The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Cheese in the Trap – Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of Cheese in the Trap, a K-drama based on the webtoon of the same name, Hong Seol is having a rough time.

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While drunk, Seol decides to take a break from school.

Seol is a university student who just wants to go and finish school without making any waves, but this is made impossible due to Yoo Jung, a fellow student.

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Seol blames Jung for all of her woes.

Jung is well-liked by everyone on campus, but he has a devious side that no one but Seol seems to be able detect, and because she is aware of his devious side, Jung has made it his mission to torment Seol. Jung’s machinations eventually become so terrible and frustrating that Seol decides to take a break from school, but just as she makes this decision, she is granted a scholarship – a scholarship that Jung somehow lost out on.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 does not pass the Russo test but it does pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Bo-Ra offers Seol tuition money.

Episode 1 does not pass the Russo test, and the episode does not pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode does, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

Episode 1 passes the Bechdel test because of the many instances that named women talk to each other, there are a couple of occasions where men aren’t mentioned. The episode passes the race test because the entire cast is Asian and none of the characters ever mention 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.

 

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