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Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: Orange Is the New Black Gets the Paper Doll Treatment

Artist Emily Niland has taken several of the ladies from Orange Is the New Black and turned them into paper dolls. See more at BuzzFeed.

The theme of a new set of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 posters: Puns. I can dig it. Check out the rest at /Film.

  • Pacific Rim fans on Tumblr have adopted an alternative to the Bechdel Test: The Mako Mori Test. Its standards: A movie must A) have at least one female character, who B) has her own narrative arc that is C) not about supporting a man’s story. (The Daily Dot)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy has a new cast member: Gregg Henry, who’s previously appeared in Firefly, The Killing, and Guardians director James Gunn‘s Slither. There’s no word yet on who he’s playing. (Digital Spy)
  • Via Geekosystem, the first 3D scan of a foot in high heels highlights the temporary—and permanent, if worn often enough—damage they can do to your anatomy. Sneakers, flats, and ugly-yet-comfy Dansko clogs for me, please.

Measuring 112 feet tall and made up of 500,000 individual bricks, this is the world’s largest LEGO tower. (io9)

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  • TKS

    So…the Mako test is “Bechdel junior?” Sorry, “at least one woman in a large ensemble cast” doesn’t cut it. I dont think the Smurfette Principle is a particularly helpful trope.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree, the article does point out that test should “live along side” the Bechdel test. It also points out that while the Bechdel test is useful, it lacks in other areas, such as in Pacific Rim where a female character with agency and POC’s conversing with each other mean more to some people than the number of women.

  • Anonymous

    Is two women in a large ensemble cast okay, even if the ensemble cast is, say 15 total? What if the total is 20?

    Wouldn’t it ultimately have to do with the context of the role?

    The test doesn’t specify the size of the cast in relation to the one or more female characters. You’ve highlighted a contextual issue–much like the discussion time issue for the Bechdel Test–but used it definitively to dismiss the test itself.

  • TKS

    I agree that the context of the film is important, but seeing as how we just left a summer where women were greatly ignored, seemingly more so than usual, I find this Mako test to be a lower bar. The Bechdel test is already a pretty low bar, so stepping backward seems a bit counter-productive to me. “One woman? GOOD ENOUGH.”

    I know the test doesn’t mention the size of the cast. I used “one woman in an ensemble cast” because that’s what Mako was. One woman in a very large ensemble cast. (I know people loved the Russian, but having no substantive lines and getting less than a minute of screen time, she was more of a set piece than a character.) Of course there is no “lady number threshold” or “percentage of women” that makes a film acceptable or unacceptable, but using that fact to justify only having ONE WOMAN is not really progress in my view. It’s an excuse.

    There is one change to the test that would persuade me to take it a bit more seriously: Does the character affect the film’s overall narrative. A character can be well written (which I am not convinced Mako was) and have her own separate narrative and not influence the film in a significant way.

    That’s my biggest problem with Mako. She had her own story, but she didn’t influence the story, really. She was the object of conflict (not a party in the conflict), and she was present for a lot of it, but how did her decisions really change the path of the narrative? To me, they didn’t. And I, personally, can’t say that a character has agency if they don’t influence the narrative.

  • Ashe

    Ke$ha: Using Her Powers For Good

    The Mako Mori test is the beginnings of a good thing. While I appreciate the Bechdel Test, and regularly apply it myself when watching any movie ever, it’s important that we continue to update and redefine what it means to represent women fairly and accurately. I liked it when someone mentioned the Bechdel Test for POC: something that’s equally as rare, but doesn’t get as much press.

    Intersectionality is agonizingly important in feminism, so I wonder how we can manage to judge each intersecting pattern while keeping it applicable and simple. Bechdel Test for LGBT, POC, disabled persons? What about people who fall under multiple lines and thus have completely unique experiences? Should there even be a separate category, considering feminism’s bad habit of separatism?

    Now, I think that the Mako Mori test as it is still needs to be combined with the Bechdel-one woman just doesn’t fucking cut it-in order to truly raise the bar. We have to appreciate progress’ baby steps, but we also shouldn’t settle for less.

    Mako Mori was indicative of both negative trends in Hollywood and shockingly progressive change. That’s a fascinating place to be.

  • Ashe

    While I disagree about Mako being well-written, you have a point about her influencing the narrative.

    I feel like the movie copped out near the end where she is, quite literally, ejected out of the final scenes. They could’ve wrapped up a few major parts of her arc and instead it was all left to Raeleigh, rescuing her yet again.

  • Emily Neenan

    I know a lot of people are giving out that the Mako Mori test allows a film to get away with only having one woman, but I’m really glad to have a test for how good a female character actually is. Neither the Bechdel nor the Mako Mori test actually tell you if the film is definitely feminist, a film can pass either one and still be hugely problematic. But it’s obvious that Pacific Rim and Avengers do better with characterisation of women than films with the same proportion of women or who get the same rank on the Bechdel test (one out of three). I think we should certainly not replace the Bechdel Test, but being able to point to characters like Mako and Black Widow and say “This character passes the Mako Mori test, this film respects this female character” is a really useful tool to ADD to the Bechdel Test. Then we can say “Transformers failed both tests, but Pacific Rim failed the Bechdel test and passed the Make Mori test. If you want to see giant robots, Pacific Rim is a better, more feminist movie!”

  • brilance

    This is a cool idea. I was skeptical about the Mako Mori test at first, because I saw it as a bit of a cop-out or excuse. But I like the idea of having a more relative ranking, and not just a binary. You could look at other factors, too, like racial diversity.

    Someone should make a website that just does this for all movies. Like those sites that rate movies based on how “family-friendly” they are, but for tests dealing with inclusion & diversity instead.

  • BlaughDaugh

    Isn’t it sad, though, when Japanese giant robot films/series (some over 20 years older than this film) generally have more women in them who not only pass the Mako Mori test but also the Bechdel test? Sure, there are problematic elements to a lot of these, but jeez if there aren’t a LOT of women in them. I am not sure how the POC element fits in but I think that is more of an issue in the States overall.
    There are some cool female characters in the US flim geekosphere but all too often, they are the lone estrogen-producers among the main characters. Maybe we can take some time away from Sherlock/Avengers/Doctor Who worship and use social media to demand more complex female characters in general.

  • TKS

    There is one for the Bechdel test. I am sure, if the Mako Mori test sticks around, there will be one eventually.

  • EleniRPG

    The Mako Mori test should not be seen as an alternative, but maybe as a complement to the Bechdel Test. Two named wives blabbing about shoes as their husbands excuse themselves to discuss the actual movie plot? It would pass Bechdel, but really suck. The most feminist-friendly films should pass both.

  • domytoruluq

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    Now, I think that the Mako Mori test as it is still needs to be
    combined with the Bechdel-one woman just doesn’t cut it-in order
    to truly raise the bar. We have to appreciate progress’ baby steps, but
    we also shouldn’t settle for less.

  • Anonymous

    I see your point, but I think that your argument that it “justifies” lone female narratives can just as well be applied to non-meaningful female interaction narratives in the Bechdel Test. Neither the Bechdel Test nor this Mako Mori Test really “save” films one way or the other. They’ll always depend on context. I think, as Ciella mentioned, if the tests are used together, they demonstrate different ways in which films can be meaningful in terms of gender representation. One aspect discusses inter-female character interactions, the other assesses female character arc or agency, and you could probably create a series of other tests to use together as a sort of assay.

    I don’t think the Mako Mori Test gives movies a get-out-of-having-multiple-women-represented card any more than the Bechdel Test gives movies a get-out-of-depicting-women-with-their-own-meaningful-story-arcs card.

    I think it’s a valuable thing to consider, particularly since you can apply both the Mako Mori Test and the Bechdel Test in conjunction and see what it gives you.

  • Anonymous

    I think it would be cool (though admittedly complex) to have a sort of cross reference database to view how the film passes many of these other tests, like Bechdel, Mako Mori, Reverse Bechdel (which I only find useful for context to the Bechdel), Racial Bechdel*, Queer Bechdel*, etc. Just an interesting way to see how movies intersect in a litany of identities and how the general scene of film comes up.

    *For lack of better names

  • Aundrea Singer

    I love the idea of a Mako Mori test, but I think it should be a supplement to, not an alternative for the Bechdel test. After all, Mori didn’t have a single conversation with another woman in the entire film.

  • Aundrea Singer

    Agreed (sadly). And the fact that he ejected her and then piloted the Jaeger solo for the second time was completely about his story, not hers. I know it’s been argued on this site that Mori was the main character of the film while Raleigh was the narrator, but I personally couldn’t think of him as anything else. The story started with him and was very obviously about his journey to personal redemption, with Mori there as an extremely important but still secondary character. I think if it had been otherwise, I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed when Raleigh ejected her from their Jaeger in the final scenes. As it was, it ultimately felt very status quo and seemed to underscore Raleigh’s greater importance in the story.