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Women in Comics: DC vs Marvel, The Bechdel Test
spider hole
thalestral wrote in feminist_geeks
I'm a comics journalist, and normally my writing focuses on women creators in comics and the portrayal of women characters. But the Bechdel Test is so famous, and so equally derided by a lot of the general readership, that I figured it was worth a go to Bechdel Test ALL THE THINGS.

Or at least the comics I had to hand. I also did a Reverse Bechdel Test alongside the normal test, to help illustrate the divide between the portrayal of men and women in comics.

Obviously the Bechdel Test is just one aspect of looking at the issue as a whole, but I found the results surprisingly encouraging. At least for DC, where the results showed a lot of balance across my titles, and where the women led titles like Batwoman helped pick up the slack. And normally I'm focusing on all the other angles, so it was a nice change.

The full article is here: Women in Comics: DC vs Marvel, The Bechdel Test

Happily, the discussion I've seen about this piece on other forums is mostly guys saying the Reverse Bechdel Test has made them see the imbalance properly. So feel free to share :D

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There are. X-23 has her own series, and iirc Black Widow is getting one. Even so, to be more even the OP could have used more team-based comics and not mostly male-lead comics. They at least could've included an X-Men title, cos those comics all have tons and tons of female main and supporting characters whereas, you know, Thor, not so much.

Most Marvel comics are group or team based, unless they're one of the Big Names who've been around forever (Spidey, Iron Man, etc.). But those teams usually have women on them talking about things other than a man (in a romantic context, anyway.. I don't think anyone would count, say, Jan and Wanda talking about how much they hate Kang the Conquerer).

idk, the Bechdel test seems a pretty poor indicator of the treatment of female characters in comics anyway. I mean, generally speaking.. DC treats women characters like shit. Marvel is less horrific.

X-23 is cancelled. There were a bunch of female led books I mentioned in the article that were all cancelled between 2011 and earlier this year sadly.

The idea that Marvel is better for women characters is prevalent but very little to back it up in the current ongoings. Marvel cancels women, which is a shame.

They at least could've included an X-Men title...

They did. Uncanny X-Men and X-Factor. The latter did very poorly, the former mediocrely.

And for the Bechdel test, yes, even complaining about a guy causes the conversation to not pass. The point is that said conversation focuses on a guy, positive or negative. No one's saying that the Bechdel test is good yardstick for how to view a specific work, but it is a good measurement of general trends when it comes to media.

The latter was definitely what I was going for.. I think Animal Man is a pretty good example of both the merits and disadvantages of the Bechdel Test. But for building up an overall picture, it's one of many useful tools.

I'm a huge X-Men fan by the way, though I tend to prefer the older arcs in comparison to the current ones. (And I still miss Runaways!)

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