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Wed Aug 21, 2013, 12:25 AM

The Mako Mori Test: 'Pacific Rim' inspires a Bechdel Test alternative

http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/mako-mori-test-bechdel-pacific-rim/

Interesting. Not sure I want to give up Bechdel, though.

On Thursday, Tumblr user spider-xan wrote about what Mako means to her as an Asian woman, in the context of the film's failure to pass Bechdel:
It’s really easy to throw away a film because of that test (which is flawed and used incorrectly in a lot of ways) if you’re a white woman and can easily find other films with white women who look like you and represent you... But as an East Asian woman, someone like Mako — a well-written Japanese woman who is informed by her culture without being solely defined by it, without being a racial stereotype, and gets to carry the film and have character development — almost NEVER comes along in mainstream Western media. And honestly — someone like her will probably not appear again for a very long time.

In response to this post, and in the process of running down numerous arguments for why the Bechdel Test can't and shouldn't be the only measurement by which feminist films are judged, Tumblr user chaila has proposed the Mako Mori Test, "to live alongside the Bechdel Test":
The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story. I think this is about as indicative of “feminism” (that is, minimally indicative, a pretty low bar) as the Bechdel test. It is a pretty basic test for the representation of women, as is the Bechdel test. It does not make a movie automatically feminist.

The application of this test might enable interesting discussions of feminism surrounding films which typically seem to be steamrollered by their failure to pass Bechdel. For instance, while Avengers barely managed to have two women on screen at the same time, much less conversant with each other, it had a female character, Black Widow, whose narrative arc was a major driving force of the plot. Using the Mako Mori Test as a measurement of whether Avengers is a feminist film or not points the focus away from the film's small quantity of women and towards the way Black Widow is demonstrably capable of commanding her own storyline.

Chaila also pointed out that Pacific Rim also passes one major variant of the Bechdel Test, the Bechdel Test for People of Color, with flying colors: it contains two non-white people who talk to each other about something other than a white person—something that's even rarer to find in Hollywood than successful applications of the Bechdel Test:
Again, I’m not arguing that this should supplant women interacting, or that the fact that people of color interact means we should be quiet about the movie’s other flaws. Not at all! But the Bechdel test is NOT the be-all, end-all test for feminism.

(For that matter, I don't think Bechdel considered the Bechdel test a be-all end-all test for feminism, just a criterion for Mo to watch a movie.)

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Mako Mori Test: 'Pacific Rim' inspires a Bechdel Test alternative (Original post)
Recursion Aug 2013 OP
Scootaloo Aug 2013 #1
Recursion Aug 2013 #2
jollyreaper2112 Aug 2013 #4
LisaLynne Aug 2013 #7
XemaSab Aug 2013 #3
DetlefK Aug 2013 #5
LisaLynne Aug 2013 #6
DetlefK Aug 2013 #9
LisaLynne Aug 2013 #10
DetlefK Aug 2013 #12
Recursion Aug 2013 #8
DetlefK Aug 2013 #11
Recursion Aug 2013 #13

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 12:39 AM

1. No, the bechdel test isn't a be-all-end-all thing

 

It's basically an awareness exercise. A movie can completely fail the Bechdel test and still be a perfectly good movie. The point of the test is simply to illustrate how very, very few movies meet a minimum standard for creating and using female characters.

Now I want to watch Macific Rim. I keep hearing people talking about it, now i'm going ot haveto grumble and heave myself into a theater or something.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 12:56 AM

2. It's giant robots fighting aliens

It's a brainless action movie, but it's a very well-made brainless action movie.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 06:52 AM

4. It's a lot of fun

A big, glorious popcorn flick. Not boring like most of the other tent pole movies. Does have quite a bit of silly to it.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 07:35 AM

7. Yeah, the Betchel test was never trying to say what is a "good" movie or not, but ...

rather point out how few substantive female roles are out there, especially when you're looking for two of them in the same movie. And really, I know some people are like, "What's the big deal?" but we're talking about two characters in a single movie that are women. It shouldn't be that hard. And yet, it is...

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 01:17 AM

3. It's a great test

and I really liked her character in the movie.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 07:25 AM

5. This is a cross-post from the Feminism-group, Pacific Rim sucked and Mako Mori is an ankle-clinger.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 07:33 AM

6. That's a good analysis. People are entitled to their opinions, you know,

even feminists.

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:05 AM

9. But the example is far too weak to base an argument on.

The article itself rips the "Mako-Mori-test" as a misnomer, because the Mako Mori-storyline was too weak to provide some feminism to Pacific Rim.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:25 AM

10. You forgot to add ...

"In my opinion."

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:33 AM

12. Are you trolling me to teach me a lesson on manners or...

or do you really think that the character Mako Mori is a suitable example on what feminism in movies can look like?

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:02 AM

8. Thank you!

I like that post better.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:28 AM

11. How about the "Gender-Swap-Test"?

I just made it up.

"If you gender-swap the characters, do their behaviour and motivations still make sense?"

Imagine a cute, clumsy, fashion-addicted man, with a shoe-fetish, who is secretly in love with a particular woman. After some clumsy elaborate schemes, she finally notices him. They become friends. Then, one day he puts on a tuxedo and she is immediately smitten. Love. Trouble, they argue. He is heart-broken and cries, she stares out of the window with an unmoving gaze. They meet standing in the rain, she doesn't understand his feelings, he cries again. They make up. He finally got the one true love of his life and all he had to do was to completely change his look and preferences. Forever. And he's happy that way.
Happy End.
Fade Out.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:53 AM

13. Sounds vaguely like a Bollywood

But, yes, I like that test.

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