The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Complex And What It Means For Modern Women

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Complex And What It Means For Modern Women

Breaking down a popular stock character.
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The Film Industry is full of timeless stock characters. From the “tragic hero” to the “village idiot” we are exposed to these cinematic archetypes from our first trip to the box office. In recent years, however, a new character has been brought to light: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Film critic Nathan Rabin defines the Manic Pixie Dream Girl 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.”

Basically, a somewhat quirky female character that is responsible for helping a male character see the beauty in life. (See Summer in "500 Days of Summer," Penny Lane in "Almost Famous," etc.) Now, this description may seem innocent enough; however, if we break it down, we can analyze some rather problematic implications.

The notion that certain female characters are designed specifically to propel a male figure’s story-line forward is a concept as old as the art of film itself (see Katherine Hepburn in "Bringing Up Baby," etc.)

The issue with this archetype is that it primes audience members to see women’s talents and personal choices as disposable and secondhand in nature. It inspires the idea that women are simply tools needed to propel the patriarchy and help men lead better lives.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

A specific example of the patriarchal driven development of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl can be seen in the genre-transcending 2009 film "500 Days of Summer." In this film, we see the male protagonist, Tom, fall in love with the female lead, Summer. Summer warns Tom that she doesn’t believe in love and that she views it as a fairy-tale-like notion. Still, we see Tom fall in love and develop his own tainted views towards the prospect of relationships. With the cinematic help of Tom’s drastic character development and lengthy internal monologues, we as audience members are blindly predisposed to see Summer as a horrible human being that crushes Tom’s heart and ruins his view of love. This is due to the fact that the film itself is presented solely from the male perspective. Upon further analysis of the film, however, we can easily see that Summer isn’t actually so evil. In fact, she was quite up front with her views towards love and constantly communicated her intentions with Tom throughout the bulk of the film. However, the issue is that because she was presented in classic MPDG fashion, many audience members formed opinions on the character at face value. They left the theater viewing Summer solely as a tool to help Tom learn to embrace life and its hidden beauty.

Another drastic flaw with the concept of the MPDG is that often the character is created FROM a male perspective FOR a male perspective. The archetype is commonly written in a shallow/aesthetic based manner. Traditionally, feminine imagery is used to create an aura of romanticism to help develop a character that’s true internal conflict never sees the light of day. In fact, often we are never even given the chance to view the MPDG’s true internal monologue and perspective. Instead, we are only introduced to this character through the eyes of the male protagonist. This implies that the woman is simply a concept rather than an individual

(Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Luckily with more attention being brought to this problematic archetype, women in the industry are taking a stand against it. Zoe Kazan’s film "Ruby Sparks" presents an interesting take on the MPDG concept. The film details the struggles of a writer, Paul Dano, who has essentially created a woman based solely on his fevered imagination. Towards the beginning of the film, this magical adventure is seen as romantic and positive; however, as the story continues we see some downfalls as the male character discovers the very traumatic dangers of treating individuals as concepts/objects rather than real people.

Films like "Ruby Sparks" are important because they bring light to the big issue here: the implication that women can exist solely in the imaginations of men without regard for their own thoughts and passions. This concept is objectifying in nature. Not only does it silence the female voice, but it predisposes male youth to believe that their perspective is more dominant within society and therefore more important.

So, with all that being said, next time you are at the theater and find yourself being exposed to a brooding male protagonist who comes across a superficially developed female counterpart ask yourself this: is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl just an innocent stock character? Or is this dreamy archetype priming today’s society to view women as concepts rather than individuals?

Cover Image Credit: http://www.galactic-squid.com/2014/08/25/500-days-summer-sequel/4963

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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Warcraft 3: Reforged - A legend returns

One of the top 100 games of the century makes a comeback in an epic way.

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17 years ago, the legion invaded the realm of Azeroth, forcing the different races of Humans, Orcs, Night elves, and Undead to make the most unlikely of alliances. There were those who fought for the light while the others wished to banish it. Night and day, the furnaces of Lordaeron burnt bright as the loyal dwarves of Khaz Modan hammer away the swords and shields that would aid the fight ahead.

17 years ago, the young orc warchief Thrall foresaw the fate of his people as meteors of green flames crash upon his lands. He saw the upcoming demise of his clanand ordered a mass evacuation towards a new continent where they shall be safe for generations to come. 17 years ago, the night elves felt a corruption within the Tree of Life, causing them to split into opposing factions: one fought in the name of the Goddess, while the other fought in the name of personal hatred. 17 years ago, a legion of undead came upon the shores of Lordaeron, plaguing the land and defiling the life force of the realm. That was the story of Warcraft, one that spanned continents and races only to join them together for a crucial battle of their history.

Warcraft 3: Reforged - Cinematic Trailer Youtube

Warcraft was a monument to an entire gaming generation, ranked 2nd best game of all time by German games magazine "GameStar." Its fate, however, was ultimately sealed as computing technology became better and overshadowed the old giant. Plus, with the rise of gaming consoles and handheld gaming devices, PC gaming lost its appeal slowly, and games like Starcraft or Warcraft eventually faded into oblivion.

But over on the horizon, Blizzard Entertainment came to the rescue. Following the success of their previous release of Starcraft: Remastered, they decided to come forth with their next great project: remastering Warcraft 3.

Using a new and revamped engine built over the foundations of the old one, they have rebuilt the world we once loved. Adding to that are new, high definition voices and sound effects that they recorded just for this old game. For the blurry characters of old, the team decided to upscale and remodel all present units to give them the 2019 high-def treatment they deserved. For the old user interface (UI), the development team settled on one that resembled the "Starcraft: Remastered" interface, offering more room for players to look at the gorgeous 4K character models. Also, to fit the new continuity from World of Warcraft, Blizzard opted to alter the story by a small margin, showing promising changes to the revived game.

Warcraft 3 – Original vs. Reforged Trailer Graphics Comparison Youtube

However, not everyone was hyped when the game was announced. Many gamers expressed disappointment at Blizzard's move of remastering old games instead of developing new ones. Many, feeling uncomfortable at the company's decision, took to the internet and into forums. Some fans expressed concerns over Blizzard's decision to retcon a game they hold dear Some are unhappy with the graphics not being consistent with characters: unit models look too detailed while buildings look cartoonish.

Despite all this, the general population loved the announcement at Blizzcon. As the game slowly reaches its release date of December 31, 2019, the hype can only go up from here. For those of us who can't hold their excitement, here's a video of the crowd's insane reaction to the announcement:


Warcraft 3 Crowd Reaction Youtube

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