She wears floral skater dresses. She rocks oxfords and grandad socks. She’s unbelievably quirky, ebullient, and has a tendency towards petty theft. She is a manic pixie dream girl.
First coined by Nathan Rabin in his review of Elizabethtown to describe the bubbly flight attendant portrayed by Kirsten Dunst, the manic pixie dream girl (MPDG) has taken over the interwebs. Every other film critic has analyzed this trope; roles range from Zooey Deschanel to Audrey Hepburn.
According to Rabin, the MPDG “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries.” She’s stunningly attractive, high on life, and inexplicably obsessed with our sulking hero until he learns to live life with meaning and love madly.
The catch? She dies, usually. Or leaves, packs her suitcase, and finds the next emotionless male hero to teach the ways of life to.
So, another half-baked female character? What’s the problem with that? Men grow up expecting to be the hero. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in someone else’s story. There is an obligation for women to fulfill the destiny of furthering a man’s plotline without taking the time to care for her own.
The power media holds over us is inexorable. Women deserve to write our own stories, be our own heroines, and not just exist as supporting characters to facilitate the hero’s journey for men.
Kaity Gee is a high school junior at The Harker School in San Jose, California. Only sixteen, she has already been making a splash in the creative writing world and has won multiple awards for her journalistic works. She is a published poet and Multimedia Editor for Harker Aquila. In her spare time, Kaity dances classical and contemporary ballet and enjoys making films.
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