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We Are Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" is a popular cultural cliché that keeps coming back. The phrase was coined by film critic Nathan Rabin who defined it as, "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

We all know these characters, they do not grow themselves, but they help the main character, a man, find himself. They are riddled with flaws which make them more endearing and quirky. This character trope is now seen as the "ideal partner.” In case you’re still unsure of what I mean some examples of MPDG in film include: Summer in 500 Days of Summer, Maggie Murdock in Love and Other Drugs, and Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World.  

Falling for a guy who views you as his MPDG is extremely taxing and it ends up being harmful to both parties. Being put on a pedestal means there is a long way for you to fall. When a man views you as this perfect being who can do no wrong, a woman who gives his life meaning, it makes you afraid to mess up. We are just people with flaws, we cannot be expected to be bubbly all the time. Women have a past and feelings, putting this unwanted pressure to be everything you dreamed of in a woman onto us is not fair.

The dream girl is not allowed to show her emotions or look unattractive, but the man can constantly break down and MPDG will be there to make him forget and dull his pain. Viewing a woman as your dream girl also takes away from her personality, you are only seeing the parts of her that are appealing to you, but there is more to a woman than just the parts of her you approve of.

There is a reason the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is never the main character, or the hero, in the movie there is nothing to her. She is there to make the man learn to appreciate life while looking beautiful in the process. A man who sees you as his MPDG will most likely focus on your looks, your perfect taste in music, and the way you make him appreciate life. It may seem nice to be the dream girl at the beginning, but it becomes exhausting to be the woman he wants you to be. Don’t fall for the guy who wants a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Fall for the guy who wants you to write your own story while still being a part of his.

You cannot have a real relationship with an idea, I promise you the MPDG does not exist and we need to kill the notion that it does. This idea makes men believe they are to be the hero in their own stories and women are to be the supporting role. Women have a story too, we aren’t just put on earth to lift men up.

My name is Kelsey Haught and I'm an English major with a concentration in literature at California University of Pennsylvania. This is my first year writing for HerCampus and I am very excited to be a part of the team!
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