The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Descendants of the Sun – Season 1, Episode 7

Shi-Jin and Mo-Yeon had a rough day on Descendants of the Sun, episode 7. They attempted to save as many people as they could, in their own ways, but because it was not possible to rescue everyone, they were forced to make difficult decisions and decide who lived and who died.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 7 did not pass the Russo test, but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Myeong-Joo operates on a man amongst the rubble of the construction site.

Episode 7 did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 7. Episode 7 did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

There were a couple of named women in episode 7, and because there were a couple of occasions where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., on two separate occasions, named female medical personnel discussed medical supplies), the episode passed the Bechdel test. Episode 7 passed the race test (and easily so) because there were many instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people as the cast was almost entirely non-White and White people were rarely mentioned by the non-White cast.

*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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