HitchHiker's Guide vs The Bechdel Test

For many, Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a rite of passage into the world of science-fiction.

But could the iconic work be lacking?

Feminist Jenn Northington says that the novel fails the Bechdel Test.

The Bechdel Test says that a work of literature should have at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than men.

Northington says that HGttG fails the test because it only has one female character, Trillian.  Northington notes that the novel mentions a "Vogon's aunt" but that said aunt is neither seen or heard from in the novel.

Noting that she can like a movie or novel that doesn't pass the test, Northington adds that the novel's not passing the test doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be enjoyed.  She says that she doesn't see any "ulterior motives" from Adams, adding "clearly has no problem with women, he quite likes them really, he just didn’t write more than one in."

As a counter-argument, Northington notes, "Yes, this is a problem, because when your cast spans not just Earth but the Universe itself, surely, surely, SURELY, there are women out there. It’s an evolutionary impossibility that the universe is only populated by dudes, and a statistical impossibility that only the dudes would be interesting enough to write about. And even in a book that plays with statistical impossibilities from page one, that’s a lot to ignore. And the fact that it was written in the ’70s doesn’t excuse anything either; the ’70s had lots of women."

"Did he do it on purpose? I am sure the answer is no," she concludes. "Ok, so why are we still talking about this? Because a book can be good, but that doesn’t make it flawless. Because science fiction as a genre is highly prone to gender representation problems. Because the default cast has been 90% male for so long. Because feminism is really about equality, and it’s worth noticing the stories that fail. We as readers and writers can note that this is, in fact, disproportionate representation. That women are interesting characters, who probably have lots of interesting conversations about things other than the men in their lives. And that we want to read about them."

So, do you agree or disagree with Northington's arguments?

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