Monday, September 26, 2016

The Secret Life of Bees earns an A on the Rep Test

The Secret Life of Bee’s is a movie set in South Carolina in 1964 about a young girl whose mother passed away and is trying to escape her current life and bad relationship with her father. Lily the 14 year old protagonist leaves her life behind with her caregiver Rosaleen, to a small town in South Carolina to learn more about her mother's past. Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by the independent and loving Boatwright sisters and is taught the life of beekeeping. This moving film is unlike other films that depict racism, it portrays black and white women to be intelligent and with dignity leading to its score of a A on the representation test. The Representation test is “a media literacy tool meant to spark learning and conversation around representation in film, and to encourage more overall diversity on screen and behind-the-scenes in Hollywood.” The Secret Life of Bee’s passes this test with its score of 6 in the women's section, 3 in the men’s section, 1 in the Race, Ethnicity and culture section and 3 in the Bonus points section.
The protagonist of the movie is a 14 year old white girl which earns the movie 2 points on the rep test. This movie has a female dominant cast including many women of color. The movie earned a point on the test because the film does include one or more women of color, in speaking roles, who are not reduced to racial stereotypes. In the movie the women of color diminished their stereotypes because they are portrayed as intelligent, educated, loving and kind individuals. This film also includes women with speaking roles with diverse body types. Each of the Boatwright sisters has different body types along with Rosaleen which scores the movie a point on the test. Lastly in the women’s category the film passes the Bechdel test which is two or more named characters that are women who talk to each other about something other than a man. This movie passes that test with flying colors because the whole storyline revolves around women.
This movie earns three points in the men's section because first it earns a point by not glorifying violent men. In the beginning of the play many of the men violently assault women. Lily’s father used to abuse her mother and Lily hates him and has a bad relationship with him because of it. Throughout the movie there is no character that is portrayed with an extreme and unhealthy body type which earns a point on the test. Lastly this movie earns another point on the test by including men in non-stereotypical roles. For example in the movie there is an African American boy named Zachary Taylor who is very intelligent and aspires to becoming a lawyer one day which is unheard of for black males. Zachary also plays a non-stereotypical role because he works on the Boatwrights’ farm to earn money for college, to buy a car, and to be independent.
The movie received three bonus points because it is directed by a women of color and is written by a women. I believe this film does a very good job representing women and men in this movie without portraying them with stereotypical personalities. Although the movie does not represent people of the LGBT community or people with disabilities it makes up for it by scoring so well in the other sections. I believe that this test is a fair test of the media because it includes 5 major sections that all movies should earn points in most. This test really reveals how the media unfairly represents women and minorities in the film industry.

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