Diane Lane Accidentally Referred to Bechdel Test As the ‘Rectal Test’

Diane Lane.
Diane Lane. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Diane Lane tried to make the apt point that her role in House of Cards doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test — except she couldn’t quite remember the phrase. She was close, though, by which I mean that she asked the interviewer if “rectal test” was right. (In her defense, she could have been imagining it as “Rechdel.”)

During the Q&A, writer Joy Press brought up the “fantastic interactions” between Lane’s character, Annette Shepherd, and Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright. “The repartee is like something out of an old movie,” Press opined, before Lane attempted to recall a classic Gender Studies 101 term.

“But we don’t [pass] the rectal test, right?” she asked. “Am I saying it right?”

(No.) But … close.

You mean Bechdel? Like Alison Bechdel, the Bechdel test [which looks at whether a movie, TV show, or book features at least two women talking to each other about something besides men]?

Yes, that’s it. When the Bechdel test was first mentioned, I thought, yeah, what’s up with that? Why are guys always able to talk about whatever is going on in the story and then the ladies are coming on talking about the guys? I mean, it’s just dumb… . We are playing history back now, looking at things differently.

Honestly, respect to her for mixing up the name of a test that examines gender representation in fiction and what sounds like a prostate exam, and remaining composed and staying on subject.

Diane Lane Says House of Cards Doesn’t Pass ‘Rectal Test’