But why would you choose to be associated with something people want to destroy?

♙ Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” was coined by film critic Nathan Rabin in  a review of the film Elizabethtown in regards to the female lead played by Kirsten Dunst (read my review of Elizabethtown here).

In 2010 I didn’t know the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl. My initial reaction was “I’ve never heard of that but I kinda want the t-shirt”. I felt it described me particularly.

I have (over)identified with Peter Pan‘s Tinker Bell and Wonderland’s Alice my whole life. Tink is my Manic Pixie and Alice is my Dream Girl. 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

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.

Tinkerbell standing on a handmirror

And a face of the company.

The Wonderful World of Disney logo featuring Tinkerbell

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.

Tinkerbell in the Disney Fairies films

♕ Wonderland

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:

Sarah telling The Goblin King he has no power over her
(If you don’t think Labyrinth is an Alice story you’re wrong.)

This world is built on, and perpetuates, inequality. Alice and Sarah and I have little to no power over external events or other people. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. But we do have choices. I have the power to choose who to be.

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, from Through the Looking Glass, 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 a lazy trope. Within the context of what I personally and particularly prefer to call myself, the MPDG is a wonderful label, full of meaning, and power.

a circle graph showing three equal parts labeled "Faith" "Trust" "Pixie Dust"

All it takes is faith (in ME) and trust (in ME) and a little bit of pixie dust (MY power).

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