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"How to train your dragon" doesn't pass the Brechdel Test

How to Train Your Dragon is essentially a retelling of the age old story about a boy and his dog, only replace dog with dragon. As such, it isn't perfect as far as feminist movies goes, but it is definitely a step up from other films which feature a woman being saved by a man. My chief compliant with it is that it doesn't pass the Brechdel Test which stipulates that there be at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The main reason it cannot pass this test is that the main character, Hiccup, is in nearly every scene leaving no opportunity for the female characters to talk to each other. And I'm not certain that if they did talk to each other it wouldn't be about Hiccup. Now, aside from the failure to pass the Brechdel Test and the low number of female characters, the rest of the movie is pretty damn feminist: 1) The society the Vikings live in is one of constant battle with the various dragon types that plague their livestock. The sole measure of valor for them is slaying dragons. This is a task equally undertaken by the men and women in their world with an apparent blind eye to any expectation of appropriate gender roles. 2) The most respected elder and decision maker in their society is a woman. 3) Astrid is a kick ass chick. She is at the head of the dragon training class (until Hiccup befriends his dragon, Toothless, and gains insider knowledge the rest of the townspeople never had about dragons.) Astrid is shown as the only person in the class with a natural inclination for practice dragon slaying and does so with cunning and physical strength. She embodies what it means to be a Viking in their world. 4) Astrid and Hiccup are definite gender role reversals. Hiccup is the thinking, feeling creature and Astrid is more the active, physical one. AND the lesson at the end isn't that they must overcome these natural inclinations and conform to gender roles, but rather that it takes a little of both to be successful. 5) Hiccup's father is a hypermasculinized character (as we think of masculinity, but in their society it's more just being a Viking: both men and women are like this) who must learn the values of listening, thinking, and feeling in order to be a better father and person in general. 6) Hiccup (or any other male character) do not rescue or save any female character. Rather the climax is reached and the main adversary is overcome by working together toward a common goal. 7) The resolution of the story line is basically a metaphor for thinking, discussion, understanding, compromise, and united effort over violence and brute force. (Although I don't think the anti-violence message is as clear as it could be.) And the lesson is learned through the actions of a male challenging what he is "supposed to be." I think that in this case, it was better that Hiccup was male and not female, because it sends a message of how masculinity can be and not how it must be due to rigid gender roles.

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A great masterpiece.The best animated movie I ever saw. The vivid display of emotions like humor, frustration, love this movie is magical; a fantasy which I would love to live in.

The characters are amazing. The OG six each build up their character in a way such that a single dialog of theirs is enough to convey the aspect of their personality

The diversity and variety of dragons is unique. Going off from the stereotypical dragon was a big challenge for the movie but a great success. The way the relationship of dragons and humans change is truly great. From murderous foes to lifelong friends. Nevertheless, Hiccup's and Toothless's relationship is exceptional

Great blog sheraz!


Good work, Sheraz!!

It's a very positive film for families and kids, even teens enjoy it very much, adults can enjoy too because of all the beauty of friendship between an odd couple, A boy and a dragon.

How to train your dragon is awesome it’s about a boy who lives in a world where dragons are hated, killed in slaughtered (the film doesn’t show much scary parts at all or much attacking dragons but the storyline does’nt display on camera it is only displayed in storyline) and a boy is looking for Justice for the dragons.


I saw the movie very recently and absolutely loved it. While it is true that there is a lack of female characters in the movie. However, they made Astrid a strong and powerful character, not making her follow all the female stereotypes which we usually see in movies. This makes me believe that it kind of makes up for the lack of female characters. Also as you mention, Hiccup is also not shown as the stereotypical male character who is strong and tough, but a soft and thoughtful guy. So while the movie might not pass the Brechdel Test, I do believe it did a very good job in defying gender roles and stereotypes.


A relevant take on a beloved movie!


Abdul Rehman Mirza
Abdul Rehman Mirza
Aug 06, 2022

Though there has been improvement in how a young lady is depicted since early Disney, Astrid is unmistakably designed to be Hiccup's prize when he finally reaches adulthood throughout the entire film. Even at the outset, he promises that if he can just succeed, he'll find love. She is the prize up for grabs; she is a cooler, edgier, stronger reward than others, but she is still shown as an object to win. In addition, Hiccup reportedly believes that his lack of a girlfriend makes him a lesser man, which drives him to crave one just for fun (to begin with anyway). They're sort of making a point about how sexist society can be. As per Hiccup, society emphasizes that…

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