FeministFrequency.com is run by Anita Sarkeesian. She is a self titled “feminist pop culture critic” who uses video commentary to explore pop culture through various lenses such as: gender, race, class, and sexuality. Sarkeesian states that her goal is to bring discussions about gender, sexuality and feminism out of an academic setting and make it more engaging and accessible with the universal language of pop culture. Her goal is to celebrate the joy of stories and characters, while at the same time unmask and demystify the dangerous social norms perpetuated by many of them. I really think her blog is not only entertaining and clever, but a really good model for our own blog. Pop culture, whether it is books, movies, video games, TV or music, is something everyone can relate to and discuss with some degree of familiarity.

One of my favorite video’s from feministrequency.com is The Bechdel Test. Before I’d watched the video I’d never heard the term before, but ever since then I mentally do the test with every movie and television show I watch.

As described in the video, the three rules of the Bechdel Test are:

  1. Are there two or more women (who have names) in the film?
  2. Do those women talk to each other?
  3. Does their conversation revolve around something other than a man?

For how simple the test seems, there are a shockingly small number of films/tv shows that pass! Most films celebrate men’s stories, told from a male perspective, created by men (2009 was the very first time a female director won an Oscar!)  for men. As Sarkeesian mentioned, it’s not necessarily about movies being feminist, it’s about movies telling women’s stories at all!

However, I think films fail the test more often than television. In fact, off the top of my head I can think of a dozen television shows that pass the test with flying colors:

  1. The Good Wife
  2. Friday Night Lights
  3. Will & Grace
  4. The West Wing
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  6. Veronica Mars
  7. Parks & Recreation
  8. LOST
  9. Modern Family
  10. Pushing Daisies
  11. Lost Girl
  12. Dexter

One of Sarkeesian’s more recent videos, What Liquor Ads Teach Us About Guys, discusses gender and masculinity in a way similar to Guyland.

In the video, liquor ads are used as an example of the way in which advertising glorifies social constructions of gender. All the rules and behaviors discussed in “The Guy Code” are being sold in these ads. The men in these ads don’t show genuine emotion and they manipulate and objectify women. They do it because a cycle of sexist socialization has taught them that those are the only ways to prove their masculinity, which according to Guyland is the single most important thing a guy must do. The commercial for Wiserhood liquor even shows the guy manipulating his wife in order to impress another group of men, proving one of Guyland’s principles:

“masculinity is largely a ‘homosocial’ experience: performed for, and judged by, other men” (Kimmel 47).

The ads in this video are further evidence that gender and gender roles are a result of culture and social construction rather than being generated from nature.