The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Forty-Three” – Season 2, Episode 21

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Forty-Three" -- Image Number: JAV221a_0331.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Gina Rodriguez as Jane, Yael Grobglas as Petra and Justin Baldoni as Rafael -- Photo: Scott Everett White/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Jane was stressed beyond belief on Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Forty-Three.” She was trying to plan both her wedding and Mateo’s first birthday party but she found that the pressure was too much and that because of her stress, things kept falling through the cracks.

Rafael fared no better when it came to the stress front in “Chapter Forty-Three” as while he wasn’t planning a wedding and he didn’t have much to do with planning Mateo’s birthday party, he did have to figure out how to get out from underneath his brother’s thumb, but no matter what Rafael tried to do, he could not thwart his brother.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Chapter Forty-Three” passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.

JAV221b_0344b.jpg
Rafael fakes a FBI search and seizure.

Named women (of which there were a few in “Chapter Forty-Three”) talked to each other a couple of times in “Chapter Forty-Three” and while men were usually mentioned whenever named women talked to each other, the episode passed the Bechdel test and “Chapter Forty-Three” passed this diversity test because there were two instances where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Jane consulted with her named female supervisor about her work and Jane and Petra discussed child entertainment).

As to the Russo test, “Chapter Forty-Three” also passed this test, and the episode passed this test because there was one LGBTI character in “Chapter Forty-Three,” Barnett, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a FBI agent) and her removal from “Chapter Forty-Three” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., Barnett’s removal would have significantly affected the episode because she led to the discovery of Mutter, a major plot point).

“Chapter Forty-Three” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because there were many non-White individuals in “Chapter Forty-Three” and there were several instances where some of the non-White individuals that were in the episode 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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