Friday, 17 June 2016

Women in film - the Bechdel test

Sometimes also known as the Bechdel-Wallace test, the Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. (The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.)

This Wikipedia link has links and references to many other useful variants of this and other tests, and is well worth checking out if you are writing any essays concerning the representation of women, gender, or the codes and conventions of certain genres (e.g. Romance).

The following site contains a user-maintained list of films that meet the Bechdel test minimum requirements, in case you are interested in finding some in a hurry.

Men act and women appear - John Berger

When talking about representation (and especially the representation of men and women) John Berger is a useful voice to include in your discussions and essays.

Berger made four 30-minute films for the BBC in 1972 which later became the core of his book Ways of Seeing. In it Berger writes:

"One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves." (Ways of Seeing, p.47)

In your MS3 research investigations or your MS1 discussions of representation, you will find Berger's position here has been absorbed into most cultural and feminist criticism to the point where it is assumed or taken for granted (see for example, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf for an example of this).

You should be aware though, of the limitations of Berger's perspective. Although wide-ranging in its references and survey of the visual arts, and a really useful starting point, Berger's work is perhaps not as useful as Laura Mulvey's multi-layered and more comprehensive 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema".

We'll examine Mulvey in more depth in another lesson and blog post, but there's nothing stopping you from reading her work and making up your own mind.

Further References:

John Berger

John Berger and Laura Mulvey

This Is Not Sex: A Web Essay on the Male Gaze, Fashion Advertising, and the Pose


Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1972.

Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. New York: Macmillan, 1989.

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Year 13- MS4 Revision

The helpful blog that we looked at today is below...

Also the Pinterest Pages linked to the blog...




REMINDER to all- Go through EVERY booklet and PPT to check for elements that you can add to your revision notes/mindmaps. I have created the booklets to SUPPORT you but they will only do that if you USE THEM!

I am running a Media drop-in lessons 4-6 if anyone needs any last minute support and I am available on Also don't forget to check the Twitter page @mediastalbans for things that have been Tweeted over the last 2 weeks.