Friday, 8 February 2013

How movies teach manhood

This is a fascinating TEDx talk by Colin Stokes, put my way by close friend and great Dad Paul Redford.

'Is Girl Power going to protect them if at the same time, actively or passively, we are training our sons to maintain their Boy Power? … I think we have got to show our sons a new definition of manhood… I want fewer tests where my son is told "go out and fight it alone", and more quests where he sees it his job to go out and join a team.'

Give it 13 minutes of your time.

It has introduced me to the fabulous idea of the Bechdel test, which can be applied to film and other media. It's three simple questions:

1. Are there at least two women?
2. Do they talk to each other?
3. About something other than a man?

There is a user-edited database of some 3,300 films classified by whether or not they pass the test, with the added requirement that the women must be named characters. As of July 2012, it listed 53% of these films as passing all three of the test's requirements, 11% as failing one (the women's conversations are about men), 25% as failing two (the women don't talk to each other) and 11% as failing all three (there are not two named female characters).


I'd like to introduce the Sutton test, which will be applied mostly to supermarket ads:

1. Is there a man in it?
2. Is he a Dad?
3. Is he being anything other than a dickhead?

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