Coined by Film Critic Nathan Rabin, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the trope of a character who’s soul existence is to help their sensitive leading man find his heart again by showing him the magic that life has to offer through their usual playfully unorthodox views and whimsical traits.
She has been called out for her one dimensional features and napkin-like presence; she comes she helps she leaves before she herself can become an actualized person or reap any benefit from the relationship through which she nurtured another so.
Feminist tend to hate her because she does little to further the cause of equality and instead is there essentially to give the man purpose so that his tortured (usually self inflicted brooding, I might add!) story can come full circle.
However, I have a really hard time disliking this type of character (bare with me) but rather tend to find myself defending and even championing her.
Not because I agree with how she is represented, don’t get me wrong, but rather because of the way she is perceived. After all it is not her fault that she is merely there to be used, aren’t we supposed to get that this truly is her authentic self so in that regard she is just living when a more selfish pity party decides to latch on to her and antics ensue?
The truth is I find myself protective of this character because in so many relationships and situations in my life I was her.
I don’t write people off easily nor do I give up on them. Instead I tend to bluntly defy them, not because that’s how I get my jolly’s but because that is how I live. I am a positive, unconventional, creative being who some might call daffy, others insane, but that’s me. Why should I change?
“Character” “real” these terms do not just apply to cynicism and blunt disparaging remarks and observations. After all another trope is that strong women equals bitch or worse gross?
Again I have nothing against these traits, I too am rather dark humored and sarcastic in a dry wit sort of way that can fly over peoples heads no matter because they just take a seat strapping into the ride of me as though I were just some means of entertainment as goes hand in hand with the aforementioned traits of the MPDG, because all I do is for others after all.
This is what I’m pointing out; one side does not full dimension make. Just because I am compassionate, quippy and positive in nature doesn’t mean my soul purpose in this life and world is to be there for everyone else.
This personality type is one that is so easy, it seems, for people to take advantage of. To idealize without humanizing.
This is why I have to be on the side of the MPDG, I mean it wasn’t her choice to be used and seen for only what she could do instead of someone being intrigued to go deeper and see what she is and makes her that way.
Too often when people like this are met the napkin effect takes hold. People think that they can take and dump and take not needing to give anything back, because the source is just so alive, so positive and different that surly they have enough reserves.
- *Spoiler alert* spirit is not a renewable resource.
In other words people need people, positivity begets positivity just like negativity. So stop and think of those naturally bright and cheerful, those who others tend to not want to see the “darkness” in because they — subconsciously or not — exist as light for them, as an escape from the “every days” and “awful world truths”.
It’s too programed in human nature to not want to see your “heroes” flaws. To not want to take burden from the very thing that lifted yours.
So here we are seeing these characters vibrant and unconventional saving these men by pointing out that it is in us all to live the way that we want, to see things as good or bad, to make of or world what we want to live and be.
So basically by pointing out what is to them the obvious, in some ways the adult thing to do. The get over yourself and get on with it mentality that more of us should learn. Go with the flow and love it for what it is and if you can;t then work to change the flow don;t just sit in the hate of it all expecting it to get better and if it doesn’t then oh well that’s just life now feel bad for me bullsh**.
They are loved because of what they did not who they are and instead held in contempt for what others refused to acknowledge; that they are human too. They aren’t just superheroes come to save your day — hell superheroes aren’t even just that, but that’s another rant for another day. (And yes I know that most of these romantic comedies and indi-flicks aren’t necessarily thinking or putting this much into it and that that is part of the problem for the are just creating said characters as a means to an end, I’m just looking at this physiologically if not a bit over protectively sensitively.) When it’s our turn people tend to shut down if they don’t just outright leave. They tend to shut it down before they have to give back.
And from my own experiences I’m not exaggerating. When I lost a brother I lost relationships as well because they didn’t like the idea that they have to deal with me not being able to support and encourage them.
It comes down to the idea that happy means no depth. That positive translates to dumb, unrealistic or fake. That simply isn’t the truth, the reality is that the truth is just something that people don’t tend to want to see.
That the depth scares them because they might have to commit to seeing the flaws in something that was precious to and for them. They seem to miss the very fact in life and in writing that by cultivating the human you enhance the character.
No one exists merely for others entertainment, happiness or encouragement. No one exists souly for others. Period. Really emphasize that period now.