Bull

This week I was duped! Oh, the drama.

I asked on Twitter if anyone who had seen Bullhead knew if it passed the Bechdel test. From the trailer it didn’t look likely but someone, who it turns out was the script consultant for the film, told me it did.

Well, it doesn’t. I paid my £4 to see it at the Prince Charles Cinema and I sat through the whole film waiting for it to pass and feeling a mixture of disappointment & annoyance.

I was annoyed because I’d been misinformed but also because this whole experience was playing on my mind and I became annoyed at the very fact that I’m doing this experiment because of the lack of representation of women in films and that I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy a film because, once again, I was watching a bunch of men telling me men’s stories.

Even looking back at all the films I’ve watched this year at the cinema, NONE of them have focussed exclusively on women’s stories. Bullhead focusses on men’s stories only. The women are incidental devices. But in none of the Bechdel-passing-films I’ve seen so far have there been any where men have only been used as devices to tell women’s stories. So even with this experiment, I am not seeing fewer men’s stories.

I’m only 6 films in, so maybe this will even up over time but I’m not hugely optimistic.

The guy who tweeted me did offer to refund me, so at least my annoyance was acknowledged. I turned down the offer though, because isn’t accepting money off a stranger on Twitter really weird?

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5 thoughts on “Bull

  1. That’s pretty poor from the misinformant.

    The thing that keeps going through my mind re: Bechdel, is that while many of the films that don’t pass the Bechdel test are perfectly passable or even great movies, not necessarily prejudiced or misojygnistic (seriously can’t spell this word!), when you look at a group of films it’s depressing how often they focus on the male perspective or present stereotypical/negative portrayals of women and their roles,
    or simply sideline them.

  2. One noticeable trope of late this Oscar season is the continuation of the “behind every great man is a great woman” thing. It will only do for so long. Eventually it has to be great women on their own terms, or even not so great women shown flawed but accepted as flawed men are forgiven in film where women are not.

    The films in question, Lincoln, Hitchcock, to some extent DJango, The Master can all be forgiven to some extent because they are portraying historical events, where the woman ‘s role was limited for one reason or another, but it does get boring to see the same dynamic on screen time after time. There must be so many people crying out for proper depictions of women in film, it just makes you think “who the hell makes the rules? who is it that decides they think they know what we want to watch?”

    • I could go on forever. I’d recommend Zero Dark Thirty. To me, it’s a film where it’s important and not ignored that the protagonist is a woman, but at the same time in that genre she could just as easily be a man. Found it refreshing (if long).

  3. I think if I limited myself to films that featured primarily narratives that focussed on women, I’d see very few films this year indeed. I’m definitely going to see Zero Dark Thirty.

    One film I really enjoyed recently (ish) because it had such a terrific variety of women’s stories was The Help. Felt like a real rarity because of this.

    • And The Help is one of those films that really captured peoples’ imaginations at the time. It probably did better than expected because it catered for an underserved market.

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