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The Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Updated on July 31, 2014

Film critic Nathan Rabin came up with the term 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' and it refers to a stock character used in movies who will enter a boy's life and fill his life with brightness and adventure so that he can emerge from his slump and see everything that is right in the world.

Because of course men need women in their lives to be happy. And of course the purpose of women is to be worshipped and used to find happiness.

The character we're talking about usually has some sort of quirky trait like bright hair colour or a bullring in her nose or a bizarre family background. Perhaps she's a little bit off the rails or has strange habits that are slightly disturbing and yet awe inspiring.

Anyway, this representation of character degrades both men and women. It degrades a man's capability to find love in himself rather than another person, and it objectifies women as a means of achieving happiness. (Sorry, I used the dreaded O word...)

There's been lots of controversy over the portrayal of the manic pixie dream girl and it's effect on women, blah blah blah. But the exact same character is often used in men too.

Charming, romantic, usually poor but rich in love will come and sweep the female lead off her feet. We've seen it all before in the romance movies, and nobody has a problem with that? Something seems wrong here...

Inspiration for the poem

Well... Either way, whatever the controversy, I've written a poem about how destructive it can be to idolise someone. I hope you enjoy...

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl

My friend was a manic pixie dream girl.

I am not a manic pixie dream girl.

I am not to be placed on a pedestal,

Sought for to find happiness,

Needed for adventure,

Light, colour, or hope.

I can't teach you to embrace life.

Only you can.

And I know it's wrong

To place all your dreams on someone

But still,

I sought out my manic pixie dream girl.

Yes, girls can do that too.

But the pedestal was too high

And I was the only one with my arms stretched to the sky,

Trying with all my might to keep her up there.

And my hope was tall and when it all became too heavy...

My god did she fall.

Expectations do not belong in the mind of a 14 year old girl

Because she is far too young to have explored the world

And if she's on that pedestal she can see for miles,

She can see celebration, love and all of life's trials.

But she can't explore it because as soon as she tries to take a step

She'll fall.

All she wants to do is experience what she can see,

The world is full of so much opportunity.

But I'm the only one holding her up

And the palms of two hands isn't enough

To walk.

So I think: "Hey, maybe what she needs is more."

But I soon realise that more people are worse than just the first

And mass worship proves to be a bigger curse

Because now more people are looking up

And watching her struggle as she gives up

Because she can walk now, on the palms of a thousand hands

But their hopes keep growing and she can barely see the land.

She is relying on us to hold her high.

She is depending on us to stay alive.

But what good is that is she can't enjoy her time?

What good is that if she'd rather die?

But we won't let her fall, her legacy is too strong

And despite all her best efforts we keep holding on

Because she is our hope, our light, our sun.

We have to help her

We have to help her

I have to help her

She deserves recognition for all her efforts and strife,

What can I do to add value to this life?

I find more people to observe her beauty

And I tell them that to save her is their absolute duty.

So we hold her higher and higher and higher still

To protect her from the wars and the conflicts and the ill.

No matter what happens she must stay safe.

But we push her further and further away

Until eventually we can't see her anyway.

And we start to wonder if this was all real

Or if it was just a projection of how we feel.

Meanwhile, she is up there suffocating

Without air to breathe or help to receive

And we can't even see the struggle

So we continue ignorant as she begins to crumble.

With our arms still up stretched

We realise the weight as gone.

So we lower our palms to find...

No one.

We panic and stress as the place starts to swirl,

How on earth can we now have faith in this world?

We need to find another manic pixie dream girl!

I shake my head,

"We've done enough,

We've already killed the girl I love."

But their eyes brighten up when they look to me

And I turn behind me to see what they see

Wait... Is it me they're looking at?

They say to me: "You've taught us well,

You guided us away from hell,

You're the one who introduced us first,

You're the one who saved the world,

YOU are the manic pixie dream girl."

And in a desperate attempt to defend myself I say:

"But so are all of you."

And suddenly people start running scared

About how they'll survive

Balancing on the very tips of five

Tiny fingers from which they are bound to fall

And suddenly it clicks.

They were wrong after all.

And before long our hands aren't pushing people away.

Instead, they're interlocking, keeping each other safe.

Men and women alike hold each other close

And guard each other in turn from Earth's deadly foes

And to these issues we must stay awake

Because love can be just as destructive as hate

Because to worship, to idolise is to push away

And in an attempt to protect, we isolate.

My friend was so alone in this world.

Because my friend, was a manic pixie dream girl.

© 2014 Amy Naylor


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    • Amy Naylor profile image

      Amy Naylor 3 years ago from England

      Thank you very much for the insightful and constructive comment. I might consider separating the two hubs so that I can explore the topic in depth a little more.

      I hope you realised the comment that you've quoted is a sarcastic one. That often doesn't come across very well in text, I should have taken that into consideration.

      I really appreciate your support and advice, this is the best kind of feedback I could hope for. Thanks again!

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 3 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      What a sweet and wonderful poem, Amy. A neat observation and it is very true. For films and TV, that is. Your hub made me think a lot about this.

      The introduction perhaps might suit a hub more directed to it's subject, which is stereotypes in movies and entertainment, (this is a long detailed subject that cannot be fully explored here) while the poem - which I really love - deserves a hub for just this poem alone, and probably a simpler introduction. By attempting to avoid objectifying women thus, the hub (in the first half at least) actually goes ahead and does it anyway. This risks making the rest of what is said here as being didactic, which I am sure you did not intend.

      But please don't take this as a criticism, okay? I know where you are coming from and I know you mean well.

      (The possible second hub that might be derived from the intro begins with - "...Because of course men need women in their lives to be happy. And of course the purpose of women is to be worshiped and used to find happiness."

      This comment cannot be accurate if gender and orientation is taken into consideration... again a second hub about this would help explain your words - so we could understand where this leads... but really this is probably another hub to write.)

      As a poem I thoroughly enjoyed this and you deserve high praise indeed for a great work and interesting topic, or even topics. You put a lot of thought and effort into creating this thought provoking hub. And in the end, that is a good thing.

    • Amy Naylor profile image

      Amy Naylor 3 years ago from England

      Thank you so much Audrey, I really appreciate your positive words of encouragement. It's things like this that keep me going :-)

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Amy. Oh your poems seem so easy, and I wish I could write these action and descriptive little essays. You use repetition which works so well for you. This is the second poem of yours that I read. Outstanding. Blessings. Audrey

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Another impossible fairy tale for people to compare their actual relationships to. No wonder so many do not rise to the level of our expectations.

    • Amy Naylor profile image

      Amy Naylor 3 years ago from England

      Lovely, thank you very much!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub voted up and shared.


    • Amy Naylor profile image

      Amy Naylor 3 years ago from England

      Thank you!

    • brianaganab profile image

      briana g 3 years ago from honolulu, hawaii

      love it!