The manic pixie dream girl is one of those terms that float around so much that it’s redefining how we’re looking at how women are portrayed on the big screen. The trope refers to ‘caricature describes wacky women whose life purpose is to take broody men on a journey of self-discovery, to lighten up and enjoy their lives to a late 2000s indie soundtrack.’ So for reference look into every character, Zoey Deschanel has ever played.
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl monologue about the cool girl explains it the best:
“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot.”
So what is the woke pixie dream girl?
Well I wasn’t even aware this was a thing until reading Kimberly McIntosh’s article with Gal-dems about it, and it blew my mind.
A woke pixie dream girl is essentially when a woman of colour either becomes romantically or platonically involved with a white man and makes it their job to change their political views. They become the shining become of ‘wokeness’ and open their eyes to the plight of women, people of colour and feminism. They use their knowledge and essentially spend a lot of time quoting ‘Dear White People’.
Thanks to this, it alleviates the white man from his white guilt as he uses her as a way to feel less guilty about being ignorant and goes on to ignore the centuries of colonialism.
Kimberly McIntosh put it perfectly here:
“Men who seek the Woke Pixie Dream Girl expect the women they date to showcase – on demand – an improbable combination of progressive political beliefs, as well as genuine enthusiasm for anecdotes about the morally and politically bankrupt company he works for. “
You essentially play up your wokeness for the man in question and become a caricature of what you pioneer. This article blew my mind because I’ve been very guilty of doing this, and honestly I’m glad this behaviour now has a name.
When I used to do this I thought it was a way of fighting the good fight and bringing people to the woke side one by one. I would play up my revolutionary side and essentially play the role of an awful stereotype. This wasn’t even just for white men, I would play the role for many different circles with the aim of being known as someone who is knowledgeable on these topics.
I would throw everything I’ve learnt from the internet and my degree and hope to make a difference – so the intention was fairly pure. But it got tiring, peoples responses were so similar and honestly, it drained me mentally. I couldn’t fathom the idea of understanding that marginalised groups have a right to live without fear is difficult to comprehend.
Surely the discussion should be flowing on both sides? But no, when it came to feminism men would scream ‘not all men’, when it came to race ‘reverse racism’ was brought into question. It got tiring so I’ve calmed down on it, and never want to play this role again to the extreme. I still very much want to fight the good fight, but not to alleviate someone’s white guilt, or to be used as a token.
All images are taken from Unsplash