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Writer Sparks Backlash After Calling Out Queer Comedy 'Fire Island' For Lack Of Female Representation

Writer Sparks Backlash After Calling Out Queer Comedy 'Fire Island' For Lack Of Female Representation

Hulu's "gaysian" romcom Fire Island generated mostly positive reviews—with The New York Times calling the twist on Pride and Prejudice a "worthy new entry" in the genre of escapist vacation flicks.

The film directed by Andrew Ahn was also praised for its diverse cast—particularly that of gay Asian men who have typically been relegated to being the "best friend" or sidekick to White, heterosexual protagonists.

However, Fire Island hasn't been unanimously favored due to its failure to meet expectations outlined by the gauging of gender representation in media known as the Bechdel test.

The test originated in a 1985 comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For by cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

It depicts two women walking by a movie theater, and one says to the other:

"I have this rule. I only go to a movie if it satisfies three basic requirements: One, it has to have at least two women in it who, two, talk to each other about, three, something besides a man.”

The punchline is the fact the last film she was able to see when applying those standards was 1979's Alien.

The test has since been applied to indicate the active presence of women in various fiction and to call out any inherent gender inequality.

New York magazine podcast director Hanna Rosin used the Bechel test and criticized Fire Island—claiming a lack of any notable female characters.

She gave the film an "F" minus in a now-deleted tweet on Monday.

“So [Hulu] #FireIslandMovie gets an F- on the Bechdel test in a whole new way."
"Do we just ignore the drab lesbian stereotypes bc cute gay Asian boys? Is this revenge for all those years of the gay boy best friend?”

Her tweet sparked immediate backlash.

Some accused Rosin of perpetuating a "narrow representation of Asian men in popular media" when describing featured actors, Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang, as the "cute gay Asian boys."

In response to being referred to as a "drab lesbian stereotype" by Rosin, Korean standup comedian Marget Cho–who stars in the film as the nurturing Erin–begged to differ.

Users continued to scoff at Rosin's gripe about the movie.

After accusations of being tone-deaf in her tweet and grossly missing the mark, Rosin apologized for the deleted tweet, saying:

“My tweet was careless and thoughtless. Truly. The movie was telling a story about queer AAPI men, whose experiences don’t show up enough in movies or anywhere else.”

Bechdel herself weighed in on the controversy and gave the film a passing score based on her own test.


Fire Island–which received a positive approval rating of 94% based on 67 critics' reviews on Rotten Tomatoes–is available for streaming on Hulu.