Of the many ways to measure diversity in film, one of the most informative originated as a joke in a comic. The Bechdel Test, as it's come to be known, originated in the 1985 comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For," written by Alison Bechdel, the test's namesake.
For a film to pass the Bechdel Test, it has to meet three criteria:
There have been 16 Bechdel-passing films that have grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide.
Last year, FiveThirtyEight took a look at the financial implications of films passing the Bechdel Test. Was it possible that films that failed the test simply outperformed those that passed? Was the reason for this lack of diversity economic? No. In fact,FiveThirtyEight found that dollar for dollar, Bechdel-passing films outperformed those that didn't.
Data-sharing site Silk analyzed 1,500 films released between 2010 and 2014 using the Bechdel Test criteria. Silk then incorporated data from bechdeltest.com and anAnnenburg School study for reference and historical purposes.
In 2014, just 55.4% of all films passed the Bechdel Test. This is down from 2013's 67.5% and 2012's 66.4%.
Still, just because a movie meets the Bechdel Test criteria doesn't necessarily mean that it's some sort of feminist powerhouse.
Take "Cinderella," for example.
Despite the plot of the "Cinderella" story centering almost entirely around the idea that the only way for women to find success and happiness is to marry a rich, charming prince, nearly every movie adaptation has passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors. Will the 2015 adaptation pass the test? Likely! Still, it's not exactly the next coming of "Our Bodies, Our Selves," and that's OK!