Sunday, December 6, 2009

This is not the Lilith Fair

In my interweb wanderings I came across something known as the Bechdel Test wherein you judge whether a book or movie passes. It is basically this.
1. It has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

I wondered, not worried if I passed the test. Mostly for the sake of having a well rounded book-YES it is action-adventure/swords and sandals type fare but I still want resonance and balance for ANY reader. I admit in comparison to men, my novel is rather light on women characters. Bethia, the Governor's daughter and Miriam, Bethia's mother. Lilith/Zoreah the villianess. Sayame, a Lamanite princess. Haza, wife of Anathoth-Tultec/Ishmaelite general. Keturah, a merchant in a caravan.

There are more but off the top of my head I don't think they really have hardly any lines. Between them there is an age range of 15-45. I easily pass 1. and 2. but I had to double check about 3. and I think I pass barely. Bethia and Keturah discuss spirits and pagan gods and not men-though a feminist might still cry foul over them referring to Shagreel, the Sun God, as a he and "LORD". Points for who knows where I got Shagreel from-off the top of their head's. Mary no googling.

The pic above is a sneak-peek at my book trailer. Lilith as presented by my talented sister-in-law Erin. Isn't that a face you would trust? According to my brother Sean-he would-silly Curelom follower.

This subject was also somewhat tackled by my favorite writing pod casters at the latest Writing Excuses.


Erin West said...

Just to get this straight,

You did specifically say that MARY couldn't google it.

I could though right?

David J. West said...

I thought you already knew.

One Cluttered Brain said...

That is one magnificent depiction you got going on there. Make sure you let me know when the book trailer comes out...I so wanna see it.
I so love the concept of book trailers...;)

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm not sure I pass all those tests myself, although my female characters don't talk about men really. Very few of my characters talk about relationships unless they are talking to the person they're having the relationship with.

David J. West said...

I will definetly let you know Alexes.

Charles, it wasn't on purpose it just came out that way-but it made me wonder about at least having realistic female characters that talked about more than men and that the main one wasn't nessacarily a damsel in distress but certainly no Red Sonja or even better Gina Carrano yet...yet.

jessrosen said...

This entry makes me even more interested in reading the book, no grand surprise. As a rational feminist, I do notice when an author depicts a woman as more than a man's puppet and as other than a mad villainess. Grand adventures rarely do that unless it's the token female character who gets to wear the barely-there armor.

I like the idea that your female characters are discussing the Sun God. I don't count that as discussing a man, no. Rather, it depicts an involvement in their world.

M. Gray said...

Sheesh. Googling. Never would even consider it. ;)

LOVE the pic.

David J. West said...

Thanks Jess, I never set out to try and make sure I wrote a Bechdel Test female character-I just wanted to be sure that I wrote true characters.

I do thank my wife and my editor Kristine for helping me along with that.

Have to admit I have not avoided all stereotypes though-Lilith is seductive and a little crazy I suppose and Bethia does get herself into some fixes-but I tend to think stereotypes exist because they are true to a point.

David J. West said...

Mary, alright you can.

L.A. DeVaul said...

"Barely there armor" that is funny. "I may be fighting a battle but I am still soooo sexy."

I am totally excited to see the trailer. Lilith looks like someone I might trust, but only so far. She looks like she is hiding something.

David J. West said...

Yeah the barely-there armor or the chain-mail bikini was made famous by Red Sonja in the comics back in the 70's. It is back again today and I have read some-its hit and miss storytelling.

Probably a bad idea to admit I have read Red Sonja comics on this my most feminist post.

And I fear though she is not dressed the same as Red Sonja my brothers remark about trusting Lilith still goes back to basic "I may be fighting a battle but I am still soooo sexy." mentality.

Nichole Giles said...

No idea about Shagreel. But love the pic. Can't wait to see the trailer.


Voidwalker said...

Oooh, hmmm... I'm not sure if my book passes the test. I'll have to add some girl girl dialogue. It can't be about a guy, so the obvious response is, can it be about a girl ;p


David J. West said...

I was hoping you would like it Nichole.

Voidwalker, Nothing I have read said 2 women couldn't talk about another girl especially considering the creator of the Bechdel Test was a lesbian.

Voidwalker said...

Nice! LOL