Alison Bechdel awarded MacArthur grant

Holy social progress, Wonder Woman!!!

Alison Bechdel is one of 21 awardees of the 2014 MacArthur Foundation grants. Currently on an artist residency in Italy, Bechdel will receive a $650K grant from the foundation. She is probably best known for what’s called the Bechdel test (for women’s representation in film), consisting of three questions: 1) Are there two women with speaking parts (a variant includes “and named characters”); 2) Do these female characters speak to each other?; and 3)Do they speak to each other about topics other than men? (The original list is shorter; I’m a writer, I like to embellish without exaggerating).

A large portion of people calling themselves feminists have championed Bechdel’s test as a simple way to gauge progress in the film industry re: women’s roles. The news doesn’t seem to have spread very far at this point (from an admittedly brief surf through some sites), as it was announced earlier today.

I don’t know whether this will be a cause for loud or quiet celebration. Tune in to the Webz tomorrow to find out.