The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Descendants of the Sun – Season 1, Episode 3

Mo-Yeon and Shi-Jin were forced to work with one another on Descendants of the Sun, episode 3, and their new work relationship was rocky, to say the least, with both saying things that they did not mean.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Shi-Jin and Mo-Yeon go to the beach.

Episode 3 did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 3. The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

Named women (of which there were a few in episode 3) talked to each other a couple of times in episode 3 and while men were almost always referenced whenever named women talked to each other, the episode passed the Bechdel test because there was one instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Mo-Yeon and Min-Ji talked about unpacking).

As to the race test, there were several White individuals in episode 3, but the episode nonetheless passed the race test as most of the cast was Asian so there were many instances where non-White individuals not only conversed with one another but 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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