Fatty Bechdel Test

We know that Hollywood, Bollywood, and other major producers of film and television routinely disinclude people of size.

I was watching the latest Bechdel Test update from Feminist Frequency when I thought —

— why isn’t there a Fatty Bechdel Test?

For those who don’t know, the Bechdel Test was named for Alison Bechdel, who drew the strip that popularized it. In order for a film/show/book to pass the test, it must meet the following criteria:

  1. There are at least two women, who have names
  2. The women speak about something other than a man (or men).

If you’ve never tried it out, you’ll be amazed at how few films pass this test.

Why couldn’t we have a Fatty Bechdel Test, testing movies/shows/books for representing fat (or even non-thin) people as people and not just a trope?

One reason might be that a Fatty Bechdel Test is unnecessary. It’s glaringly obvious there’s a problem with representing all but the thinnest people in most mainstream media. Sadly, it’s also obvious that while I think the lack of representation of women in movies and television is acknowledged and respected by most intellectuals and media critics, those same intellectuals and critics don’t necessarily think it’s a problem that, while fat(ter) people make up more than 60% of many Western movie-making populations, we are virtually invisible in movies and on television. I’ve heard more than one apologist sputter, “Well, films/magazines/shows are aspirational!” — like fat people are some gutter to climb out on a quest to reach the thin person on the glowy altar.

Despite all that…I’m wondering what a Fatty Bechdel Test might look like.

I’m not sure if the “more than two people of X category who talk to each other about something other than Y” would work, because that’s not really how people of size are marginalized in films. I might amend the test as follows:

Fatty Bechdel Test 

  1. There is a fat person in the film with a name, who speaks.
  2. This person’s size is never brought up, as such OR is if brought up is mentioned in a neutral/positive way at least once.

What do you think? Do you have a better suggestion, or an additional point? Also, which films pass this test?

Fat Heroes in Science Fiction

I’m doing  a research project on fat heroes/protagonists in science fiction, and am curious if any of my readers are familiar with fat heroes/protagonists in particular. Fat heroes/protagonists from books, short stories, movies and comic books are all cool, but they definitely have to be clearly painted in a positive light.

I’m having a hard time thinking of any off the top of my head.

The second part of the project is the investigation of supporting characters (including villains) which support the ‘positive’ criterion (or sympathetic, if they’re villains). I’m sure there are many more of these.

Any tips are greatly appreciated! All the information I gather will be integrated into a post of its own, at some point in the future.

Restrictions: science fiction, tending more towards hard sci fi or social sci fi. Extra points for older stories. 🙂