Blood, extreme language and sexual images are the guidelines by which most films earn the PG, AA or R ratings that movie audiences have come to know. But in Sweden, a new 'A' grade focuses on another type of bias — one that tells viewers whether or not the film has a "feminist" element.
According to the Associated Press, in order to attain this rating, the film goes through a Bechdel test, "which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man."
"Bechdel" refers to cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who described this test in her 1985 comic strip "Dykes To Watch Out For," and which has since become a popular way for critics to denote whether or not a work can be described as feminist. Movies that pass this test run the gamut from "Little Miss Sunshine" to "Requiem for a Dream" to "The Godfather, Part II."
Sweden has long been known as one of the best places in the world for women to live, with a particular focus on equal work and political opportunities across the genders. While the Bechdel Test has run casually among film fans and feminist critics for decades, this marks the first time it's been used for more general audiences.
The 'A' rating will be showcased at four cinemas in Sweden, and according to one of those film house's directors, it's meant to demonstrate how few films pass the test.
And while voices as varied as Geena Davis to New York magazine have been calling for more strong female roles on screens both large and small, the proponents of the 'A' rating are quick to point out the grade does not indicate the quality of the film — so watch for gender equality at your own risk.
Also on HuffPost