The Bechdel Test and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Hi. Can we talk about this for a minute?

I, like many people who work on the show, am weird and have google alerts set to email me every time something comes in with the keywords “lizzie bennet diaries.” I read about half of them, maybe. Most are positive, or non-descriptive, but some are, you know, negative. Which is totally fine and great. Currently, I’m getting a series of blog posts from The Book Lantern that are embarking on a journey to explain why the blogger dislikes the Green brothers and nerdfighteria and all that stuff. Also fine. People should always have opinions, and I respect that this blog is actually trying to explain why they feel this way.

Today’s post is actually about the show. It’s entirely negative. They say some things about the writing that I don’t necessarily disagree with, and they say other things about the writing that I disagree with wholeheartedly. But I want to talk about this part:

we’ve seen Lizzie, Jane, Charlotte, Lydia and Caroline – five characters, who needed 16 episodes to pass the Bechadel test. And this is supposedly a story about women making their way in life through hard work.

First of all, I’m going to ignore the fact that this person thinks The LBD, or Pride & Prejudice, or whatever is about “women making their way in life through hard work” (just like I’m going to ignore the comments about Charlotte, and Lydia, and Jane, and Lizzie…okay, everything. This is hard. I’m not good at ignoring things that make me angry.)

But the part about “16 episodes to pass the Bechadel (sic) test.” This is not the only time I’ve come across this comment. People who hate on the show say it all the time. And I’m so in support of everyone’s right to hate on whatever the hell they want, but using this as not only a reason why the show sucks, but almost a basis, is dumb because it’s simply not correct

From bechdeltest.com:

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. 

The LBD clearly has at least two women in it. They obviously talk to each other fairly often. And….besides a man? Is that the part we failed for 16 episodes? Nowhere in the definition does it say if women EVER talk about a man to each other in a piece of media, that means the test has been failed. By that definition, I would imagine every movie ever would fail the test because human beings talk about each other. It just says, at some point, two women must be talking about something other than a dude. Cool. So check it out.

And there you have it. Not one, not two, but NINE EPISODES before the 16th that pass the Bechdel test. And on top of that, it’s fairly relevant to take into consideration that we used Lizzie-interacting-with-other-characters significantly less often in earlier videos than we do now. Some of these episodes don’t even have anyone BUT Lizzie in them, thereby making it literally impossible for them to pass the test because there just aren’t any other characters. And if you count the viewers as characters, considering that this is a video blog and not traditional media, and sometimes we are the only ones Lizzie can interact with, well then I’m pretty sure every single video ever would pass because Lizzie talks about something else at least for two seconds in just about every episode.

I’m just going to leave this post at that, as much as I’d like to go off on the idea that we’re supposed to identify with Lizzie and think Charlotte is making bad life choices in the modernization of the proposal, and as much as I’ve been CONSTANTLY biting my tongue over the slut-shaming thing for months now.

I’m going to keep reading their posts, because honestly I’m interested in what they have to say about everything they’re going to be talking about, but I’ve just heard this blatantly ignorant comment far too many times to not say anything anymore. If you know ANYTHING about me, you know that given the choice between writing/reading/watching romance or basically anything else, nine times out of ten, I’m going to choose the “anything else.” And I’m not in charge of this show, by any means, but I wrote six of the first 15 episodes, and anyone suggesting, even inadvertently, even not knowing who I am as I’m sure this person does not, that I would write SIX EPISODES of anything where two girls only talk about guys, on a personal level, is just freaking offensive to everything I believe in about life. And I know this specific blog is not about me, and the series is not about the show, it’s all about the Green brothers and they’re taking whatever digs at them they can get in, but still.

Get your facts right, bro.