Opinion by ArianaGanson
Everyone has a different outlook on someone, whether it’s a reflection of their present or past self. People tend to use their own emotions and outlooks to stereotype someone, and place them in their life where they seem to fit. This idea relates back to the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” which emerged in 2010, to describe the lack of characterization in a woman.
This term describes a woman who is in someone’s life just to further the narrative of their partner. Almost always, the girl is pushed into the background, expected to cheer from the sidelines, and never get a spotlight of her own.
Several movies provide perfect images of this role, one being Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” From the minute Ramona is introduced, the audience gets a sense of her mysterious and erratic nature.
Ramona never becomes a three-dimensional character, but instead remains two-dimensional, lacking depth. Ramona is viewed as the “cool girl” whose problems only concern the topic of her ex-partners.
This betrayal is dangerous to young girls who view the “it” or “wanted” girl as one who is always a supporting character, who knows when and where to say the right things to better her partner’s progression. They lack depth in their own lives, and only really have problems concerning their love interest.
A realistic portrayal of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope is Summer (Zooey Deschanel) in “500 Days of Summer.” Summer’s character is seen to be bubbly, yet mysterious throughout the movie. The main character, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), chases after Summer throughout the movie, always imagining her as one way, only to be heartbroken when he returns to reality. He strives to feel an emotional connection with Summer, creating a perfect image of her character in his own mind.
Throughout the movie, Summer is seen as a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” but it is apparent that this is not just her doing, but Tom’s as well. Towards the end of the movie, Tom has a heartbreaking reality check when his expectation of their reunion is opposite of what actually happens. Summer has moved on in her own life, and is no longer the side character in Tom’s story, but is creating a story of her own.
“500 Days of Summer” shows the dangers of only acknowledging the appealing aspects of a person compared to their whole self.
In recent years, this has died out in the media, but not completely. There will always be storylines in which a person’s only purpose seems to be to further another’s view and image of themselves.
People’s lives are not just made to help other people discover themselves, but also find their own way in the world. Women are more than what a man claims them to be.