Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Shaka Zulu, Jun 6, 2013.

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  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No it doesn't, nor would it even if it was actually based anything. You're simply being argumentative, and you've already admitted you don't know what you're talking about, so why should I take you seriously?
     
  2. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Once again, I think the cultural divide intervenes between us. Perhaps 'talking out of your ass' has a very specific meaning in your nation but it has a very generic meaning here. What I meant was, I haven't carried out scientific or sociological studies to prove my case empirically (neither have you I assume). Now that I look back though, I have studied advanced level sociology, social and developmental psychology, and sex discrimination law. Also, my English literature thesis was on gender roles in sci fi, examining the differences in the approach to gender in the Handmaids Tale, the Drowned World, and Ape & Essence. I may seem like I don't know anything to you but maybe I know more of what I'm talking about than I thought!

    I think I have made some points that are worthy of debate and I have tried to provide examples. It has been pointed out that my use of terms such as gender, gender roles, and gender stereotypes interchangeably has caused some confusion. If anybody would like me to re-post in a way that clarifies my meaning, just post the definitions you would like me to use and I will re-edit. I'm still not clear on the qualitative difference between a 'traditional gender role' and a 'gender stereotype' if I'm honest. Can you provide any examples? The religious example didn't really clear it up for me because I can see that a religious tradition is very different from a religious stereotype. I'm just not clear on how I can translate that to gender.

    For example, I can see that being a mother is not, in itself a gender stereotype, obviously, however, being a female character in a movie whose existence is defined exclusively by being the mother or wife of another character is IMO a gender stereotype in that medium. Is that where we are getting our wires crossed?

    Overall, though, you shouldn't take me any more seriously than I should take you! This is just a forum and we're voicing lay opinions in order to engender good natured debate. I am happy to continue, if you don't want to continue, you don't have to. :techman:
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unless you can be bothered to at least READ them, your "playing devil's advocate" is a waste of time.

    Obviously.

    It's one thing to have an uninformed opinion. It's another thing to pretend your opinion is informed even while being fully aware that it isn't.
     
  4. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not sure that sociology, psychology, law, and a thesis on the subject qualifies as 'uninformed' but I'll concede that was a while ago. I have also read two recent articles illustrating that the gender divide in movies has got worse. ~You also haven't provided me with any clarification on the definitions to qualify my earlier post.

    But I'll bite - refer me to one of the studies that support your viewpoint and I'll compare them to my viewpoint. :vulcan:
     
  5. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Not so. It has a point. What it was never intended to be was a catch-all litmus test.

    Indeed, the comic which marks the first appearance of what would become known as the Bechdel Test didn't call it a test at all. It was simply "The Rule" - essentially a thought exercise which functioned as a kind of sorting process.
     
  6. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And constitutes a bit of deadpan humor: if you actually adhere to the Bechdel Rule, it means you've seen maybe six movies in the past twenty years, and most of them weren't all that good.
     
  7. Clancy_s

    Clancy_s Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Getting changed behind him without warning in the midst of a professional discussion IMO is not the action of an adult (nor even an adolescent, but cultures vary), which is the reason I find it intrusively silly - it's a very bad fit with Carol's personality elsewhere in the film.

    It doesn't tell me much about Kirk I didn't already know - he's attracted to women and he likes to look at the person he's talking to, which is a common human trait...
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    "Who are you?"

    You remember that Carol led Kirk into the shuttlecraft for a reason that Kirk didn't understand, right? "Where are we going?" he asked, or something like that. If it was just a professional conversation, they didn't need to be alone like that. She led him in there in order to change in front of him, pretty clearly. If she'd wanted privacy, she could have asked him to wait outside for a moment, or changed ahead of time, or afterwards.
     
  9. Silversmok3

    Silversmok3 Commander Red Shirt

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    But we must now ask what the point of this sorting exercise is?

    Plenty of weak movies pass ,and many strong movies fail.I'd rather judge the worth of a movie in its entirety instead of an arbitrary scene with two female characters.Its like judging a computer by the color of the keyboard.
     
  10. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Bechdel test is a good rule of thumb but not perfect.
    If you think about it - if in one entire movie two women don't even have a conversation it sounds pretty bad.

    But I like watching sci-fi and for good or bad that mostly seems to have male dominated casts. I'm sure rom-coms easily pass the Bechdel test but I don't watch them.
    I think in STID you had about 10 named men (if Keenser is male) and two named women so its pretty hard to get the woman-woman conversation in just as we didn't have a Scotty -Sulu, Adm Marcus- Chekov, Uhura-Pike, McCoy-Chekov, etc dialog
     
  11. Clancy_s

    Clancy_s Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    On reflection timing aside this idea is weirdly attractive - although it still doesn't seem like a likely way of going after an adult ongoing relationship to me, but that could be cultural skew on my part (Australian, female).

    It'd work if she saw Kirk as a floozie and was after a quick bonk, no strings attached but given their situation it was an incredibly inappropriate time to be going after him - IMO you'd have to posit Carol has the same emotional age as Kirk...

    I doubt the writers thought about that much, IMO they just took a lazy approach to getting Carol out of her clothes, YMMV
     
  12. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I saw STID for a 7nth time yesterday and noticed there was a woman at the meeting that Kirk interrupted. I thought it was the dark haired woman with the Vulcan hair cut we saw in the detonated meeting but didn't that woman get shot in the leg? Because this woman was walking just fine when Marcus shooed them all away. There is a slight possibility she was just walking in the background though as I didn't actually see her at the table, but saw her leave.

    Not that one is all that much better than none.
     
  13. Clancy_s

    Clancy_s Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    iirc the woman who was shot in the leg had long hair in a bun so the other one could have been at the meeting. 1 is better than 0 - infinitely so if you're a mathematician. ;)
     
  14. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    JJ should still have looked at that scene and thought hmmm... something is missing.

    I'm remembering the bun now.
     
  15. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Before the firing, when Pike is saying to Marcus that Kirk is adjusting to his new role as First Officer - there is a dark-haired woman in the background with a "bob" or "page-boy" cut to Pike's right She is out of focused but IIRC the haircut exposed her ears (or at least one ear). Could she be the one in the interrupted meeting?
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I've said before, Bechdel aside the problem I have with many films is the the female characters are rarely acting out of personal agency...that is, what they WANT is typically tied to a man (relationship issue, daddy issue, etc.) and that women are often portrayed as using sex to get what they want, which is the whole Vamp stereotype that goes back a century. Where's the woman who gives up a relationship for a career? Where're the "no beach to walk on" female characters?
     
  17. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    The vacillation between "traditional" and "progressive" ideals (in the US anyway) seems to be in sync (not perfectly, but broadly) with the general public's degree of anxiety in uncertain economic times. The late 50s to late 60s was a time of economic prosperity in the US and it was a period of transition away from "traditional" towards "progressive" ideas. Cultural time lag being what it is, that transition peaked in the 1970s (think of Mary Tyler Moore, Norma Rae, Faye Dunaway's character in Network, Maude) across a broad swath of the pop culture landscape. Not perfect by any means, but a major change from Father Knows Best-type perspectives.

    The uncertainty of the 70s bred a step back to tradition which manifested in the 80s in many ways, though never as much as in the 50s/early 60s (two steps forward, one step back, rather than the reverse). Then, with the (in retrospect somewhat shaky) economic confidence of the 80s followed a surge in progressive women characters in pop culture (Murphy Brown, Designing Women, Thelma and Louise--again, hardly perfect, but still busting through against tradition). And so on. The 2000s, thus far, have been a long series of years of uncertainty--first with 9/11, the wars, the economic upheaval--so traditional ideals have made a come-back. By now, though, with half a century of tidal changes, the figurative seashore/landscape is different. Tradition may have its champions (quite loud, in some cases) but progressive ideas are not lying down without resistance.

    Moreover, considerable progress has already been made and retained, such that some of the points that seem to be crucial in terms of championing progressive ideals, in relative terms (witness many of the exchanges in this thread), are, in absolute terms, rather small when compared to the mid-20th century. This is not to suggest that "success has been attained, no more need be done" but rather a reminder that, taken in the larger context, some of the points being fought over might not be worth the energy when there are still significant shortcomings in other areas that demand greater attention. Just something to consider.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And while all interesting points, they don't forgive the piss-poor portrayals of women as characters in much of the media so much as rationalize them.
     
  19. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    I wasn't looking to forgive them. My day job is to offer explanations for why things have occurred they way they did, not advocate or condemn them. In my free time, I offer my own views on such things more directly. I think it is a serious shame that pop culture portrayals of women are less progressive now, in a number of ways, than they were when I was in elementary school in the 1970s--but I also don't like the idea that we, as an audience, are entitled to be satisfied by makers of art and entertainment according to how we think things ought to be. The power of the wallet and the power of persuasive argument are two useful ways to advocate change. But (and I'm not placing you, specifically, in this camp) the tendency to get excessively outraged over rather minor things in an effort to draw attention to a particular "wrong" is often counterproductive. So while making a persuasive case for improving the portrayal of women characters in Trek, for example, is laudable--suggesting misogyny is at work to explain why Uhura's phaser was somewhat ineffectual in the scene where she fires at Khan, on the other hand, is simply absurd and laughable.
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    It's often no-win. Diahann Carroll as TV's "Julia" was lauded as progressive for its time, and yet I've heard people scoff, "Yeah, but she was mostly just 'a mother' and 'a nurse' (caring profession), why not a doctor instead?"

    Action figure companies learned long ago that female characters are often the peg-warmers in a wave ("Buffy" action figures a relatively recent exception), so females are often the shortpacks. Or left out completely. Galoob TNG series didn't include Troi or Crusher, only Yar. Playmates' first wave had Troi (initially the shortpack) and Crusher was saved for Wave 2, and was often found on the pegs even a decade later! Pulaski and Yar seemed to have smaller production runs as a result.

    Are enough female TV writers writing strong female characters who don't only discuss men in dialogue? (We had Jeri Taylor writing Janeway in VOY.)
     
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