Are You Sitting Down? 'Fifty Shades' Passes the Bechdel Test

Shocking but true.

Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
(Image credit: YouTube)

Attention Fifty Shades apologists: There's a new battle cry you could be taking up right now that's way more legit-sounding than "read the book" and "it's a love story you don't understand." How about "the movie passes the Bechdel test," hmm?

It's true—Sam Taylor-Johnson's monster (hit) pretty much earned an A in Gender Equality in Film. That is, the screen adaptation meets three, not-tremendously-difficult-seeming-but-are requirements, which means that it portrays women as real people and not just as props who react to male characters:

1. Are there at least two women who have names in it?
2. Do they talk to each other?
3. Is their conversation about anything other than a man?

According to Vox, there are multiple instances of the second two criteria, including scenes in which Ana discusses things such as sandwiches and dinner with her roommate and Christian's mother. (We've got that first point covered: Kate Kavanagh, played by Eloise Mumford, and Anastasia Steele, duh.)

To put this achievement into perspective, you ought to know that in a study of 1,794 titles from 1970 to 2013, nearly half failed the Bechdel test. *thud* Fifty Shades, a movie about a woman dating a dude with peculiar tastes, did something almost 900 other movies couldn't! 

Mad respect, STJ and screenwriter Kelly Marcel. Mad respect.

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.