More About the Bechdel Test

I said earlier that I'd say a bit about whether going out of my way to pass the Bechdel Test in writing counts as a quota. There are a few places I can take this, but I don't want to get mired into a conversation about affirmative action that I'm not entirely qualified to speculate upon, especially when it would take me very far afield of my point.

My point being: yes, it is, if you define a quota as a specific, proactive effort to include a certain proportion of different sorts of people in fiction.

The reasons for doing it seem obvious to me, but the aforementioned artistic dishonesty whingers tend to have a problem with that kind of thing.  So, because I think it's sort of embarrassingly paternalistic to explain why one should try to write inclusive fiction, instead I'm going to point out the assumptions one makes in not trying.

  1. You are perfectly egalitarian and utterly without bias, bigotry or unjustified beliefs.  Not going out of your way to compensate for the things you're intuitively wrong about betrays a certain amount of belief that you're not actually intuitively wrong about anything.  Or, in the very least, that you don't care if you're wrong.
  2. Your culture, and its conventions towards storytelling, is intrinsically well-adjusted with relation to all minority or marginalized groups.  Or, alternately,
  3. You are completely unaffected by your culture's storytelling trends:  where your story reflects tropes that dominate contemporary fiction, it is only because, in your story, those were he best possible place to go.
  4. You are utterly capable of proactively resisting implicit subtext in your works, and never risk implying something you didn't intend to, or would be actively bothered to have implied.

In short, not making any effort to be inclusive in one's writing means you think you're a storytelling god.

Or, you just don't care how your writing affects people -- and if that's the case, please quit.  Now.