The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Wild

Reese Witherspoon starred in a sort of coming-of-age film called Wild. She played the part of Cheryl, a woman who walked across the desert as a means to gain control over her life after she went in a downward spiral when her mother died. 

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Wild passed the Bechdel test, but it did not pass the Russo or race test.     

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in Wild without mentioning men (namely when Cheryl talked to her mom Bobbie) so Wild passed the Bechdel test. Wild did not pass the Russo or race test, however, since there were no LGBTI characters, and non-White characters never talked to each other.

*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.

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