Twitter’s ‘Bean Dad’ Has Inspired His Own Version Of The Bechdel Test, But For Bad Dads
A silver lining to this week's most annoying internet event.
After a 23-tweet thread — in which indie rocker and podcaster John Roderick tried to show off his parenting skills by refusing to show his hungry nine-year-old daughter how to use a can opener — went viral, Twitter users are now texting their dads to see if they pass ‘the Beanchdel test’.
As a refresher, ‘Bean Dad’ truly took over the entirety of Twitter earlier this week, as Roderick’s thread gained traction for its ridiculousness, and people expressed concern about his parenting abilities. His defensive doubling-down created a further layer of controversy, as sleuths found a multitude of offensive tweets from his past, which, indirectly, may end up costing potential Jeopardy! replacement host Ken Jennings a job.
It, in short, was a lot (we have an explainer here) but journalist Ryan Broderick has an excellent examination of how Twitter, as a site, is designed to amplify these non-events into globally trending, all-pervasive conversations.
“It means one thing — your website is poorly run. That’s it,” he writes on his SubStack. “It means that context collapse has gotten so bad and the scale of your trending algorithms are so completely out of whack that a total moron tweeting about beans can create the same level of discussion within your community as the Trump Georgia call.”
“It means that your users are so desperate for your made up internet points that they would consider turning an extremely mundane story about using a can opener into a TWENTY-THREE tweet thread and are also so vicious and insane and bored that they would turn that thread about beans into a national scandal.”
The whole thing was, and is, exhausting, but the Beanchdel test — a riff off Allison Bechdel’s low-bar metric for examining film’s portrayal of women by asking if two female characters discuss anything other than a man — might be the silver lining. The concept, first coined by Caroline Moss, involved people texting their dads to quiz them on a hypothetical: ‘If I was a child and didn’t know how to use a can opener, how would you teach me?’.
So far, no one’s dad has said they would simply leave their child to their own devices for six hours, not feeding them during that time, and only providing near non-sensical clues about ‘process visualisation’. Find some of the responses below, and feel free to try it yourself.
Does your dad pass the Beanchdel test pic.twitter.com/FgtyxdrZXq
— Caroline Moss (@CarolineMoss) January 4, 2021
— t (@taylorjustyne) January 5, 2021
I know we're all sick of be*n d*d but I was very pleasantly surprised by the old man's answer to the beanchdel test pic.twitter.com/A7mRhsSGjv
— Jim Malo (@thejimmalo) January 5, 2021
— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) January 5, 2021
my dad finally got back to me about opening a can of beans. youtube didn’t exist when I was eight. he 100% glossed over it and thinks I’m asking him for help right now at 27 pic.twitter.com/xqiWkmEALO
— putting the pal in palestinian (@jennineak) January 5, 2021
— Jerss (@jelars) January 5, 2021
My dad wouldn't pass the Beanchdel test because when I was 8 he was running off unannounced to the other side of the world with a woman half his age https://t.co/3i4KG7qOcq
— lexi the art witch (@LexiRowan) January 5, 2021
IMPORTANT UPDATE: he took his time, thought about it and… 😢🥰😭 pic.twitter.com/TJ3tB493Kn
— Emily Seibel Yates (@emsyates) January 5, 2021