The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Eight” – Season 2, Episode 16

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Thirty-Eight" -- Image Number: JAV216b_0053.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Gina Rodriguez as Jane and Yael Grobglas as Petra -- Photo: Tyler Golden/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

On Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Eight,” drama was at an all-time high. So what happened? Well, Pablo proposed to Alba; Rogelio was determined to throw the greatest wedding known to man for Jane; Petra experienced postpartum depression; Rafael assisted Michael in his investigation of Derek; and Jane struggled to find a new home for her and Michael that met both their and Rafael’s needs.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Jane discusses wedding plans with her father and she is none too pleased.

A gay couple, and no other LGBTI character, appeared in “Chapter Thirty-Eight,” but the episode did not pass the Russo test and “Chapter Thirty-Eight” did not pass this test because the gay couple that was in the episode was solely defined by their sexual orientation and their removal from “Chapter Thirty-Eight” would not have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., the couple’s removal wouldn’t have affected the episode’s plot because they were extras and they played absolutely no part in the episode’s plot). As to the Bechdel test, “Chapter Thirty-Eight” did pass this diversity test.

Named women (of which there were several in “Chapter Thirty-Eight”) often talked to each in “Chapter Thirty-Eight,” and while men were often mentioned when named women talked to each other, there were a couple of occasions where named women talked to each other without mentioning men so the episode passed the Bechdel test.

“Chapter Thirty-Eight” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because there were several instances where some of the non-White individuals in the episode (of which there were several) 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.

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