The Bechdel Test is a simple measure of how significant the portrayal of women are in film. I believe it's a sad commentary that there is a need to come up with a test to determine if women are valued in our popular stories. But what's even more alarming is how little the Bechdel Test demands from writers, directors, and story tellers. This same test can - and should - be applied to books.
The test asks three things:
1. does the film (or book) have at least two women in it
2. do they speak to one another
3. do they speak to each other about something besides a man.
I've come across several bloggers who have created lists of YA books that pass the Bechdel Test such as Random Buzzers and Another Novel Read, so I won't do that here.
So why am I writing about it?
The Bechdel Test really struck a chord with me because so much of Daughter of Camelot is about women's stories being left out of history. While writing, I felt that there was a lack of strong female protagonists in today's YA books and I wanted to address that in the Deirdre's story. At the same time, I needed to acknowledge that what she (and the other women in the story accomplished) would not be celebrated because of the historical attitudes toward gender in her time.
Reading about the Bechdel Test, I can't help but question how far have we really come from the world I imagined for Deirdre. Why do girls and women still have to battle for their place in the stories celebrated today? It's a problem that I hope will be rectified as more strong female characters step to the forefront of the stories yet to be told and are given the space to share their journeys.