of the year||Number that failed||Failing movies|
|2011||1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||2||1. The Hangover Part II|
|2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon||2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|
|3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1|
|4. The Hangover Part II|
|5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|
|2012||1. The Avengers||2||1. The Avengers|
|2. The Dark Knight Rises||2. The Dark Knight Rises|
|3. The Hunger Games|
|5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2|
|2013||1. Iron Man 3||1||1. Monsters University|
|2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire|
|3. Despicable Me 2|
|4. Man of Steel|
|5. Monsters University|
|2014||1. Guardians of the Galaxy||0|
|2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1|
|3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier|
|4. The Lego Movie|
|5. Transformers: Age of Extinction|
|2015||1. Jurassic World||0|
|2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens|
|3. Avengers: Age of Ultron|
|4. Inside Out|
|5. Furious 7|
|2016||1. Finding Dory||2||1. Secret Life of Pets|
|2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||2. Jungle Book|
|3. Captain America: Civil War|
|4. The Secret Life of Pets|
|5. The Jungle Book|
|2017||1. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi||0|
|2. Beauty and the Beast|
|3. Wonder Woman|
|4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2|
|5. Spider-Man: Homecoming|
|2018||1. Black Panther||1||1. Deadpool 2|
|2. Avengers: Infinity War|
|3. Incredibles 2|
|4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom|
|5. Deadpool 2|
|2019||1. Avengers Endgame||0|
|2. The Lion King|
|3. Toy Story 4|
|4. Frozen II|
|5. Captain Marvel|
|2020||1. Bad Boys for Life||3||1. Bad Boys for Life|
|2. 1917||2. Jumanji: The Next Level|
|3. Sonic the Hedgehog||3. 1917|
|4. Jumanji: The Next Level|
|5. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker|
|2021||1. A Quiet Place Part II||2||1. A Quiet Place Part II|
|2. F9: The Fast Saga||2. Godzilla vs. King Kong|
|3. Godzilla vs. Kong|
|5. Black Widow|
Commenting on the study’s findings, a spokesperson of CasinoGrounds stated: “With more emphasis being placed on the importance of gender quality in recent years, it is encouraging to see films like Black Widow leading the charge in creating strong female characters in Hollywood. There are certainly some surprising passing entries from the highest grossing films, and some equally surprising failures. Hopefully, the future holds even more positive representation of women in film and media overall”.
Casinogrounds.com is the leading online gambling community, which promotes safe and responsible practise and discussions around gambling.
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