Industries & Festivals — November 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Cinemas in Sweden launch special ratings system to filter sexism

sweden-cinemasA group in Sweden is eyeing a new form of ratings. Four art-house cinemas in the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsingborg and Malmö recently installed a new (unofficial) ratings system that hinges on the Bechdel Test, a means by which it’s become popular to measure the level of gender bias in movies, Deadline reported.

The test is based on three criteria which were introduced by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel in a 1985 strip of her comic, Dykes To Watch Out For.

The criteria are that a movie has to have: 1. at least two named women in it, 2. who talk to each other, and, 3. about something besides a man.

Equalisters, a Swedish project that aims to correct imbalances of representation in media, culture, business and other contexts, helped launch the scheme at the four cinemas last month, along with the Swedish chapter of Women In Film & Television (WIFT).

It should be noted that the Swedish cinemas involved in this rating movement are art-house, and thus unlikely to be showing mainstream fare.

The group stresses on its website that the A-rating isn’t meant to disparage the quality of a movie, rather it’s “more like an alarm clock and a way of raising awareness about who gets to talk in movies today and whose stories are being told.”

The A-label can be stamped on posters, ads and programs and be shown on the screen before a given film starts.

Equalisters contends that the Bechdel criteria should be “easy enough” but “there are surprisingly few films that actually pass the test.” WIFT’s Maria Larsson Guerpillon said at launch, “The Bechdel Test started almost 30 years ago so really this should now be a non-issue. But unfortunately, the desired change has not occurred. With the A label, we hope to accelerate this process.”

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