Edward Lear
I just wrote about Liz Lutgendorff’s article published in the New Statesman where she reviewed the list of “100 best” SF&F novels. An interesting element emerged from the article, which was the test she used to rate each book. This is the Bechdel Test, aka the Bechdel-Wallace Test for identifying gender bias in works of fiction. This was originated by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in her 1985 comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, based on comments from Virginia Woolf.

The test entered popular culture and appears to be highly useful for rating films, TV shows or books. It asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The test was made up for films and is conducted in three parts:

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

According to Wikipedia, only about half of films pass all three requirements of the test. Check out the article to read the original comic strip and some of the stats.