For 25 years, Alison Bechdel created the immensely popular cult comic strip ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’, which was syndicated in 50 publications across the US. The infamous ‘Bechdel Test’, a widely adopted formula for testing whether a film or book is gender biased, grew out of a scene in her strip. This highly effective gender bias test asks whether the story features at least two women, who talk to each other, about something other than a man.
The Bechdel Test has since been adopted by many reviewers, with pressure brought to bear on Hollywood to increase the number of movies produced that pass the test. Thus immortalised in the popular lexicon, Alison Bechdel has become a true cultural icon. In the Guardian, Laura Miller branded Alison a ‘lesbian Woody Allen’, describing her as ‘comical and … adorable, a quality that allows her to carry readers where they might not otherwise be keen to go.’
Her work has been at the forefront of the move of comics into the literary mainstream, particularly her rave-reviewed books Fun House – Time magazine’s Best Book of 2006 – and Are You My Mother? In these memoirs about her parents, Alison explores her relationship with her father, a closeted gay man who died in a probable suicide months after his daughter came out to him, and her mother, an aspiring actress who became a frustrated housewife after her marriage.
Alison will be introduced by Clementine Ford.
Clementine Ford is a freelance writer and columnist for Fairfax. She has been thrice selected as one of Daily Life’s Women of the Year and has won an EVA award for excellence in reporting on violence against women.
Alison Bechdel is the creator of the award-winning comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. She is also the author of the ground-breaking graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic which was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and was named Best Book by Time Magazine.