Answer: paint more women. Before I clarify, allow me to explain. The Bechdel test is a concept that tells you if women are properly represented in fiction such as books, movies and TV. To pass the test there must be at least two women having a conversation about something other than a man. Apparently only half of all movies pass the test.

Technically, I suppose my paintings don’t qualify for the test because there are no conversations involved. But if I keep the concept in mind, I’m definitely failing. For the past year and a bit I’ve been doing paintings of characters from popular culture and while I have painted some female characters, most of them are men. I try to do paintings of iconic characters, often (but not always) from movies and TV that I actually like. And overwhelmingly, it seems, the most iconic characters are played by and written for men.

June, 2019, Oil on Canvas.

So in light of all this, are there any iconic female characters you’d like to see me paint? The good thing is, I have done a few. Strong characters such as June and Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale and the iconic Princess Leia.

Having said all of this, maybe it’s a good thing that most of my ‘muses’ for this work are male. My latest work follows in the tradition of famous misogynist Pablo Picasso. I feel like that is also something that I want to address, especially since the comedian Hannah Gadsby got me thinking about it more than I already was, so I’ll get more deeply into that next week.

Auntie, 2019, oil on canvas.

One last thing. This is not the first time I’ve written about the Bechdel test. I did it twice in my online comic strip Gorilla in the Midst and I gotta say, it’s pretty funny! The comic was always written in a serialized format, so read to the end of each storyline. Part 1. Part 2. Interesting note, there is a big mistake at the beginning of the second storyline, proving that I knew very little about one Donald J. Trump at the time. I’m actually kind proud of that, but I should probably fix it. Sorry Melania.

Princess, 2019, oil on canvas.