Beyond the Token Black Guy: Isolationism in American Media

Olivia A. Cole

token black guy

Many of you have likely heard of the Bechdel test, but in case you haven’t, I’ll run it by you now. The Bechdel test is a feminist means of analysis, originally conceived for evaluating films. Virginia Woolf wrote long ago of the problem of women characters existing, almost without exception, only in relation to men or barely existing at all, and this test is a way of exposing that cinematic inequality. Introduced in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, the test demands three requirements of a film in order for it to be deemed woman-friendly:

  1. It has to have at least two named female characters;
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides men.

In your spare time, go through this list of movies and check out all the films that have failed the test. There’s tons. But that’s not what this blog is about. Rather…

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