HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO (BECHDEL TEST EDITION)

Once again, the viewing for this week was something I was looking forward to. Cake (2018), is a Pakistani film following a wealthy family who is called to arms when their father falls ill.

Upon watching the trailer, there seemed to be some very strong female leads, which is something I find myself looking out for in the films I currently consume.

Consequently, this set an expectation for me to see some great interactions between the women in the film, which is apparently something a large number of movies find shockingly hard to do.

This leads me to the Bechdel Test.

Autoethnographic Research

Only this year during a conversation with friends was I informed about the Bechdel Test. It is defined as “a simple test which names the following three criteria in any one movie: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man” (Bechdeltest.com, 2020).

Now it is something I always look out for, which I think definitely affects the way I consume various texts, whether they be Western, Asian, or European. It paints a sort of bias for me, one that almost has me resenting the movie, even if it is a great one.

Acknowledging this personal experience and how it effects my cultural experience with the interaction of films is the first step towards analysing my biases.

In terms of the movie Cake, I saw quite early on that the two lead female characters were engaged in many conversations about things other than a man, which seemed promising to me, furthermore prompting me to tweet about it.

With this being said, I still found my concentration slipping about an hour into the film. This is something that usually does not happen to me when watching movies (unless I have seen it multiple times before).

So why has it happened now? Is it because I’m being made to watch a film I would not watch otherwise? Is it because my consumption of media is white-washed, making it hard for me to become invested in a film who’s characters are’t white? Would I be saying the same if the lead character’s were white?

For example, the 2017 film Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johannason is something I have watched, but had not thought to watch the Japanese manga series previously. The film received a large amount of backlash for its blatant whitewashing, however, due to its Hollywoods production level and big name actors, it still made it to the screens.

It is safe to say the only reason I watched this film is because it was made by the big names. This is something I will definitely be watching out for in the future of my media consumption. It is also safe to say this realisation has inspired me to expand my horizons regarding film choice and attentiveness.

If you want to watch Cake for yourself, check it out using the Netflix link below!

https://www.netflix.com/au/title/81110389

Reference List:

Bechdeltest.com 2020, Bechdel Test Movie List, viewed 3 September 2020, https://bechdeltest.com/

Hamad, R 2016, Actors Need To Say No To Films That Whitewash’, SBS online, viewed 4 September 2020, https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2016/07/12/actors-need-say-no-films-whitewash

Cheers,

V

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