The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: What If

What If is a cute love story between Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), and a girl he meets at a party, Chantry (Zoe Kazan). The two become friends, and throughout the film Wallace tries to figure out whether he should tell Chantry that he loves her.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

What If passes the Bechdel test but does not pass the Russo or race test. 

What If passes the Bechdel test because there is one extremely brief instance in the film where named women talk to each other without mentioning men (e.g. Nicole’s bridesmaid Becky preps her [Nicole] for the wedding). 

As to why What If does not pass the Russo or race test, there are no LGBTI or non-White characters in the film.

*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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