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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

I Am Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bentley chapter.

The manic pixie dream girl phenomena is something that I’ve always been aware of. I use the term aware very loosely– I honestly just knew the word and understood what characteristics fit the mold. I didn’t truly grasp what it meant until I realized I had been one. And it sucks. 

I’m sure there’s tons of examples in modern media, but the movie that comes to my mind is 500 Days Of Summer (spoilers incoming if you haven’t seen it!). This movie follows the story of a couple, Summer and Tom, and at the end you either believe that she was the problem or he was. When I first watched it, I thought he was the problem because that’s what I had heard other people say. I’ve been reconsidering this recently and now I have my own reasoning for believing he is at fault. 

Throughout the movie, he is enthralled with her. He sees her as this perfect being that could do no wrong, a prize that he so desperately wants to have.This seems like what every girl wants, right? Now after reflecting on the movie, I realize that he didn’t actually know her at all. I think Lana Del Ray said it best in her song Mariner’s Apartment Complex. 

“I’m the bolt, the lightning, the thunder

Kind of girl who’s gonna make you wonder

Who you are and who you’ve been

And who I’ve been is with you on these beaches

Your Venice b*tch, your die-hard, your weakness

Maybe I can save you from your sins” 

A manic pixie dream girl is defined as a type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in a male protagonist. Too many times, men view women as a mere character that exists just for them to rely on. They think they know her heart because she is kind and will give up so much of herself and her needs to be there for him. But that’s where the disconnect lies. She will give up so much of herself to be there for him. Her backstory is insignificant. Her true person is insignificant. Who she is is the girl that’s next to him, the femme fatale that he can’t resist and the girl next door who he is inspired to grow by rolled into one. 

Being someones manic pixie dream girl sucks. It means realizing that anyone could’ve inhabited your role and that you never really mattered to them at all. Men think that girls don’t have as much depth but little do they know it’s only because that’s what we let them see. If you’ve ever been someone’s manic pixie dream girl take comfort in this: they never knew you like they thought they did.

Jane Massett

Bentley '25

Hi! My name is Jane Massett and I'm from Westchester New York. I am a sophomore at Bentley University and I plan to major in Media and Culture.