A whole new episode of Faking It aired last night, and on the episode, a new principal took over Amy and Karma’s school and he was vastly unpopular with the student population as he immediately implemented new and stricter rules.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Stripped” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.
Of the many times that named women talked to each other in “Stripped,” there was one occasion where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Karma and Amy talked about Karma’s mom making dinner). Because there was one occasion where named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Stripped” also (obviously) passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because Amy, Lauren and Shane (who are all LGBTI) were in the episode; because they were not solely defined by their sexual orientation or intersex status (e.g., Amy was defined by her friendship with Karma, Shane was defined by his activism and Lauren was defined by her role as student president); and because they were all part of the main storyline of “Stripped” so it would have been impossible to have removed any of them from the episode without causing some major changes to occur to the plot.
As to the race test, “Stripped” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White actors in the episode, they 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 show 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 show 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 television. 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 show.