Move over the Bechdel Test, enter The Riz Test. Named after activist, musician and actor Riz Ahmed, the Riz Test is designed to measure Muslim representation in film and television using a “simple list of stereotyped traits, ranging from the character being seen as irrationally angry to having oppressive views on gender dynamics” (per Mary Sue blog).
“There is no nuance when it comes to Muslims,” says founder Shaf Choudry. “Instead we are highly likely to be portrayed as one dimensional: the men are mostly depicted as terrorists, while the Muslim women are seen as oppressed veiled victims. Essentially Muslims – men and women – are often presented as dangerous, as a problem, as posing a threat to the West.”
The character of Trenton (played by Sunita Mani) from the popular series Mr. Robot recently passed “The Riz Test.” Here are the results: “Trenton is central to the story and is presented as an elite hacker with exceptional talent, who also happens to wear a Hijab. Her hacking skills are at the forefront of the narrative and any references to her religion are framed through a lens of ignorance of other characters. Trenton features from season 1-3 and throughout there are references to her Hijab, visiting the mosque and her Iranian heritage… One thing that strikes us as significant is the season 2 finale where Trenton appears without her Hijab for the first time. Her character is on the run from the authorities and therefore by taking off her Hijab she is assuming a new identity in a new location, not a cliched ‘liberation’ of an oppressed Muslim woman relieved of the ‘shackles’ of the Hijab.”