Without Ruth and Naomi The Bible Wouldn’t Pass the Bechdel Test

I’ve just had the startling realization that The Bible just barely passes the Bechdel Test. I don’t know why I’m surprised. I know that the Bible is steeped in patriarchal themes and language, but the Bechdel test just highlights it once again.

For those unfamiliar, the Bechdel (or Bechdel-Wallace) test, is a media test mostly used for films. To pass the Bechdel test the film must have:

  • at least two women characters
  • who talk to each other at least once
  • about something other than a man

You’d be amazed (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how few movies pass the test. Try it with your favorite Christmas movies and see how many you can find that make the grade.

For some reason, I decided to apply the test to scripture. The only passage I can find that passes is the conversation between Ruth and Naomi as they are leaving Moab. I thought I’d be safe with the story of Mary and Martha, but in the scripture, Martha doesn’t even speak directly to her sister, but demands that Jesus tell her to get up and do some work.

Ahh, the challenge of a book that contains awesome mystery as well as awful misogyny.

If anyone can find another passage that passes the Bechdel test, I’d love hear from you!


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1 thought on “Without Ruth and Naomi The Bible Wouldn’t Pass the Bechdel Test”

  1. Mary and Elizabeth share a rich conversation in Luke’s gospel — though they talk briefly about their future male children, the focus is on the women themselves and what God is calling them to do in their lives.

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