The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “How Does She Do It?” – Season 1, Episode 5

Kara was tasked with babysitting Cat’s son Carter on Supergirl, “How Does She Do It?,” and while babysitting him, Kara also had to find and combat a terrorist who was targeting Maxwell Lord.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“How Does She Do It?” passed the Bechdel test but did not pass the Russo or race test.

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in “How Does She Do It?,” and of the couple of times that named women talked to each other there were two instances where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., Alex called Kara to tell her about a bomb and Alex later talked to Kara some more about the bomb) so the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo and race test, “How Does She Do it?” did not pass either of these tests, and the episode did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode and because the one time that non-White individuals talked to each other, a White person was mentioned (e.g., a non-White employee at the DEO talked to Henshaw about Supergirl).

*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.

Advertisements