The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Three” – Season 2, Episode 11

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Thirty-Three" -- Image Number: JAV211b_0101.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Justin Baldoni as Rafael and Yael Grobglas as Petra -- Photo: Tyler Golden/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

“Chapter Thirty-Three” of Jane the Virgin was all about embarrassment, hurt feelings and realizations.

In “Chapter Thirty-Three,” Jane fought with her father and she made a move on her sexy professor; Xio struggled to advance her career; Michael and Barnett discovered that Rose is Mutter’s stepdaughter; Rogelio begged Jane for an opportunity to babysit Mateo and he planned a birthday/proposal party for Xio; and Rafael and Petra did whatever it took to retain and to increase the Marbella’s patronage.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Petra recalls the first time Rafael hit on her.

Named women talked to each other several times in “Chapter Thirty-Three,” and because there were a couple of occasions where the named women who were talking to each other did not mention men, the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Chapter Thirty-Three” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because of two LGBTI characters.

There were three LGBTI characters in “Chapter Thirty-Three,” Luisa, Barnett and Rose, and one did not pass all of the Russo test’s requirements, and two did.

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Rogelio bestows a family heirloom upon Jane.

The one character who did not meet all of the Russo test’s requirements was Rose, and the episode would not have passed the Russo test based solely on her presence because while Rose was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being Mutter’s stepdaughter), her removal from “Chapter Thirty-Three” would not have significantly affected the plot of the episode as her physical presence in the episode was not necessary and it did not significantly add to the episode’s plot. The two characters that met all of the Russo test’s requirements were Luisa and Barnett, and “Chapter Thirty-Three” passed the Russo test because neither of these women were solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Luisa was also defined as being the stepdaughter of Mutter and Barnett was defined as being a detective) and because their removal from “Chapter Thirty-Three” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot as Luisa and Barnett had their own miniature storyline in “Chapter Thirty-Three.”

As to the race test, “Chapter Thirty-Three” also passed this diversity test, and the episode passed this test because there were many non-White individuals in the episode and there were several instances in “Chapter Thirty-Three” 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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