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7 Movies New to Netflix in July That Pass the Bechdel Test

For when you have more than enough dudes talking at you already.
Screenshot via Netflix

This month, like every month, Netflix is rolling out a list of new movies that will be available to stream—and other movies, like the classic Bring It On, will sadly depart from our favorite streaming platform.

For the sake of feminism and curiosity, we thought it'd be fun to put Netflix's new additions to the Bechdel test. As a refresher, the Bechdel test—named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel—challenges a movie to pass three rules: One, it has to have at least two women in it; two, they have to speak to each other; three, their topic of conversation has to be anything other than men. The test seems simple enough and sets a pretty low bar, but still, far too many movies in 2018 don't make the cut. Here are the current Netflix titles that do:


The Princess Diaries (July 1)

Nostalgic films generally come with a hint of sexism, but that's less so the case with The Princess Diaries, which is new to Netflix and passes the Bechdel test with flying colors! When Mia Thermopolis, a nerdy teen from San Francisco, finds out that she is both a princess and heir to the Genovian throne, she has far too much on her plate to think about boys (though she finds time for them, too). Between learning how to act like royalty from her grandmother, the Queen of Genovia, navigating high school with her best friend Lilly Moscovitz, and making art with her mom, Mia has plenty of conversations with women as she prepares to rule an entire country.

Scooby-Doo (July 1)

Fed up with the sexist ways they've been treated—Daphne for being positioned as the damsel in distress and Velma for never getting credit for her brilliant ideas—the gang at Mystery Inc. breaks up only to be unexpectedly reunited two years later at a popular resort called Spooky Island. There, they investigate rumors that tourists are being brainwashed while on vacation. A few demon attacks and possessions later, the gang finally gets to the bottom of what's been causing the commotion. Along the way, Daphne and Velma have a couple quick conversations about researching cults and trying to understand the powers that have overtaken the island, meaning the movie passes the test—but not by much.


Jurassic Park (July 1)

Jurassic Park is another nostalgic movie on Netflix this month. It passes the Bechdel test, but again, not with flying colors. The passing grade is due to a few minimal interactions between Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards). Still, the integral role that women—especially Dern's character, a clever paleobotanist—play in saving the day is not to be overlooked. You'll also find The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III on Netflix this month—but unfortunately, the latter does not pass the Bechdel test.

Penelope (July 1)

Unlike far too many rom-coms, Penelope actually passes the Bechdel test—likely because the film is really more about self-acceptance than romance. The movie follows Penelope, a young woman who is cursed with a pig-like nose, as she struggles to find a man who can see past her snout and learn to see past it herself. On her journey to self-love, she puts up with her mother who constantly tells her, "you're not your nose" and sternly urges her to try harder to find a boyfriend. While out at a bar and wearing a scarf that covers half her face, Penelope meets a carefree delivery girl named Annie and the two become friends. Between Annie and her mother, Penelope has several conversations about her appearance and her future with other women, meaning the movie passes the test!

Spanglish (July 1)

At worst, Spanglish is a problematic film with a number of plot holes. At best, it's a story about an immigrant mother's worries as she watches her daughter assimilate into rich, white American culture. While John and Deborah Clasky (Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni) struggle with their marriage after Deborah cheats and experiences a mental breakdown, their live-in nanny Flor Moreno (Paz Vega) and her daughter attempt to navigate the family's strange inner-workings and cultural differences. Spanglish gets a passing grade for multiple conversations between women: Flor and Deborah attempt to converse—though it's difficult given their language barrier (hence the name of the film); the two mothers also have plenty of conversations with their daughters (though for Deborah that often means fat-shaming her daughter); and Deborah also talks to her mother about the way her past manifests in her present.


Scream 3 (July 1) and Scream 4 (July 7)

Though the films came out 11 years apart, both Scream 3 and Scream 4 pass the Bechdel test. With casts that have almost equal male and female gender representation, this isn't entirely surprising—but it's great nevertheless. The movies may be cringe-y elsewhere, but when it comes to female representation by numbers, it would do filmmakers some good to take a lesson from the Scream series.

An Education (July 22)

Nominated for three Academy Awards in 2010, An Education follows 16-year-old Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) as she falls into a relationship with a man almost twice her age named David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard). Despite the creepy plot, this film passes the Bechdel test as Jenny has conversations with multiple women, from her mother to her teacher, about her future. Spoiler alert: David ends up leaving Jenny high and dry, meaning the movie doesn't have the expected happy ending that coming-of-age films often do, but it does mean that Jenny gets accepted to Oxford University and learns that life goes on after heartbreak.