The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “Solitude” – Season 1, Episode 15

On Supergirl, “Solitude,” an alien that could travel though the Internet was determined to destroy mankind. Kara, of course, was having none of that, and she went about protecting mankind by traveling to the Fortress of Solitude and seeking answers on how to defeat the alien.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Solitude” did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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 Indigo, the alien determined to destroy mankind, breaks into a missile launching facility.

 

“Solitude” did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in “Solitude.” “Solitude” did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

“Solitude” passed the Bechdel test because there were a couple of instances where some of the named women that were in the episode (of which there were a few) talked to each other without mentioning men. The episode passed the race test because there was a single instance where two non-White individuals talked to each other, and in that instance, White people were not mentioned (e.g., a non-White man proposed to a Black woman).

*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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