8 Reasons why Battlestar Galactica Kicks Ass
1. Passes the Bechdel Test
- does the story have a) more than one woman, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a man
Yep! Lots of women, and while for several of them their key relationship is with a man (husband, father-figure, the Admiral to your President), they also have relationships with each other that are not about men.
2. Passes The Pantomime Test
- The female character can be swapped with a male character, with little to no edits, and the narrative still makes sense
Some of the female characters (Starbuck and Boomer) were actually male in the original BSG! Starbuck is a hot-shot viper pilot who gets into trouble with authority figures. Boomer deals with the fear that she might be a Cylon.
3. Passes The Oracle Test
- The show has a disabled character who a) is not there ‘to be fixed’; b) whose narrative does not revolve around the disability; c) does their job while having a disability, not in spite of having a disability.
Laura Roslin has cancer (chronic illness as disability?) the entire run of the show and is an amazing president who saves the surviving remnants of humanity.
Saul Tigh has his eye ripped out while being tortured by Cylons. After being rescued (and dealing spoiler having to kill his wife) he returns to his position of XO. And he’s still his old cantankerous self.
Starbuck is disabled for a few episodes and needs a cane to walk. She still preforms her job like a boss and foils an assassination attempt.
Gaeta might also count, as he loses his leg and continues working (and starts a coup). Although you could probably debate whether this was a positive portrayal or not, I think.
Also, people actually wear glasses.
4. Passes the Mako Mori Test
- the show has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
Like, all of the female characters have their own story arcs. For example, Laura becomes president when the world ends and struggles to lead her people to Earth before she dies. And Sharon “Athena” Agathon wants to keep her family together, while also coming to terms with the decisions she’s made, where her loyalties lie, and how to live with people who see her as the enemy.
5. Passes the Vito Russo Test
- The show has a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender a) who must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity b) and must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect.
Kind of… Gaeta is bisexual, and Admiral Cain and Gina were in a relationship, but none of this was shown on the actual show, only in the webisodes Face of the Enemy and the miniseries Razor… So maybe half a point? All the characters, except maybe Hoshi, are significant to the plot.
6. Passes Deggans Rule
- The show has at least two non-white human characters in the main cast a) in a show that’s not about race.
7. Passes the Phyrne Fisher Test
- The show has a female character who a) has a traditionally masculine job; b) does not masculinize herself for the sake of the job; c) and is not sexualized in the narrative.
All the women on this show are either in the military, robots, or the president!
Cally is a mechanic who works on the planes!
Cain is an Admiral, and a war criminal, both traditionally masculine jobs.
8. Passes the Delany (Tauriel) Test
- The show has a woman, a) who has a job/task important to the plot of the story b) and is successful at it.
I mean, all of them. President, top viper pilot, mechanic, etc. But let’s do Six, because she hasn’t come up yet! Caprica Six is tasked with gaining the Colonial defense information so that the Cylons can destroy the Twelve Colonies. She is extremely successful and this act begins the whole series!