ALISON BECHDEL is a cartoonist and writer. Her serialized comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, ran in dozens of periodicals from 1983 to 2008. In 2006 she published Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, a graphic memoir that centers on her relationship with her father and addresses matters of gender, sexual orientation, and family—and that has been adapted into a Tony Award-winning musical. Her most recent book, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama (2012), centers on her relationship with her mother. She’s currently at work on another memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, a book that will focus on her obsession with skiing, running, weight lifting, yoga, and other forms of exercise. In a 2012 interview in the New Yorker, Bechdel states that “by looking inward deeply, I’m trying to get outside myself and connect with other people.” In 2014, she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship.
You may have heard of the Bechdel Test. To pass, a movie, TV show, or book has to have at least two female characters talking to each other about something other than a man. Interesting then that Alison Bechdel herself says she’s the “number one fan” of Sex and the City, a show that would never pass her test. “I would never watch any television or movies if I only watched shows that passed the test,” she once explained. Go to bechdeltest.com to see how many of your favorite films have passed the Bechdel Test.
The following piece was written originally for Entertainment Weekly’s 1,000th issue, in 2008. If you like it, you can find more of Bechdel’s work on her blog, dykestowatchoutfor.com, or on Twitter @AlisonBechdel.