Archive for daisybones

The Bechdel Examination: Rose & The End of the World

I’m pleased to announce that I have high hopes for the Bechdel Test scores. The first two (NuWho) episodes pass the test. I’d assign an extra few points to “The End of the World” for treatment of gender reassignment as completely incidental. Happily, 5 billion years in the future, we are a gender-enlightened people: When the Lady Cassandra O’Brien.Δ17 mentions her boyhood on Earth, Rose doesn’t register so much as a flicker of surprise or interest. (Sadly, Cassandra is a blatant racist. So I guess we’ll still have that.) I’ve always loved her character as a funny hyperbole showing the (il)logical extension of our obsession with beauty and thinness.

Also funny? Jackie. I fucking LOVE Jackie. Her attempt to seduce the Doctor is hilarious to me. I read this as some inherent feminism from the mind of Russel T. Davies as if he thought, See how ridiculous it is two have a one-dimensionally sexualized character for a minute there? This was my first Dr. Who episode, and the first time I saw it I read the Doctor’s reaction as an assurance that sexual tension wasn’t going to be a crutch to give the characters emotional depth. (I’m looking at you, every American television program ever.) The dynamic between Jackie and Rose rounds out the depth of their characters. Almost the entirety of the Bechdel-qualifying dialogue in Rose is Jackie and Rose arguing about money and Rose’s job. Their relationship feels very textured and authentic.

I wanted to present the introduction of the reboot with some care, but I’ll be condensing more episodes into each future “Bechdel” post.

Current score: 2/2

The Bechdel Examination

I’m not entirely convinced that Doctor Who is a feminist program- But I really want to be. I vaguely feel that it is, but I’ve never really poked at the idea. Then I found myself raising my hand on Twitter to write for Doctor Her and now it seems rather necessary to decide my stance on the franchise. Feminism being famously subjective, I floundered a moment. How do I assign a pass or fail grade to my beloved show?

Happily, Alison Bechdel exists with her elegant method of analyzing pop culture. Her criteria, most often called The Bechdel Test, are these:

(1) it has to have at least two women in it, who

(2) who talk to each other, about

(3) something besides a man.

See Bechdel’s comic episode The Rule from Dykes to Watch Out For,  The Bechdel Test site with a list of movies, and The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies on

This is where I get a little crazy:

Imma test every freaking episode.

I’m limiting myself to the reboot (NuWho) for completion’s sake- I don’t have access to the entire run. I’ll start with “Rose” and after that, because I care about your sanity, compile several episodes into each entry.

Of course, this also functions as a ruse to  justify hours and hours of Netflix time away from my husband and daughter, but don’t tell anyone.  All they need to know is Mama’s doing RESEARCH. Also: I’m assuming Timelord = Man Person, because I’m anticipating every possible detail will be scrutinized by the smartest fandom in history.

Somebody bring me some coffee*- I have a spreadsheet to design!

Image credits: promo shot from the BBC, magnifying glass by Auntie P under a Creative Commons license. Mad Photoshop skillz my own.

*I know I’m required by law to at least pretend to prefer tea, but I’m an Appalachian America and the only tea I drink is comically sweet and iced.