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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old June 15 2013, 02:35 AM   #211
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
My 14 year old girl refuses to see STID as she doesn't like science fiction. Yet 'Hunger Games' is her favourite movie.
This is one of the very few movies that has a female 'hero'.
And it's great that she's speaking with her money (well your money ).

Which is what I've been trying to get at all along. I don't know what's important to women (I barely understand them and I've been married twenty years ) and it's not for me to decide what is important. Especially in this day where women's economic and political power continues to grow. I simply think we're at a point where women will use their power to decide what's acceptable to them.
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Old June 15 2013, 02:38 AM   #212
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

KIRK: Let me ask you something, I think we all know the answer to. The Bechdel Test itself is a cheat, isn't it? You programmed it to be unwinnable.

ALLISON BECHDEL: Your argument precludes the possibility of a no-win scenario.

KIRK: I don't believe in no-win scenarios.
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Old June 15 2013, 02:40 AM   #213
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Lance wrote: View Post
KIRK: Let me ask you something, I think we all know the answer to. The Bechdel Test itself is a cheat, isn't it? You programmed it to be unwinnable.
ALLISON BECHDEL: Your argument precludes the possibility of a no-win scenario.
KIRK: I don't believe in no-win scenarios.
I think it lost all validity when "Two Girls and a Cup" passes.
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Old June 15 2013, 02:50 AM   #214
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Me: "Do you care that there are less women in movies than men?"

My Wife: "Not really."
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Old June 15 2013, 04:37 AM   #215
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Count Zero wrote: View Post
...one movie passing or not passing the Bechdel Test isn't significant at all. Taking the passing or failing of the test as a verdict on the movie's stand on feminism is missing the point of the test.

There may be good reasons for a movie to fail the test (e.g. it plays in an environment that's almost exclusively male like the army before women were allowed to serve). In this case it's the fact that the TOS main characters are all male with the exception of Uhura. I bet TOS doesn't pass the Bechdel Test, either (at least not the version where the dialogue between the two women has to be longer than a couple of words).

A feminist movie might fail the Bechdel Test, e.g. one showing a pioneering woman in a male-dominated field, while movies or TV shows might pass the test that aren't very feminist, e.g. teenage girls talking about make-up and shopping.

The point of the Bechdel Test is that like 80% of Hollywood's annual output doesn't pass it which shows quite well how women are generally portrayed in the movies, namely as accesories to the male characters.

The inventor of the test explained all this when she invented the test so it's annoying that people still use failing the Bechdel Test (or not passing it quickly enough in the case of a TV show) as a way to denounce said movie or TV show as sexist or not very progressive.
Going back a few pages, but I think this post bears repeating.

(Also, it's easier to quote then generate the same thought myself. What can I say except that I'm a bit lazy?)
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Old June 15 2013, 05:47 AM   #216
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Is it right that women are denied work because of the prejudice of the writers?
Yes. Writers should have that freedom.
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Old June 15 2013, 06:15 AM   #217
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Ask your wife if she thinks that actresses should get less work than actors because the jobs are not made available for women.
Qualified yes from me (female, medical scientist). Qualified because it's not ideal but this isn't an ideal world and this is something the actresses should have known about going in to their job.

I agree that the creative team should be able to cast as they think appropriate; this movie is in line with previous Star Trek so if it bothered me I would have skipped seeing it. If it bothered me alot I would have skipped it and found someone relevant to tell why I skipped it.

As it is I find the issue trivial enough that I hadn't thought of it 'til I saw this thread.
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Old June 15 2013, 09:29 AM   #218
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Clancy_s wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Ask your wife if she thinks that actresses should get less work than actors because the jobs are not made available for women.
Qualified yes from me (female, medical scientist). Qualified because it's not ideal but this isn't an ideal world and this is something the actresses should have known about going in to their job.

I agree that the creative team should be able to cast as they think appropriate; this movie is in line with previous Star Trek so if it bothered me I would have skipped seeing it. If it bothered me alot I would have skipped it and found someone relevant to tell why I skipped it.

As it is I find the issue trivial enough that I hadn't thought of it 'til I saw this thread.
I think this typifies most women's approach actually. A qualified yes is probably the right answer I think BUT as I said earlier the qualification isn't quite balanced yet. I don't think writers are deliberately casting less women because of a creative choice. I'm absolutely convinced that in most cases they aren't even aware that they're doing it because they create one character at a time and their unconscious default setting is male.

The average war film is going to be male heavy. Others will have a plot that intentionally favours one gender, like 'Dead Poet's Society'. There is one scene in Eddie Murphy's 'Boomerang' which is otherwise a very obvious and silly movie (but then it is Eddie Murphy and he rarely does subtle) where he is walking into the office and they make an intentional dig at Hollywood's laissez faire attitude to casting extras because every employee wandering around in the background is black. It was deliberate but I approve because it was satirical. It's true to say that racial casting has come a long way since the late eighties and early nineties.

If you look at the bridge of the Enterprise, there are a lot of women extras. The creators simply fall down when dealing with 'senior' characters like Starfleet brass, captains and first officers, security staff and, oddly, Vulcan priesthood/leadership, which has never previously been portrayed as male heavy. It's not creative choice IMO it's a failure to think logically or a failure to think at all. Trying to raise awareness of the issue is the right way to go.
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Old June 15 2013, 10:02 AM   #219
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

CrazyHorse89 wrote: View Post
The problem is that the Carol Marcus underwear scene served no purpose other than to titillate. She's wearing a push-up bra for God's sake.
Yeah, and while they're at it, turn Ilia's white robe into a maxi skirt and gum boots, and airbrush Shana the drill thrall's silver bikini into a chainmail pullover.

Honestly, what's wrong with Bad Robot replicating an aspect many, many Trek fans used to watch TOS to see?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Vulcan priesthood/leadership, which has never previously been portrayed as male heavy.
Huh?

"Amok Time"'s ceremony was almost all male, plus T'Pau and T'Pring.

TMP had three priests: two male, one female.

At least one of the Vulcans rescued from the Hall of Ancient Thought in ST 2009 was female - possibly T'Pau herself?
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Old June 15 2013, 10:23 AM   #220
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
CrazyHorse89 wrote: View Post
The problem is that the Carol Marcus underwear scene served no purpose other than to titillate. She's wearing a push-up bra for God's sake.
Yeah, and while they're at it, turn Ilia's white robe into a maxi skirt and gum boots, and airbrush Shana the drill thrall's silver bikini into a chainmail pullover.

Honestly, what's wrong with Bad Robot replicating an aspect many, many Trek fans used to watch TOS to see?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Vulcan priesthood/leadership, which has never previously been portrayed as male heavy.
Huh?

"Amok Time"'s ceremony was almost all male, plus T'Pau and T'Pring.

TMP had three priests: two male, one female.

At least one of the Vulcans rescued from the Hall of Ancient Thought in ST 2009 was female - possibly T'Pau herself?
The space bikini is iconic Trek just like the chain mail bikini is iconic Dungeons & Dragons but let's face it they've always been very silly.

Yeah sorry, my loose use of language lets me down sometimes. I realise that Vulcan ceremonies traditionally seemed to segregate the sexes, you get something similar with T'Lar in STIII as well, I think, but they gave us three Vulcan priestess/matriarchs previously and I thought it was a bit of a let down that we didn't get some kind of female spokesman somewhere in there. It is tiresome that we got one matriarch and more male priests in TMP but 2:1 (yet again sigh) is better with the woman is in charge than 2:1 with the man in charge because at least an (older) actress is being given lines. 2:1 is not so terrible where you only have 3 characters. 2:1 if you have thirty characters is more telling I suppose. It would be nice to see 2:1 women for a change though.

I hope the elder was meant to be T'Pau. The next issue of ongoing should confirm this. I will weep if they've carted her off to the rim like Dehner and Chapel.
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Old June 15 2013, 10:36 AM   #221
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Speaking of quoting people because what they've said bears repeating, especially since some of the insults and ad hominem attacks on this thread provide proof positive in my eyes why this topic is still important, here's a 2008 quote (forgive the length please) from a former screenwriting student at UCLA:

Anyway, the test is much simpler than the name. To pass it your movie must have the following:

1) there are at least two named female characters, who
2) talk to each other about
3) something other than a man.

So simple, and yet as you go through all your favorite movies (and most of your favorite TV shows, though there’s a little more variety in TV), you find very few movies pass this test.

It’s not a coincidence. It’s not that there aren’t enough women behind the camera (there aren’t, but that’s not the reason). Here’s what we’re up against (and for those who have requested a single post that summarizes my experiences in film for linking reference, now you’ve got it).

When I started taking film classes at UCLA, I was quickly informed I had what it took to go all the way in film. I was a damn good writer, but more importantly (yeah, you didn’t think good writing was a main prerequisite in this industry, did you?) I understood the process of rewriting to cope with budget (and other) limitations. I didn’t hesitate to rip out my most beloved scenes when necessary. I also did a lot of research and taught myself how to write well-paced action/adventure films that would be remarkably cheap to film – that was pure gold.

There was just one little problem.

I had to understand that the audience only wanted white, straight, male leads. I was assured that as long as I made the white, straight men in my scripts prominent, I could still offer groundbreaking characters of other descriptions (fascinating, significant women, men of color, etc.) – as long as they didn’t distract the audience from the white men they really paid their money to see.

I was stunned. I’d just moved from a state that still held Ku Klux Klan rallies only to find an even more insidious form of bigotry in California – running an industry that shaped our entire culture. But they kept telling me lots of filmmakers wanted to see the same changes I did, and if I did what it took to get into the industry and accrue some power, then I could start pushing the envelope and maybe, just maybe, change would finally happen. So I gave their advice a shot.

Only to learn there was still something wrong with my writing, something unanticipated by my professors. My scripts had multiple women with names. Talking to each other. About something other than men. That, they explained nervously, was not okay. I asked why. Well, it would be more accurate to say I politely demanded a thorough, logical explanation that made sense for a change (I’d found the “audience won’t watch women!” argument pretty questionable, with its ever-shifting reasons and parameters).
At first I got several tentative murmurings about how it distracted from the flow or point of the story. I went through this with more than one professor, more than one industry professional.

Finally, I got one blessedly telling explanation from an industry pro: “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”


“Not even if it advances the story?” I asked. That’s rule number one in screenwriting, though you’d never know it from watching most movies: every moment in a script should reveal another chunk of the story and keep it moving.

He just looked embarrassed and said, “I mean, that’s not how I see it, that’s how they see it.”

Right. A bunch of self-back-slapping professed liberals wouldn’t want you to think they routinely dismiss women in between writing checks to Greenpeace. Gosh, no – it was they. The audience. Those unsophisticated jackasses we effectively worked for when we made films. They were making us do this awful thing. […]

According to Hollywood, if two women came on screen and started talking, the target male audience’s brain would glaze over and assume the women were talking about nail polish or shoes or something that didn’t pertain to the story. Only if they heard the name of a man in the story would they tune back in. By having women talk to each other about something other than men, I was “losing the audience.”

Was I?

There certainly are still men in this world who tune out women when we talk, but – as I and other students pointed out – this was getting less common with every generation, and weren’t we supposed to be targeting the youngest generation?

These young men had grown up with women imparting news on national TV (even I can remember when that was rare), prescribing them medicine, representing people around them in court, doling out mortgages and loans. Those boys wouldn’t understand those early ’80s movies where women were denied promotions because “the clients want to deal with men” or “who would take a woman doctor/lawyer/cop seriously”? A lot of these kids would need it explained to them why Cagney & Lacey was revolutionary, because many of their moms had worked in fields once dominated by men.

We had a whole generation too young to remember why we needed second wave feminism, for cryin’ out loud, and here we were adhering to rules from the 1950s. I called bullshit, and left film for good, opting to fight the system from without. […]

I concluded Hollywood was was dominated by perpetual pre-adolescent boys making the movies they wanted to see, and using the “target audience” – a construct based on partial truths and twisted math – to perpetuate their own desires. Having never grown up, they still saw women the way Peter Pan saw Wendy: a fascinating Other to be captured, treasured and stuffed into a gilded cage. Where we didn’t talk. To each other. About anything other than men.
I've been reading a lot on this subject lately and, in particular, the contributions women have made in film since its beginning. It's interesting to me that at one time, the whole film watching experience was designed towards making the film watching experience a "respectable" activity for women and young ladies (and the remnants of that still exist today with modern theaters). As the middle class grew, and women had jobs from working during WW2, and thus more disposable income, women were more in control of how disposable income was used.

Women also seemed to have more control behind the camera when film was first getting off of its feet. Then, it seems as though once it became a profitable and sustainable "industry," that women were pushed out or relegated to lessor positions on average.

So, earlier on, women's opinions in film really counted, and women were even courted. The same thing was the case, it seems to me with the ST09 movie. JJ said that he knew that in order for it "to work," that women were going to need to like it too. That focus seems to have changed with this last STID film.

I've read some older women stating that some films they loved in the 1940's, even 30's, like His Girl Friday, do better with women (not women minorities, though), than many films today. I can't say if that's true or not, only that I've read some older women saying that.

Anyway, for anyone who’s interested, here’s the link to what I quoted: http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-...-bechdel-test/

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Old June 15 2013, 10:40 AM   #222
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Finally, I got one blessedly telling explanation from an industry pro: “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”
Crap, so when I say I think the creators are simply not thinking about their gender bias I was being TOO generous. That's... appalling.

I stand by what I've been saying with renewed vigour!

Actually, as a script writer, you could do me a favour - I've been trying really hard to even up the numbers in my Star Trek motion comic on the youtube link below but it may be that I'm not practising what I preach. If you can spare ten minutes (and overlook the cheesy plot that rips off as many franchises as I can think of) I'd be interested to know if I'm near the mark I should be aiming for...
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Old June 15 2013, 10:56 AM   #223
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Finally, I got one blessedly telling explanation from an industry pro: “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”
Crap, so when I say I think the creators are simply not thinking about their gender bias I was being TOO generous. That's... appalling.

I stand by what I've been saying with renewed vigour!

Actually, as a script writer, you could do me a favour - I've been trying really hard to even up the numbers in my Star Trek motion comic on the youtube link below but it may be that I'm not practising what I preach. If you can spare ten minutes (and overlook the cheesy plot that rips off as many franchises as I can think of) I'd be interested to know if I'm near the mark I should be aiming for...
I don't read comics, so I'm not sure if I'd be the best person to tell you how things should work within that format, but send me the link, and I'll give it a go.

Also, for the people that seem to think that anyone asking for equality in the writing (which should at least be a goal considering that they are writing about a future a few hundred years away where we've supposedly "advanced" as a people more), it's not just a few people "crying," and "whining" about how women were treated in this film.

I think if that were the case, then JJ would not have bothered to do an interview where he said that "more" needs to be done with women in the next film which, to me, acknowledges that "enough" wasn't done in this one (STID).

The Australian article and video link are entitled: JJ Abrams admits 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' a bit sexist.
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Old June 15 2013, 11:03 AM   #224
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

It's too bad that films that pass the test tend to be unabashed "chick flick" ensembles like Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias.

It's hard to reboot TOS without rebooting a male-dominated cast.
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Old June 15 2013, 11:12 AM   #225
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
I don't read comics, so I'm not sure if I'd be the best person to tell you how things should work within that format, but send me the link, and I'll give it a go.

The Australian article and video link are entitled: JJ Abrams admits 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' a bit sexist.
Thanks! The format is limited by the available images and I just threw it together so but I think I just scrape by in the first episode because Uhura cracks a joke with Rand. The subsequent episodes feature a lot more women as the cast expands though so the first one is not the best example thinking about it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/pauln6/videos

Hmm looking back, some elements that I needed to set up for later plot elements, such as Rand's flirtation with the security guard are a bit girly but I tried not to portray Rand too much as a damsel in distress and more like an 'everyman'. I also needed to establish a friendship with the guard to try and give a bit more impact later on. I hope it didn't come across as too stereotypical.
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