The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “World’s Finest” – Season 1, Episode 18

In a fantastic crossover of The Flash and Supergirl on Supergirl, “World’s Finest,” Supergirl and the Flash joined forces to defeat the Silver Banshee and Livewire, two supervillains who were determined to destroy Supergirl.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“World’s Finest” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Livewire and Silver Banshee take Cat Grant hostage.

Named women (of which there were a couple in “World’s Finest”) talked to each other several times in “World’s Finest,” and while men were often mentioned in those conversations, there were also many instances where named women talked to each other without mentioning men so the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo test, there were no LGBTI characters in “World’s Finest” so the episode did not pass this diversity test. “World’s Finest” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in the episode, non-White individuals never talked to each other let alone 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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