The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Madame Antoine – Season 1, Episode 3

Hye-Rim busted Soo-Hyun on Madame Antoine, episode 3, and in an effort to hide and protect the “integrity” of his experiment, Soo-Hyun insisted that he truly did love her (Hye-Rim). Hye-Rim, of course, wasn’t buying it, so in an effort to prove that he loved her, Soo-Hyun wrote Hye-Rim daily journal entries, he bought her expensive dinners and he provided her with much needed emotional support. The result? Both Soo-Hyun and Hye-Rim, by the tinniest bit, began to like one another.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 3 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Soo-Hyun asks Hye-Rim what she wants.

Episode 3 passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the entire cast was Asian and White people were only mentioned a time or two (i.e., because the entire cast was Asian and White people were occasionally mentioned, there were many instances where non-White individuals talked to each other and they did so without mentioning White people). The episode did not, however, pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

There were a couple of named women in episode 3 and there were a few instances in episode 3 where some of the named women in the episode talked to each other, but the episode did not pass the Bechdel test because whenever named women talked to each other, men were mentioned. The episode did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 3.

*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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