The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Three” – Season 2, Episode 1

In the newest episode of Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Three,” Mateo was kidnapped, but then returned; Jane was harassed by paparazzi; and Petra contemplated whether or not she should artificially inseminate herself with Rafael’s sperm. So you know, “Chapter Twenty-Three” was just the usual.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Twenty-Three” passed the Bechdel, Russo, and race test.

 “Chapter Twenty-Three” passed the Bechdel and race test, and the episode passed these tests because there were several instances where named women talked to each other without mentioning men and non-White people talked to each other without mentioning White people. The episode also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test due to two LGBTI characters – Rose and Luisa.

Rose and Luisa passed the Russo test in “Chapter Twenty-Three” because 1) they are both LGBTI and they were in the episode 2) because neither of them were solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Rose was also defined as being a villain and Luisa was defined as being Rafael’s sister) and 3) because their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot (e.g., Rose’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because she was the one who kidnapped Mateo [and this was one of the episode’s central plots], and Luisa’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because she had the item that Rose wanted in exchange for Mateo and she was the one who inadvertently convinced Petra to have Rafael’s baby [and these were central points in the episode’s plot).

*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.

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