Bechdel and Other Tests

November 14th, 2021

Written by Erin McCoy, Katie Creel, and Juliette Woodrow. Inspired by and data from “The Next Bechdel Test”

List Comprehensions

In this problem, we'll go over how list comprehensions can be used to solve hard problems in satisfyingly few lines of code.

Here is a problem you can start with. This should be solved with one line of code:

Now let's try out some more! Given a list of numbers lst, write one-line list comprehensions to do the following:

Now, suppose we have a list of pairs such as this one:

        pairs = [('zzz', 3), ('bbb', 10), ('ccc', 4), ('aaa', 6)]
Write one-line list comprehensions to do the following:

Short History of Bechdel Test

Named for Alison Bechdel, the Bechdel test seeks to analyze the representation of women in fictional media (books, movies, TV shows, etc.). To pass the Bechdel test, the piece of media must:

  1. Feature two women
  2. Who have a conversation
  3. This conversation is about something other than a man

As of 2021, 58% of movies pass the Bechdel Test, and this number has steadily increased over the past century.

The popularity of the Bechdel test has inspired others to create their own named tests measuring other inequities in media. Here are a few examples:

For more information about Bechdel and other tests, please take a look at “The Next Bechdel Test” article


In this section, you will use your nested data structure and graphics skills to build your very own data visualization application. You will analyze a dataset consisting of >50 movies and which tests the movie passes and which it fails. Your goal is to build a piece of software that helps you investigate representation and bias in movies.

Identifying issues of bias and representation in datasets is a natural extension of many of the interesting ethical topics that we have talked about in CS106A so far this quarter. As we've mentioned before, our hope is that by introducing these sorts of topics early in computer science education, we can help the next generation of software developers and computer science researchers—which could include you!—be more mindful of the potential social implications of their work and to use their powerful tools to help others.

Section Overview

The rest of this handout will be broken into several sections.

Test Appendix

Definitions from FiveThirtyEight