Recently I was watching a show about a girl who wants to be a romance novelist and her grad school advisor tells her that her novel needed to pass the Bechdel Test. If you don’t know what that means, fret not, I SHALL TELL YOU (because they explained it on the show and now I am totally knowledgable and a complete genius).
To pass the test, you must have at least two female characters who talk about something other than a man. Super simple. But here’s the thing: I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that in my daily life, the majority of the time, I don’t pass that test.
So here I am, a feminist who believes in the powerful, independent woman, and my life revolves around men. I journal about men in my life, I write songs about love and love lost, I talk to my friends about their boyfriends, I rant to them about the guys who haven’t called, I read stories about love and I’m a sucker for romantic movies. Hell, I blog about dating.
I am a product of my socialization.
I’m not saying that my parents perpetuated the idea that I needed a man. In fact, they rarely-to-never ask me when I’m getting married or having kids. In their opinion I have a career to conquer first. I agree with them; I’ve got shit to do. Yet somehow, I still don’t pass the Bechdel Test. That bums me out on a real level.
I grew up obsessed with Disney, like most kids. I knew every word to every classic animated movie. I had Cinderella and Belle dresses and pajamas. I was a Barbie junkie and I needed every playtime to end with a marriage. I had baby dolls and loved to pretend I was protecting them from some violent end. (Yes, I’ve always been dramatic. Don’t judge me.) I used to say that I was a girly girl growing up. Maybe that’s all I was, but now that I think about it through this Bechdel lens, I’m really bothered.
Did my love of the fairytale ingrain itself so deep in my mind that I can’t see a happy ending without a man?
Will I someday share that love with a daughter and continue the trend?
I’ve never had a problem with my adoration of love. I’ve honestly found it a bit refreshing that I have held on to believing in a happy ending.
What perturbs me is that it’s 2016 and the women around me, myself included, are still obsessed with finding a husband.
Even if we aren’t viewing it that way, we are. We’re encouraging each other to search for those men; it’s top priority.
Women have so much work to do in this country. We haven’t even been voting for 100 years yet. We still don’t have equal pay and it’s incredibly hard to break that glass ceiling. Let’s just start with the fact that it’s exhausting to be viewed as a sexual object all the time. A man walked by me the other day and did a double take at my calves, looked at me and smirked. MY CALVES. I do not have cute legs. Maybe that’s what he was thinking, I don’t know, but I can’t even wear a knee length skirt without getting oogled and I’m worried about dating? That’s insane.
Let’s talk about politics. Let’s talk about the lack of humanity on this planet. Let’s talk about women who are abused, undereducated and have no time to worry about their next date. Let’s talk about crime in this country. Let’s talk about police brutality, rape, racism, corrupt governments, homophobia, transphobia, physical and emotional abuse. Let’s teach others something. Let’s talk about sex. Yeah, sex. Women are sexual too. Let’s OWN that. Let’s tell each other our dreams and our goals. We don’t need to compete with each other for perfect bodies or the perfect man. We are complete. We are powerful. There is so much more going on for us than a man.
I want to be the kind of woman who can tell my daughter firmly and with conviction that I have always been a proud, independent, strong, call-to-action woman. I want to be the kind of woman that cares about so much more, who is defined by so much more than her relationship status. Beautifully, I don’t believe I have to let go of my romanticism in order to achieve those goals, but I should probably start judging my life by the Bechdel Test.