Sweden's New Rating System: Is the Movie Sexist?

Cinemas experiment with the 'Bechdel test'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 6, 2013 5:20 PM CST

(Newser) – A handful of movie theaters in Sweden have rolled out a new rating system to let viewers know whether a movie is sexist, reports the AP. The simple test: Does it have at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man? If so, it gets an A. For the record, the Hunger Games passes, but Star Wars fails, as does the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If the test sounds familiar, it might be because it's been floating around since 1985 when it got introduced as "The Rule" by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, notes the Verge.

In fact, this "rule" is now called the Bechdel test, and it has its share of critics who call it too simplistic. "For social change, the A-rating is a noble but clumsy move, and probably won’t alter the cinematic landscape," writes Nick Venable at Cinema Blend. "If only we could start rating films based on their writing, acting, direction and overall quality instead of all this politically-fueled stuff." Still, the bigger point is to raise awareness and to ultimately "see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens," says the director of one of the four Swedish cinemas on board. It's not an official rating by any means, but the state's Swedish Film Institute supports the move.

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from 'The Hunger Games.' The movie passes the Bechdel test.
Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from 'The Hunger Games.' The movie passes the Bechdel test.   (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close, File)
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