The Beacom Test

Does the Deaf person use sign language?

To communicate with another Deaf person?

About something other than a hearing person?

The Beacom test is inspired by the Bechdel test, devised by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985.

The Bechdel test is designed to show the weakness of representation of women in movies by asking a series of very simple questions:

  • Does the movie have two women in it?
  • Do they talk to each other?
  • About something other than a man?

These questions offer a concrete way to approach the more general question of whether women in a given movie appear merely as props for the important characters – men.

Our Beacom Test approaches this same question, in terms of Deaf representation in movies and all other forms of media.

Is the Deaf character there as window dressing? Because sign language is cool? To show that a hearing character is compassionate? Or is that Deaf character authentic and fleshed-out, a real person who has their own arc and who is not there simply as a prop?

Curious about which movies pass the Beacom Test?

See below for a selection! Wondering about a movie that you don’t see here? Request that we subject it to the Beacom Test by contacting us or ask us on Twitter, using the hashtag #BeacomTest!