A short while ago I read a post about being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and it really got me thinking. I went on to the other blogs featured on the topic and along to the recommended TV Trope site to see if anything seemed to fit my personality.
One of the recommended blogs explained how with an Ex she subconsciously on purpose acted the MPDG to his sullen troubled character. I have never considered myself a stereotypical feminist or an activist as such, so it is new for me to write on this type of topic. I hope I can get my thoughts across clearly without any offense to anyone.
These ladies that wrote about being a MPDG type discuss in varying degrees about how this characterization is a stock support character that is “a female character that is quirky, bubbly and helps the male protagonist grow from his limited state to a more liberated, mature place. She is immensely likeable and for awhile, it’s easy to confuse her for independent. It’s just that she is such a PERSONALITY, you tend to think of it as a strong one.” (quoted from XXfactor – link above).
The problem being that it is a shallow character with no background of her own. She has a very clear task and it is in a clearly supporting a male role.
I tend not to care much about the implications of stereotypical characters in TV and movies. Maybe it’s because to me they are so obvious and blatant most of the time. That being said, however; I realized that during at least one point in my life I too embodied the MPDG stereotype. Forgetting the basic personality I tried to exude of upbeat, quirky, funny theatre kid; in High School I had that troubled boy I cared for. Looking back I too acted the MPDG role for him and now I too wonder if that was a character based off of movies – or was it just me? Just natural? Seeing as how I attempted to push down my demons and act the funny girl a lot, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover I was unconsciously acting the part.
When I started writing the book, I went and contacted a bunch of old friends and exes and just asked them if they had any specific memories of me that embodied how they viewed me at the time. I specifically asked them how I came across to them.
My troubled boy, Dan, had this, in part, to say “There was a physical attraction and I found you fun and bubbley, but I couldn’t find any intellectual points where we clicked.” If that doesn’t embody MPDG I dunno what does. Of course, even though we were not in a movie – he also didn’t have much background information on me. My faith bugged him and we disagreed on a lot of things. But he didn’t know a lot about me personally… and I didn’t let him know. I acted. I did subconsciously what I was supposed to do I guess. It’s so weird to think about… in this case did art imitate life or was life imitating art??
XXfactor also begged the question whether her readers related to other TV Tropes, so I went to have a look. I do not overall see myself as an MPDG, I knew there had to be another type I fit in better overall. The trouble with this of course is that it’s TV. It’s Movies. It’ fictional, and rarely do you find a character that has enough depth to not fit exclusively into one type. Thinking on it, I was much more the MPDG when my husband and I were dating too (though I think if he had to choose, I’d fit in the Ice Queen trope now.) Even with Dane I think I still act the MPDG part sometimes. A lot of times. Fuck it, all the time.
I picked a couple out that I related to – and not all based off of my own understanding of myself… but also from some of the other insights I got from other people last year.
I’ve often thought of myself as more of The Stoic. I think I hide my pain well, but based off of what Jude told me about our High School years – I likely fit a little better in as a Broken Bird. What Jude told me really hit home and I was shocked he read me like a book… partly because I didn’t realize he paid so much attention and even more so that I thought I hid my true self well. He was one of those stereotypical Jock-like cool kid jerks. Strangely, however, he was always nice to me – the apparently weird girl with glasses.
He said (also in part) “…shy or just insecure I don’t know, but you was no bombshell… Maybe too many times let down or maybe too many times trying with no result.
Maybe your friends weren’t the “hang around crowd” maybe you just didn’t think you could fit in… I remember the Othello play very well and was joyed to play Othello it was a main role and it was cool, and when I was told you’d be the lady I had no second thoughts it was “a role.” I was to kiss you and I got joked about because of it, you on the other hand showed confidence in the play… You were a shy, trying but an over achiever and to good or bad that was you.
I can tell you that you did impress, even though many saw you as weird… Non- hip dressed, no sex appeal… Seemed shy yet in your element quite at home… You always seemed to settle for what you could get and never went or tried for high grounds, I believe you were bullied and let down often. But to tell you from my side, I did and do think that still …even the quiet and out of sorts girl can be intriguing!”
I realized after he said this that in a strange way he maybe thought of me as… well… a Broken Bird with a dash of Meganekko maybe?. He was apparently a major bully-asshole to most of the other girls in our class at the time. I had not been aware until many years later. He had always been nice to me. It appears that he saw me as already having been bullied (he somehow picked up on the Wyatt after effects it seems) and he apparently felt the need to purposely not bully me himself. I would have been an easy target for him, I am sure.
Yet, in late Year 2, he told me to let him know if anyone bothered me and he would “take care of it.”
Now if that doesn’t make me sound like a supporting female Damsel in Distress, I don’t know what does.