The Mako Mori Test—A Good Alternative to Bechdel?

Hopefully you’ve all heard of the Bechdel test. For years it’s stood as shorthand for indicating that a movie does a decent job in representing both women and female relationships. If one said that a movie passed the Bechdel test, it meant that that movie: 1) had two named female characters who 2) talk to each other about 3) something other than a man.

But now, in the wake of Pacific Rim‘s enormous online success, there have been calls for a Pacific Rim-inspired feminist test to join the Bechdel test. The Mako Mori test, as defined by Tumblr user chaila, states:

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.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Don’t hate on pink!

How many times have you read a story or fanfic or watched a movie and you knew the lady was going to be badass because she ordered a beer/hard liquor and not a Cosmo and because she doesn’t give a shit about her hair or makeup or clothes? Introductions like this make for an easy shorthand that ‘this character is a hardass and worthy of your respect’ but they also reinforce the stereotype that for a woman to be respected, she has to perform stereotypically masculine gender roles. Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: Lunch and Other Obscenities

When it comes to fanfiction, what I read is about 90% shippy, whether it’s het, slash, or femslash. I look to fanfic to portray in-show, -book, or -movie relationships in a way I wish their source text would and so I tend to avoid gen fanfic. In fact, I’ve probably linked to most of the gen fanfic I’ve ever really liked already in this segment. But every once in a while I come across something that’s really great, and Lunch and Other Obscenities by Rheanna27 is one such fanfic.

This story is set in the Star Trek reboot (aka Star Trek XI) universe, and focuses on the relationship between Gaila and Uhura as they start at Starfleet. They’re assigned as roommates because Gaila’s last name is transliterated Uhu, and they immediately start off on the wrong foot. It’s less that they dislike each other as people, and more that both of them adhere to cultural norms, which, though totally acceptable by their species’ standards, the other finds taboo and gross. Over the course of the fic, Uhura learns to question what she sees as ‘normal’, to accept the things she first considers ‘weird’, and that effective cross-cultural translation can save both relationships and lives. And, okay, it does have a teensy bit of Spock/Uhura in there but it’s not at all the focus of the fic, and their relationship is canon in nu!Trek, so I still consider gen fic.

I discovered it on a list of fanfic that passed the Bechdel test, and I found it a really refreshing portrayal of female friendship as well as an intriguing look at the way norms can differ across cultures and the way things that are second nature to one group can be absolutely taboo to another group, without either group being necessarily morally superior.

Here’s the link again—go check it out!