The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax had a slight homoerotic undertone, with one or two charged moments between two women, but had no distinctly identifiable LGBT characters. The film thus failed to pass the Russo test. Lizzie Borden Took an Ax also failed to pass the race test, and the film did not pass this test because there were no speaking parts for non-White characters.

While Lizzie Borden Took an Ax did not pass the Russo or race test, it did pass the Bechdel test since there were several named women in the film and there were some occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.