Have you ever been around your female friends and the topic of men hasn’t come up? If the answer is yes, then congratulations! You’ve passed the Bechdel Test. If the answer is no, then you have failed the Bechdel Test.
First appearing in 1985, the Bechdel test, named after its creator cartoonist Alison Bechdel, seeks to “measure the representation of women in fiction.” The test can be used to see how many women are present in a work of art and whether they are named, but has popularly been used to see how women are represented. In films, this is often done by seeing if any two or more women share a scene in which men are not mentioned. This can, and often is, applied to real life dynamics.
Now don’t get me wrong, your relationships (or situationships if you’re a true millennial) do form an important part of your life. One that you would like to and should share with your friends. But the pattern seems to show that the topic of men is the most talked about between a lot of female friend groups.
What’s interesting is that no other topic seems to get as much coverage in some female conversations as men. Some female friendship groups do not talk about the news every single time they meet up. Nor do they text their group chat at 2am stressing about what to reply to their boss or colleague. So why is it that we feel the need to talk about that man or those men in our lives?
In short, we don’t. We don’t need to talk about men. We are perfectly capable of going half an hour, an hour, a day, a week, without mentioning a man. We are not programmed to think about men every time we are around our girlfriends, we have just been conditioned to. And we can break the cycle.
Very simply, next time you’re around your female friends and you think about bringing up that text a boy sent you…don’t. Change the topic to that TV show you just binged or that article you read. Your life does not revolve around the male figures in your life and nor should it. I can count on one hand the number of men I know who have a consistent pattern of talking about women every day. And guess what? Those few men who do, aren’t extremely successful in life.
It’s no secret that what you think about inevitably becomes what you speak about and that in turn becomes your reality. So, it’s important to prioritise things other than men in both your thinking and speaking habits. It’s also important to have female friends who think in a similar fashion and discuss things other than men, because how on earth are we going to reclaim our power from men if all we do is sit around and talk about them?