The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Awkward., “Girl Gone Viral” – Season 5, Episode 19

On Awkward., “Girl Gone Viral,” Jenna promised Matty that she would take down her article, but this proved to be a difficult task to accomplish because once Jenna realized how much prestige the article had granted her, she wasn’t so sure if taking down the article was a good idea.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Girl Gone Viral” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

Named women (of which there were several in “Girl Gone Viral”) talked to each other a couple of times in “Girl Gone Viral,” but the episode did not pass the Bechdel test and “Girl Gone Viral” did not pass this test because men were always directly or indirectly referenced whenever named women talked to each other. “Girl Gone Viral” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.

One LGBTI character, Tamara, was in “Girl Gone Viral,” and while she wasn’t solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., Tamara was also defined as being an Idea Bin employee), her removal from “Girl Gone Viral” wouldn’t have significantly affected the episode’s plot as she didn’t have anything to do with the plot so “Girl Gone Viral” did not pass the Russo test.

As to the race test, there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Girl Gone Viral,” but because there was never an instance where two or more non-White individuals talked to each other, the episode did not pass the race test.

*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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