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Bechdel's Law for Writers
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Don't think I've done the Bechdel's Law thing for my books, and I'm seeing it pop up meme-style online, so here goes. Bechdel's Law, from Alison Bechdel, is a test to see whether a movie is worth watching from a feminist perspective. To qualify:

1. It has to have at least two women in it,

2. Who talk to each other,

3. About something besides a man.

I don't make movies, but as for my books...

Rangergirl: Passes, though I'll admit Marzi and Lindsay do spend a lot of time talking about a man. Marzi and Alice and Marzi and Jane talk about other stuff pretty often, though.

Blood Engines: Yep. Actually all the Marla books pass. Off the top of my head, Marla and Susan Wellstone certainly talk about things other than men (like trying to kill each other), as do Marla and the cannibal witch Bethany. In Poison Sleep Marla and Dr. Husch talk, and Marla and Genevieve talk, and Marla and Nicolette talk, and so on. In Dead Reign we've got Marla and Dr. Husch again, plus Marla and the Chamberlain, and Marla and [spoilers redacted]. Spell Games is very boy heavy, being mostly about Marla's brother, but she does have another chat with Nicolette and with the Chamberlain. Marla has a lot of female business associates and adversaries, so it's pretty easy for those books to pass.

The Light of a Better World is kinda dicey -- it's got a male protagonist (my only novel where the major viewpoint character is a dude), and the two most important female characters almost never spend any time in the same scenes together... and when they do, they largely talk about the aforementioned male major viewpoint character (or the male antagonist). Hmm. I think it passes, since they spend some time insulting each other, but it's a close one.

It's useful stuff to think about. Not in a prescriptive way -- I wouldn't go inserting scenes into a story just to bring it up to code, because there can be quite legitimate reasons for a story not to pass (I recently wrote one where the only characters are a dead body, a stick, some snow, and a rock, for instance, and I'm sure I've written an all-boy story or two) -- but if a lot of your work fails the test, it might be worth confronting some unconscious assumptions.

I smell a Wiscon panel! (Not that I'd actually propose one. I go to Wiscon to socialize and drink, not to do panels.)

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