If women don’t talk about men all the time, what do we talk about?

Remember the Bechdel Test? It’s that set of three rules that helps determine the presence of women in TV and movies? Rule 3 stipulates that two women must discuss something other than a man. Back when I wrote that overview, some hilarious internet denizen wrote back, “but women do mostly talk about men…” Hardee har har. Bro, I think you’ve been watching a little too much SATC.

Though his joke was clearly stupid, it did make me wonder how much of what I discuss with my girlfriends has to do with dating, men, sex, etc. We like data and graphs around here, so we did a little experiment. My best friend and I gchat much of the day most days. Although our gchats are in no way a comprehensive view of communication (lacking face-to-face, phone, text, and email), there’s no reason to think they aren’t a reasonable proxy for our typical patterns of communication.

I went through and tagged two weeks worth of gchats with their subject matter and the amount of time devoted to each item. Then, I graphed that as a ratio of the whole. Bottom line: Gentlemen, we hardly talked about you at all. 

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Related Post: What are the most common names of men I’ve dated?

Related Post: Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman

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4 Comments

Filed under Gender, Media

4 responses to “If women don’t talk about men all the time, what do we talk about?

  1. Maggie

    Does talking about men you don’t know count as talking about men? Does a discussion of Mark Sanford or Vladimir Putin or Robert Pattinson fail the Bechdel test?

    • Great question. I would say that, if the conversation between the only two female characters was about a male politician, that would still fail the test. Just my opinion, but I think the point is to remind writers (especially male ones), that female conversation may have other subjects besides men.

  2. Bridget

    That’s a tasty looking pie (chart) and I would agree with you. Conversations with women friends are rarely about men.

  3. I’m just making a wild guess here, but I’m thinking that 89% of what me and my girlfriends talk about is food. What someone conjured up that was delectable, a great restaurant someone went to, what we’re currently craving (or consuming), what we’re planning on eating next… :-) The true love of our lives? Probably.

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