The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-One” – Season 2, Episode 9

On Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-One,” Jane began her new job as a T.A.; Petra tried to get her mother to fess up to her crime (i.e., murdering Ivan); Barnett hounded Luisa for info on her mom; Liliana visited the Villanuevas; and Rogelio discovered that his father is gay.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Thirty-One” passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.

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Liliana visits Rogelio and the Villanuevas.

Named women talked to each other several times in “Chapter Thirty-One,” and while they almost always mentioned men whenever they talked to each other, the episode did pass the Bechdel test as there was a single instance where men weren’t mentioned when named women talked to each other (e.g., Barnett questioned Luisa about her mother). “Chapter Thirty-One” also passed the Russo and race test.

There were two LGBTI characters in “Chapter Thirty-One,” Luisa and Grandpa De La Vega, and because these two were not solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Luisa was also defined as being a daughter and Grandpa De La Vega was defined as being Rogelio’s father) and their removal from “Chapter Thirty-One” would have significantly affected the plot of the episode (e.g., Luisa played an important part in the plot because she helped Barnett and Michael crack the Mutter case and Grandpa De La Vega was important because a large portion of the episode revolved around the Villanuevas keeping his sexual orientation a secret from Rogelio), they both met all of the requirements of the Russo test and they (and thus the episode) passed the Russo test.

As to the race test, “Chapter Thirty-One” passed this test because there were several non-White individuals in the episode and there were many instances where some of the non-White individuals in the episode talked to each other and they did so 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.

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