Numbers Numbers

A while ago I promised to Bechdel Test my book collection.  My currently accessible book collection is not large, and yet, it took me weeks.  Why, you ask?  What was the holdup?  Well, see, it's in three different bookcases and I just didn't know where to start.  You know how these things go.  But it's done and took about an hour.  Mostly because I can't remember anything anymore and spent a great deal of time thumbing through books looking for conversations.

The results?  I counted only straight fiction novels, so I did not include graphic novels, poetry, or non-fiction.  Of my 167 remaining books, 28 failed.  So about 16.7% of my collection does not pass the test.  Not too shabby.  However when broken down by bookcase, things changed drastically.  My bookcases are as follows: Adult Lit, Sci-Fi, YA Lit.  Sci-Fi and YA combined account for 100 books, only 8 of which failed the Bechdel Test.  Of the remaining 67 adult lit nooks, 20 failed.  To sum up, 8% of my Sci-Fi and YA collection failed, while 29% of my adult lit collection failed . . . urm . . .

So, to recap:
  • 80% of my movie collection fails the Bechdel Test
  • 16.7% of my total fiction collection fails
  • 8% of my Sci-Fi and YA fail
  • 29% of my Adult Lit fails
I fully expected my book collection to fare better than my movie collection because the longer you have to tell a story, the more developed and nuanced the characters and their interactions.  Books usually take place over days, weeks, months, years - plenty of time to allow to women to talk about something besides a man.  However the discrepancy between genres is fascinating.  Am I more careful curator of YA Lit than Adult Lit?  Probably.  Do I gravitate to certain authors who write women well?  Well hello Terry Pratchett!  Is my Adult Lit collection full of male authors and "classics?"  Yes, yes it is.

Thoughts, anyone?

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