The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Six” – Season 2, Episode 14

On Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Six,” Rafael went back to his old ways, sleeping with a different woman every night and drinking at all times of the days. Petra, of course, was concerned by his behavior, so in an effort to reform Rafael, Petra enlisted Jane’s help, but instead of confronting Rafael, the two wound up confronting Jane’s favorite author, a woman who had stolen one of her literary ideas.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Thirty-Six” did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Jane and Petra decide to confront Jane’s favorite author.

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

“Chapter Thirty-Six” passed the Bechdel and race test because there were several instances where named women (of which there were several in the episode) talked to each other without mentioning men and non-White individuals (again, of which there were several in the episode) talked to each other 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.