Manic Pixie Dream Girl

  • daisyfairy

    daisyfairy (495)

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    The "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" trope is one used just as much as the "Mary-Sue", in books but in films too (Clementine from Eternal Sunshine, Summer from 500 Days, and a whole bunch of others).

    Unique, often vulnerable, young women with often child-like quirks that usually serve to teach the male protagonist a lesson. Good examples in books would be Alaska from Looking for Alaska, Lily from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, Margo from Paper Towns, and maybe even Lux Lisbon from The Virgin Suicides.

    A lot of people hate this trope. I think it's problematic, as it definitely makes the character just a plot device for the story, and is typically sexist, but I'd quite like to bring her back.

    In most of my stories I've noticed that I write the Manic Pixie Dream Girl's story, from her point of view or not, as in general use she's usually a character with an unexplained history.

    Do you write using this trope, or do you love/hate it? Have you read a story/published book with this in that I haven't mentioned? I just thought this was an interesting topic because it's something I'm seeing more of on Mibba (not even in a bad way, just generally).
    October 8th, 2012 at 08:37pm
  • This.Useless.Heart.

    This.Useless.Heart. (115)

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    I don't think I've ever used that trope. To be honest, I get a bit confused as to what does and doesn't qualify as that trope because like Mary Sue it tends to be a term that gets thrown around and applied to any character and/or work that people just want to bitch about. XD
    To my understanding of what the trope is though, I find it to be very problematic as well. Tropes Are Not Bad, of course, or not inherently so, so I don't believe it is always gonna be bad. I would, however, avoid it, and I have a general disdain for it.
    October 8th, 2012 at 09:13pm
  • The Rumor

    The Rumor (365)

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    Reading that, I just realised that I'm writing a male version of this. No idea if that's a bad thing or not. Shifty
    October 8th, 2012 at 11:23pm
  • This.Useless.Heart.

    This.Useless.Heart. (115)

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    @ The Rumor
    I was just thinking that I may have written gender flipped versions myself in the past! XD I wonder if it still has problematic elements that way or not. Seems like it might, but then again the most problematic thing about a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is that she's usually seen as a threat to feminism and Strong Female Characters (Rolling Eyes which people get way too hung up on sometimes really.)
    That's an interesting idea though. Think
    October 9th, 2012 at 01:18am
  • CaesarSalad

    CaesarSalad (105)

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    I don't think I've ever really used that type of person. O.o
    October 9th, 2012 at 02:03am
  • The Rumor

    The Rumor (365)

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    Thinking about it, I don't really see how this type of character is a threat to feminism. I mean, the two main characters I can think of are Summer and Luna Lovegood. They were both very strong females and Summer was the person that the male protagonist revolved around. If anything, he needed her not vice versa.
    October 9th, 2012 at 10:45pm
  • daisyfairy

    daisyfairy (495)

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    @ The Rumor
    I agree. I think that it can be problematic, and in the past has been, but the use of the character is usually to make a point. Tom in 500 Days becomes obsessed with Summer, and the relationship is doomed to fail. In Paper Towns, Q becomes obsessed with Margo after she runs away, claiming to love her when he barely even knew her. I think as long as you're writing a character who has depth and flaws and history, as well as being quirky (or whatever else makes the MPDG) then there's nothing wrong with it.
    October 10th, 2012 at 01:06pm
  • Katie Mosing

    Katie Mosing (33815)

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    I'm not a big fan of the MPDG at all. She always comes off a little too "special snowflake" for my liking.
    February 15th, 2014 at 05:14pm