Charlie’s Diary: Bechdel’s Law

Charlie’s Diary: Bechdel’s Law

The current decade is characterized by security anxieties writ large, a socially conservative culture of retreat from liberalism, and a strong anti-feminist backlash. Our popular media, far from being the bastions of liberal values that conservatives say they are, are actually belwethers of popular culture, amplifying, reinforcing, and reflecting our culture’s normative values back at us the silver screen. What they’re showing this decade is really rather disturbing if you happen to agree with the core feminist ideological belief that women are real people too, not just baby factories and sex objects.

TV has always been bad — a hypothetical alien trying to make deductions about humanity by watching our TV signals would conclude that our normal gender ratio is four males to each female, and that’s just for starters! — but of late, the messages coming at us out of the mass media are nothing short of toxic. If movies and TV objectified people of colour the way they do women, the only reasonable conclusion one could draw would be that a concerted propaganda campaign was under way to return us to the unquestioned institutional racism of the 1950s.

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