The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Awkward., “Living in Sin” – Season 5, Episode 21

On the newest episode of Awkward., “Living in Sin,” Jenna moved in with Luke; Matty disappointed Lacey; Lissa became an independent woman; and Tamara was forced to face her financial crisis.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Living in Sin” did not pass the race test but it did pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

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Luke abandons Jenna for a work engagement.

“Living in Sin” did not pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no non-White individuals in “Living in Sin.” The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and Russo test.

Named women (of which there were a couple in “Living in Sin”) talked to each other a couple of times in “Living in Sin” and because in some of those instances named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo test, “Living in Sin” passed this diversity test because one LGBTI character was in the episode, Tamara, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a student) and her removal from “Living in Sin” would have significantly affected the plot as she had her own storyline.

*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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