THE BEER BEAT: The Bechdel Test, and what 1980s lesbians can teach us about beer.

Source material: Alison Bechdel, “The Rule.”

It’s best just to read what Emma Inch has to say about what 1980s lesbians can teach us about beer, with a minimum of commentary on my part, but a brief diversion to signpost the Bechdel Test.

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel‘s comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called The Rule. For a nice video introduction to the subject please check out The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies on

I’d already bookmarked Inch’s essay for the column when this popped up in my feed.

The Next Bechdel Test, by Walt Hickey, Ella Koeze, Rachael Dottle and Gus Wezerek (FiveThirtyEight)

We pitted 50 movies against 12 new ways of measuring Hollywood’s gender imbalance.

… 30 years on, we’re not exactly sitting on a superior answer for measuring the movie industry’s gender imbalance. What does the next Bechdel Test look like? The time is ripe for a successor. Is there a short, punchy test we can apply? One that, if movies start passing it, would indicate that the industry is actually becoming better for both the women who make movies and the people who watch them? Is there a new test that could pull the modern film business in the right direction? And if there is, where on earth do we find it?

If FiveThirtyEight circles back to consider the implications for beer, that’s peachy.

Until then, I turn it over to Emma.

Do You Pass the Test? Or: what can 1980s lesbians teach us about beer?

 … The contemporary beer scene is not alone in sometimes struggling with the representation of women, and there are many examples of great work in this area. But every time women are invisible in areas of influence, every time a beer is marketed solely at men, every time a ‘beer for women’ is produced, every time we have to remind people that women were the first brewers, every time a disagreement on Twitter degenerates into macho posturing, every time craft beer lovers are portrayed as people with beards, every time a woman has to justify why she likes beer, or why offensive beer names are unacceptable, every time sexist ‘banter’ is excused, every time beer fans are greeted on social media as ‘lads’, every time the ‘women don’t drink beer’ myth is perpetuated, every time the consumption of alcohol is accepted as an excuse for sexist, racist or homophobic behaviour, we all lose out.