Guy Who Coined 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' Wishes He Hadn't

Phrase to call out sexism has become sexist: Nathan Rabin

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2014 11:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nathan Rabin invented the phrase "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" in 2007 after seeing the film Elizabethtown, starring Kirsten Dunst. His goal was to point out a "fundamentally sexist" film trope centering around a male fantasy "of being saved from depression and ennui by a fantasy woman who sweeps in like a glittery breeze." Little did Rabin know how the phrase would catch on: It's since been mentioned numerous times in all kinds of publications and even used as the title of a young adult novel and a musical, he writes at Salon.

"By giving an idea a name and a fuzzy definition, you apparently also give it power. And in my case, that power spun out of control," Rabin writes. Now, "calling a character a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is nearly as much of a cliché as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope." What's more, the term has itself been fairly accused of being sexist: Nuanced female characters are suffering under a catch-all label that suggests they're just "some sad dude’s regressive fantasy." "At this point in my life, I honestly hate the term," Rabin writes. "Manic Pixies, it’s time to put you to rest." Click for his full piece.

In this film publicity still released by Fox Searchlight, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, left, and Zooey Deschanel are shown in a scene from 500 Days of Summer.
In this film publicity still released by Fox Searchlight, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, left, and Zooey Deschanel are shown in a scene from "500 Days of Summer."   (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Chuck Zlotnick)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
14%
12%
3%
12%
2%
57%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   HitFix   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   CollegeHumor   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!