Female representation in Disney live-action remakes has improved by 50%, new research can reveal.
Following the release of Jungle Cruise, a study by creative resource DesignBundles.net collected user-submitted data from bechdeltest.com to analyse the 14 Disney animations which have been rebooted as live-action films.
It found that only eight of the 14 original animations passed the Bechdel test, which means the movie must have two named female characters, who talk to each other about something other than a man – that equates to a pass rate of 57%.
However, the study found that 12 of the 14 live-action remakes passed the test – an increase of 50% that left just two films with sub-par female representation – resulting in an overall pass rate of 85%.
The animated versions of Dumbo, The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp and Aladdin did not pass the Bechdel test, however their live-action remakes did meet the criteria.
The Jungle Book failed the Bechdel test for both its animated and live-action versions, as did Winnie the Pooh and its remake Christopher Robin.
The performance of Disney’s live-action remakes in the Bechdel test compares favourably with the average pass rate of films released over the past 10 years. More than a third of the 1,118 films released in the past decade that have been assessed on bechdeltest.com failed the test – a total of 36.4% – leaving a pass rate of 63.6%.
Disney’s collection of live-action films also have a higher pass rate than each year’s top five grossing films since 2011, with 13 of the 55 failing – a pass rate of 76%.
Jungle Cruise was found to have passed the Bechdel test, but only narrowly with Emily Blunt’s character, Lily, rarely speaking to other named female characters.
Commenting on the study’s findings, a spokesperson for Design Bundles stated: “Disney animations have been a beloved part of many people’s childhoods, and the new set of live-action remakes are likely to be similarly influential on younger generations. So it’s encouraging to see that female representation has improved in the updated versions.”
Despite passing the Bechdel test, the titular character of Sleeping Beauty only had 18 lines in the script. Other Disney films such as The Little Mermaid have created controversy in recent years for its passive character portrayal.
The study was conducted by Design Bundles, which offers high quality premium design resources and a marketplace which allows graphic designers to register and sell their products.
|The Bechdel status of Disney animations and their live-action remakes|
|Disney Animation||Does it pass the Bechdel test?||Disney Live-Action||Does it pass the Bechdel test?|
|One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)||Yes||101 Dalmatians (1996)||Yes|
|Alice in Wonderland (1961)||Yes||Alice in Wonderland (2010)||Yes|
|Sleeping Beauty (1959)||Yes||Maleficent (2014)||Yes|
|Cinderella (1950)||Yes||Cinderella (2015)||Yes|
|The Jungle Book (1967)||No||The Jungle Book (2016)||No|
|Alice in Wonderland (1961)||Yes||Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)||Yes|
|Beauty and the Beast (1991)||Yes||Beauty and the Beast (2017)||Yes|
|Winnie the Pooh (1977)||No||Christopher Robin (2018)||No|
|Dumbo (1941)||No||Dumbo (2019)||Yes|
|Aladdin (1992)||No||Aladdin (2019)||Yes|
|The Lion King (1994)||No||The Lion King (2019)||Yes|
|Sleeping Beauty (1959)||Yes||Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)||Yes|
|Lady and the Tramp (1955)||No||Lady and the Tramp (2019)||Yes|
|Mulan (1998)||Yes||Mulan (2020)||Yes|
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