The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Six” – Season 2, Episode 4

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Twenty-Six" -- Image Number: JAV204a_0038.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Gina Rodriguez as Jane and Brett Dier as Michael -- Photo: Tyler Golden/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

On Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Six,” Luisa’s captors freed her; Michael gained a new partner; Jane tried to plan a surprise birthday party for Lina while simultaneously hashing out custody over Mateo with Rafael; and Rogelio and Xiomara hatched a plan to gain leverage over Luciana.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

While stuck in a closet, Jane is told by Michael that he knows that she kissed Rafael.

“Chapter Twenty-Six” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because of the several times that named women talked to each other, there were a couple instances where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., on two separate occasions, Jane and Lina talked to each other about a dance performance and about Lina’s birthday party). “Chapter Twenty-Six” also passed the Russo and race test.

In the case of the Russo test, “Chapter Twenty Six” passed this test because of the two LGBTI characters (Luisa and Heidi) that were in the episode. More specifically, the episode and these women passed the Russo test because Luisa and Heidi are LGBTI and they were in the episode; because neither of them were solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Luisa was also defined as being a victim and an addict and Heidi was defined as being a yodeler); and because their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot of the episode as they were both part of the main storyline.

As to the race test, “Chapter Twenty-Six” passed this test because there were several occasions where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people.

*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.