In 2010 I’d never heard the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl. My initial reaction was “I’ve never heard of that but I kinda want the t-shirt”.
It became a theme.
I have (over)identified with Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell and Wonderland’s Alice since forever.
Tink is my Manic Pixie and Alice is my Dream Girl. And I am both and both are me. I have written and will write about each in depth, many times, because I (over)analyze fictional characters to learn about myself. There is always a reason I am drawn to a character or story and I am always interested in those reasons.
Tinker Bell is tiny and can’t speak. She cannot physically hold more than one feeling at a time. When she dies Peter Pan forgets she ever existed. In the play she is portrayed by a light and a bell.
But Disney made her a star.
And a face of the company.
As such Tinker Bell came to represent magic, wonder, fun, dreams — possibility. And then the Disney Fairies line gave Tink a voice and made her the protagonist of her own stories.
Alice is already the protagonist of her source material but she is a child (a girl child) and, like Tink, expected to be silent and small within her traditional society. Even in Wonderland there are expectations and rules set upon her. But through her journey she realizes:
Alice and Sarah and I have no power over events or people or inequalities in the world (it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is) but events and people and inequalities in the world have no power over us either, unless we give it to them.
I love labels. I love labels because I love words.
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
I use this quote as my email signature. When I say I want a t-shirt that proclaims I am a Manic Pixie Dream Girl I mean it literally. I have lots of t-shirts that proclaim I am lots of things:
So I don’t mind being called a “concept” instead of a “character”. Within the context of fiction, the MPDG can be (but is not always!) a lazy trope YES. Within the context of what I personally prefer to call myself, the MPDG is a wonderful label, full of meaning, and power.
All it takes is faith (in ME) and trust (in ME) and a little bit of pixie dust (MY power).