1. Does the work have at least two women in it?
2. Who talk to each other?
3. About something other than men?
It comes from a comic by Alison Bechdel called Dykes to Watch Out For. One of the characters suggests that she doesn't watch movies that don't pass this test.
Even though it originally came up in the context of film, it's a curious experiment to think about it in other contexts. Do the fantasy novels I've just spent the last week qualify? (on the whole, no) What about the fic? (pretty much no) My favorite television shows? (not often) Every episode? (nope)
It seems like such a simple thing. I do it every day (I mean talk to women about something other than men). And yet...
Now, I'm not advocating that every single mm slashfic has to have two women in it who are talking to each other about something else. And I'm certainly not going to boycott texts or films that I don't think will pass this test. But when the sexes are evenly divided out in the world, why don't we have more parity in our fictional texts?
more links about the Bechdel Test
[ wiki on DtWOF ] [ bechdel test movie list ]