The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress is a film about four 24-year-old Korean women who have just graduated college.

The four friends initially have high hopes for themselves, but as time passes, they start to realize that life after college isn’t what they expected it to be especially as some of them succeed and fail in unexpected ways. And it is due to these very unexpected successes and failures that these four girls’ dreams and friendships are pushed to the limit in Little Black Dress as they try to navigate through life in their 20s.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Little Black Dress passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

The film passes the Bechdel test because there are a few instances where named women talk to each other without mentioning men. The film also passes the race test because the entire cast is Asian and White people are never mentioned. Little Black Dress does not, however, pass the Russo test as there are no LGBTI characters.

*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.