Friday, May 30, 2014

Manic Pixie Dream... Woman?

Dear Manic Pixie Dream Girl,
Yes you, the girl whose entire instagram is devoted to you making faces wherein you naturally look pretty holding a stranger's dog, or in front of some silly sign. You are very pretty, and the signs are very smart.  But I think you could do better. 

At one point in my life I'm sure I was cast in your role for a few moments by boys I didn't know. I had all the outward window trappings at 25/26 /27.  I bought into it too, but perhaps was not  tiny, whimsical or dangerous enough.  I can speak to you because I'm not sure you fully exist; you're an idea created by men that we women appropriated.  It's a story, a persona,  a haircut you're trying for a while, a dress you got at Urban that you pretend is vintage. This goes beyond thinking the world looks like an Anthro catalogue, you're not only hurting yourself, you're hurting others.  You can't be a girl forever. 

What happens when the Manic Pixie Dream Girl grows up? 
A Manic Pixie Woman; not such a dream. 

You're bored because you were so busy inspiring random dudes to embrace life, that you didn't inspire yourself. They, not having the wear withal to sustain that in themselves,  have moved onto younger pixies for inspiration, or those that are less challenging.  Your random secretary/waitressing/bartending job is not enough to pay your student loans for the three semesters you took in fine art or philosophy, so you've defaulted. You've been priced out of your magical apartment, the neighborhood is changing as the hip have grown up.  Your landlord is upset due to all the noise complaints of your ukelele, and late night Shins, and Smiths records playing. It's been waking up the neighbor's kids. The neighbor's kids dont like you, not all kids like you. Your singing at restaurants, and in the middle of conversation now just makes you seem like you have tourettes. Everything in your wardrobe is patterned. You're 30 years old and don't own a pair of pants. Your stray cat is dead, who knew they couldn't just eat tuna and drink milk? It worked for Audrey Hepburn. If you want to do drugs people make you pay for them now.   All of those selfie campaigns now make you a little nostalgic and sad.  Who were those posts for? You're tired after years of dragging man-children behind you (Josh Radnor, Zach Braff I'm looking at you.)  They've all eventually left  you because being with someone who only challenges you,  whose moods swing, and may actually be more than a plot device is tough. You woke up one morning and realized that women in their late twenties/early thirties are not meant to be great unsolvable mysteries, and eventually when guys figure out you're a real person they may bolt. In the story those people are the ones you want,  this should not be true in real life. You MPDG have groomed them for this; wanting a beautiful mess, wanting a girl not a woman. 

I know writing this to you may be redundant. It's been done I get it, but as a young woman who came of age with this trope is still affecting our relationships and cries for attention. I acknowledge that I'm being a slight hypocrit. I speak too quickly, wear large framed glasses, love Annie Hall,  and talk to small animals. Most people have not seen me wear pants till this year. Although cliche these idiosyncrasies are mine. Yes, I tend to date boys instead of men, and have been a pro at justifying whatever choices they have to make for their story.  'It's his work. It's his family. It's his past. It's timing.  He's going through something, It's this thing he has to do on his own.'  IT'S BULLSHIT. I can justify the narrative because it's not my story. I've been just a supporting character ; 'The Girl' no... just 'A girl'.  As I've gotten older I've grown tired of this. When you realize you're just a supporting character it doesn't feel so cute. Reduced to being the 'supporting girl' you turn into the 'crazy girl'. No one knows they're the 'crazy girl', you're just attempting to get back into the narrative, even if it's a story you weren't sure you wanted to be in. The main characters take you back in bits because they like the inspiration, but it's still their story.  

What if we focused on our own stories? What if all the energy of those clicks and likes, and photos were put back into the narrative that was happening now with us? What if that energy wasn't given to what or who we wanted to create or attract? What if we lived out our own ideal? One in which other people's stories come and go. One in which feminine can be silly, grounded and strong; without being scary.  

I'm never going to not be weird or quirky.  No matter how many times someone calls me ma'am I'l probably always look behind my shoulder, but I'd rather be curvy than a pixie, and I'd rather create for myself than an audience that isn't  really listening in the first place.  

(And I don't care what anyone says I still love Annie Hall.) 

(Drawing by Seamus Gallagher) 

No comments: