I’ve a strong interest in how women get portrayed in computer games; partly because I’m a strong believer in equality, partly because I like supercool ass-kicking women and there’s so few in games. With that in mind I’ve often found myself thinking about the depiction of female characters in my beloved Warcraft. There’s a hundred different ways I could approach such a topic, but for today I thought I would stick with the big picture and look at some trends across the board. To do that, I’m going to analyse some of Warcraft’s lore characters with a doodad called the Bechdel Test.
The Bechdel Test is intended a measure of female presence in media. Originally showcased in a comic strip (+1 geek point there) the test examines a film (or in this case, computer game) based on containing 3 simple criteria:
1. Does it include at least two female characters?
2. Who talk to each other?
3. Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?
It’s actually quite shocking how many movies, tv shows and games totally fail this test, which is of course the point. Naturally it is by no means perfect, but it’s useful as a kind of litmus test of how women are portrayed, highlighting the complete lack of well-developed female characters in modern entertainment. So how does World of Warcraft fare under the Bechdel Test?