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cover art for Alison Bechdel on her search for inner and outer strength - THE SHIFT REVISITED

The Shift with Sam Baker

Alison Bechdel on her search for inner and outer strength - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Season 11, Ep. 142

This week we're revisiting cartoonist and creator of the Bechdel test, Alison Bechdel. This episode first ran back in season 4.


My guest this week is the cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Probably best known for the Bechdel test - a tongue in cheek method she came up with in the 80s for assessing gender bias in movies. She became a household name when Fun Home, her graphic novel/memoir about coming out and her father’s death, became a bestseller and was turned into an award-winning musical. Her new autobiographical graphic novel, The Secret To Superhuman Strength is a funny-not funny exploration of her own search for inner and outer strength through the lens of 60 years of fitness fads.


Alison and I go on a “rambling stroll” through the six decades of her life as we chat about everything from tarot to very much not being a team player. Alison talks candidly about escaping self-consciousness, coming to terms with ageing, why men are scared of women who can do push ups and why she’s forever nine years old.


And together we come up with a Bechdel test for women over 40. Challenge you to come up with a movie that passes it.


You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including the book that accompanies this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by Sam Baker and The Secret To Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel.


The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. I'd love to hear what you think - please rate and review, or let me know on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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