Failing the Bechdel test with an all-female cast

The Bechdel test is a test which helps identify gender bias in fiction. The test is pretty simple, and obviously isn’t a completely reliable indicator attitudes towards women. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting thought experiment—even today the majority of fictional works fail it, so it can be fun to find counterexamples.

The test works like this: A novel, play, movie, or other fictional work passes the test only if (1) it has at least two women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man.

My challenge is as follows: can you name any fictional work in which the only speaking roles are for women, but which still fails the Bechdel test?

The Vagina Monologues

… Failing (2) due to being monologues

White Oleander? I can’t think of any movie with no men, but White Oleander was primarily about women, specifically a self-absorbed mother and her daughter. Although men are significant to the story, there are many other conversations that don’t have to do with men.

Depending how strongly you interpret ‘talking about something other than men’.

The Women, both the 1939 version and the 2008 remake.

All female cast. Much (though not all) of the conversation is about men, and the actions of a man kick off the plot.

Friends (TV show)
The Devil Wears Prada

I haven’t seen any of these, but judging from their IMDb entries they’ve got several male characters in speaking roles, and therefore don’t meet the criteria of the challenge…

closest i can think of that fits the OP’s criteria is Steel Magnolias. (the 1989 version) while it does have male characters with speaking parts, they have minimal screen time, and all the lead characters are women. the male characters are little more than plot devices.

Whoops, sorry - misread the OP.

Various radical feminist short stories with all female casts who talk about how awful men are would qualify by violating #3. I forget the title, but I recall one old feminist sci-fi story with two women talking about how penises are alien mind control worms, men are less intelligent than women, and about how without men women can have painless virgin birth.

Yeah, but they have conversations about all kinds of stuff not involving men–kidney failure and what not. *Steel Magnolias *passes the Bechdel test.

It’s important to remember that the test only requires one conversation that doesn’t involve men.

It doesn’t require that the entire work go without mentioning them.

I believe the play is just women - if I recall correctly there is no male cast members in the play (been a while since I read it though).

re-reading the OP i see that i misread it as well. i was trying to think of something with no male speaking parts that still passed the bechdel test, not failed it. i fail. :smack:

Maybe you misread the OP; I’m pretty sure both of these pass the Bechdel test. The OP was looking for ones that fail it, while having an all-female cast (or at least only minor male roles).

So far “The Vagina Monologues” is the only winner.

Eh. Any collection of monologues would, by definition, fail the test no matter the cast or content.

“The Vagina Monologues” can’t win because it doesn’t meet the criteria to compete.

Well then the only way for an all-female cast to fail the test would be by only talking about men. Which I’m not sure we’re going to find.

Depending on what you mean by “the only speaking roles are for women,” the stage version of Shirley Valentine is meant to have all of its roles (including, IIRC, one male one) played by women - well, a woman.

Should the original question be changed to limit it to works where there are at least two different women with speaking roles?

Well, the play on which the movie is based doesn’t have any men! The cast is all-female, and the whole play takes place in the beauty parlor. Male characters are spoken of, but never appear.

A few of those male characters appear on screen in the movie version, which was opened up a bit, but they aren’t given much to say or do.

Question about the Bechdel test: Do the female characters have to be hetero?