THE "TEDDE TEST"
This is a great place to add a tagline.
The Bechdel test, popularized by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 (see left), radically changed our perception of women’s representation in film. Inspired by this idea/concept, I developed my own test, the "Tedde Test", to help answer the question: what does musical theatre repertoire reveal about women’s representation on stage?
Through my research studying the Singer’s Musical Theatre Anthology series, I discovered that female-identifying actors, for the majority of our stage time, are expected to sing songs about men written by men.
The "Tedde Test":
Is this character defined by her relationship to another male-identifying character?
Do the lyrics directly reference men?
Is the song sung to a male-identifying character?
Based on the context within the storyline, is this song in any way about men?
During my research, I came across another important data factor, which lead me to an additional research question–Does the creative team include a female-identifying or non-binary composer or lyricist?
I organized songs thematically using these three categories:
Direct: Song lyrics make direct references to men or male-identifying characters (e.g. “Men,” “he/him/his,” “boys,” a male character’s name)
Indirect: Song theme directly references a male character without using gendered terminology (e.g. The lyric “you” sung to a male character.)
Pass: Lyrics do not directly or indirectly reference a male character.
A few important acknowledgements: I recognize that, unfortunately, most of my research follows traditional gender binaries due to a lack of non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming characters and creative team members in my set of data. I also want to recognize that my data is incomplete and does not yet include how the statistics change when taking into account roles for people of color and people of color represented on creative teams. I hope in the future to be able to better represent these communities in my research.
If you are passionate about female and non-binary representation in musical theatre cannon and would like to discuss more, please reach out! I would love to continue the conversation and work together.