The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Forty” – Season 2, Episode 18

A mishmash of different happenings went down on Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Forty.” To be more specific, in “Chapter Forty,” Petra bonded with her long lost sister; Rafael tried to close an important business deal; Rogelio tried to get out of trouble with his producers; Michael bonded with Mateo; and Jane struggled to create a draft that her advisor would approve of and she continued to fight with her mother.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Forty” did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Michael babysits Mateo for the first time.

“Chapter Forty” did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in “Chapter Forty.” The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test and it did so easily.

“Chapter Forty” passed the Bechdel and race test because there were numerous instances where named women talked to each other and non-White individuals talked to each other, and out of those occasions, there were several instances where named women talked to each other without mentioning men and non-White individuals 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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