Question of the week: is a mandatory Bechdel test a good idea?

An interesting news nugget from Sweden is that in addition to the existing rating system, that country is going to implement a Bechdel test system for all its movies, too. For those that don’t know, the Bechdel test is designed to see just how male-centric a story is. The story passes if:

  1. It has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man

Now, obviously this isn’t science. If you have a story about two female cops chasing a male suspect, for example, even though they’re the focus of the story, if they spend all their time talking about the suspect, the film will fail the test.

But despite these flaws, it’s a useful rule of thumb to see if a story is perhaps a little too focused on what the men are up to to the detriment of the female characters. So this week I’m asking the question: 

Is a mandatory Bechdel test for movies a good idea or something too clumsy to be meaningful in practice? And would you welcome its introduction in your country?

As always, answers below or on your own blog, please.