The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” – Season 1, Episode 11

On the newest episode of Supergirl, “Strange Visitor From Another Planet,” Cat’s estranged son popped up at Cat Co.; a bigoted, anti-alien senator made an appearance in National City; and Hank was forced to confront his painful past.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Strange Visitor From Another Planet” did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Cat’s son, Adam, asks Kara out on a date.

“Strange Visitor From Another Planet” did not pass the Russo test, and it did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

“Strange Visitor From Another Planet” passed the Bechdel and race test because named women talked to each other a couple of times in “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” without mentioning men and because there were a couple of instances where non-White individuals talked to each other in the episode and they did so without referencing 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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