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

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Twenty-Four" -- Image Number: JAV202a_0115.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Justin Baldoni as Rafael and Brett Dier as Michael -- Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

On Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Four,” Jane experienced flashbacks of Mateo’s kidnapping; Michael and Rafael vied for Jane’s affection; Luisa worked on learning the family business; and Rogelio and Xiomara tried to get out of working on a cruise ship.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Twenty-Four” passed the Russo and race test but did not pass the Bechdel test.

There were two LGBTI characters in “Chapter Twenty-Four” – Rose and Luisa. In the case of Rose, because she is LGBTI and she was in the episode; she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a kidnapper); and her removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as Rose’s appearances in Jane’s dreams was one of the main storylines in “Chapter Twenty-Four,” Rose (and thus the episode) passed the Russo test. Luisa also passed the Russo test, and she passed this test because she is LGBTI and she was in the episode; because she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a businesswoman and as being Rafael’s sister); and because her removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as she was part of the episode’s main storyline.

In regards to the race test, “Chapter Twenty-Four” passed this test, and the episode passed this test because there were several non-White people in the episode who talked to each other on several different occasions without mentioning White people.

As to the Bechdel test, “Chapter Twenty-Four” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were many instances where named women talked to each other, men were always mentioned in their conversations.

*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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