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Her job is to provide care to those who actually have a destination, and she is particularly drawn to a man who feels he is destined for doom. Consequently, the male protagonist ignores her most divulging moments. Claire Kirsten Dunst pretending to take a picture of the protagonist in "Elizabethtown" Crowe, The critic developed a concept, but culture developed a list. Many lists. This brings me to my own research.

As my data will show, narcissistic identification manifests itself in lengthy lists of attributes that individuals arbitrarily associate with the silenced MPDG. Filmmakers have degraded women for the past century, but audiences degrade the Manic Pixie Dream Girl further by not recognizing her elements of profundity. Because people insist on applying the MPDG to real life, we ought to think about her in a complex way that goes beyond fashionable quirks and aesthetics.

Rhetorical analysis is my primary research method, although semiotic analysis unavoidably occurred alongside the study of rhetoric. My data consists of eleven texts that I found on the Internet. I most strongly apply rhetorical analysis to the pieces written by young women who believe that they are, or have been, real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

Because the writers describe attributes that they believe signify the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, one cannot ignore the semiotics within these article. In my research, I decode culture's decoding of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and then explain my own process of interpreting the character.

The Misuse of the Term - Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Returning to the eleven sources I mentioned previously, I noted that each could be placed under one of three interrelated categories of data. The first category consists of five articles or blogs composed by women who believe they are, or have been, real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girls; in their writings, they reveal the traits that they perceive as quintessential to the MPDG trope. The second category consists of three writers who have reacted to the thought processes found in the first category; they assert that people should discontinue applying the term to real life, as the persistent list-making has proven detrimental.

The third category consists of three pieces that do not reject the reality of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but choose to discuss the gravity of MPDG embodiment. Women who believe that the MPDG is real and that they exhibit the qualities of such a person compose their articles or blogs in such a way as to convince the audience of their qualifications. The women of this category give tangible examples of their identification with the MPDG. Their thought processes build upon the exterior-oriented definition that Julianna Joyce discusses.


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Their rhetoric is emotion-driven as they express their feelings regarding their resemblance to the character. They highlight a huge problem that arose when culture developed the following equation: Rabin classified MPDGs as one-dimensional; then, spectators decided to classify the MPDG as a person with quirky, feminine physical and personality traits; by the transitive property, women with quirky, feminine physical and personality traits concluded that the concept of the MPDG oppresses them by implying that they are one-dimensional.

This equation caused a great deal of offense in the minds of the women who enjoy being girlish and idiosyncratic. She does not prove that she resembles a Manic Pixie Dream Girl; her rhetorical goal is only to assert her own uniqueness and to criticize the public for not respecting her originality. When she learned about the MPDG trope, she emotionally responded by favorably focusing on herself and deriving a feminist complaint. Still of Kirsten Dunst for "Elizabethtown" Crowe, A writer who formats her blog piece in the same way as Iselin, Meghan O.

Like Iselin, Meghan responded to the MPDG shallowly, attempting to convince the audience that she should be admired for her quirks and simultaneously taken seriously. She does not realize that Rabin was never implying that she is a one-dimensional, trivial person.

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Although Penny thinks critically about the character trope, her examples of real-life identification undervalue the concept. Gabby, a writer for Rookie Magazine , is the final member of this category. Although Gabby falls in line with the rhetoric of the first category, her observation that the definition is limited to the surface separates her from the others. Thus, she introduces a second category of writers who believe that people are meant to apply the MPDG exclusively to films; real women are not meant to apply the term to themselves.

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Due to the one-dimensional way in which so many women identify with this profoundly one-dimensional character, critics who exist outside the identification group criticize the term and insist that real-life identification is invalid and destructive. Many of the women acknowledge that the MPDG exemplifies the oppression of the male gaze; yet they elaborate more on the act of being quirky.

This word implies a stylized collection of idiosyncrasies that apparently encompasses panda hats, cupcake tattoos, ukuleles, etc. The focus on quirkiness places the MPDG in a role that satisfies the cultural gaze and eschews character analysis. Their general argument is that, because of this distortion, we should altogether eliminate the term from conversation.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl - Wikipedia

Despite condemnations of futility and emptiness, I found several articles and blogs that signify the depth found in the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Because they explore mental and emotional complexity rather than only seeing the characters on the surface, they transfer the term to real life more intelligently. Hugo Schwyzer [16] explains that, as a boy, he once focused his romantic gaze on a winsome girl who displayed no personal depth and whose elevated mood implied a magical, carefree existence.

I later learned from my grandmother that Bettina had suffered from depression for years, something she never told me. Reflecting upon the concept helped Goodwin articulate her own struggles. She writes that the behavior she witnessed in films featuring these characters influenced the lens through which she saw her own self-worth. Pop culture never deserved an apology from Nathan Rabin, but it received one, nonetheless. Strike up a conversation. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are described as dorky and klutzy, but in a cute way.

Have a creative streak. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are usually very arty, creative types, which makes sense with their verbal abilities and their metaphorical minds. They are good at music, painting, writing, or art. If they aren't artists themselves, they like to listen to or watch other people be creative. To be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, embrace your creative side. Take an art class. Play music a lot. Write for a school newspaper. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is always saying profound things, like an artist would.

Try to say things that dig beneath the surface to help people understand their feelings and lives.

Why the Creator of the Term ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ Wants It to Die

Love a stuffed-shirt hero. She is the bubbly personality who breaks him out of his cynical shell. Try to help the person you love. At her best, she deeply cares for those around her, and desires to help them achieve her own sense of happiness and outlook on the world. Show your independence. The trope has been criticized by some who say that women should have independent goals, and the character is known for assisting a love interest.

It's OK to insert your own personality into the archetype. Over time, as others have played with the archetype on film, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl has become less defined by others in her life. For example, you can have career goals of your own, and sometimes go out with your friends, doing things separate from your love interest. Don't hesitate to share your needs and wishes. Wear vintage clothing. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is usually feminine.


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You might see her mix and match colors, from bright leggings to a star bag. You might find her mixing materials, from a leather jacket to a vintage dress. Wear lacy dresses, and retro clothes. Choose dresses with interesting fabrics, lengths, and patterns. Try wearing pleated and full skirts, especially in fun patterns like polka dots or bright colors like lime green. Be a hipster. Choose bangs. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl usually wears her hair with bangs.


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  • Her hair is often short or shoulder length. Shorter hair with bangs is the most common style worn by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Remember, she is known for being particularly feminine. Listen to alternative music. She doesn't follow trends or listen to what everyone else is listening. Stay away from mainstream pop. For example, she might listen to the Unicorns, the Submarines, the Pixies, or the Shins. When it comes to movie interests, she continues this theme. She is adventurous when dining out too, always willing to try new cuisines. Don't be too high maintenance.

    You won't seem like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl if you're too high-maintenance and always fussing around with your style. A Manic Pixie Dream Girl isn't likely to overdo the makeup or have beauty queen style pageant hair, with every strand of hair sprayed in place.