(believe me, it took a long time to find a title that didn’t read like a Fall Out Boy song name)
random thoughts on random shows with vivid female characters
Jess Day, New Girl- Part 1 of 2
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is yet another term we’ve found to dismiss female characters. They’re no longer allowed to be bright, and light-hearted, and zany, and eclectic, and free-spirited, and unconventional, and a bit hipster, and cheerful, and feminine.
Because, clearly, femininity is a bad thing.
The only point of an MPDG seems to be to get the soulful young male character to brighten up! To look at the good side of the world! The silver lining of the cloud!
Like Mary Sue, Manic Pixie Dream Girl had a genuine critical basis, used to criticise a character in Elizabethtown. But the creator of this title has drawn back, saying that even he thinks that the term is being applied to far more many characters than he had ever thought.
Jessica Day is beautiful as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, because she is dumb, and childish, but this just makes her amazing at her job. And she has jobs, and dreams, and emotions, and friendships, and relationships and all of this is affected by her personality. She’s cute, but she can also be annoying, and other characters point out how annoying she is, but she doesn’t just exist to fill the void in a soulful young male character’s heart. She’s the focus of the show, and as Elizabeth Meriwether, who created the show says, she’s a character who would have been secondary or the love interest in any other show, but New Girl defies that stereotype- and the literary trope itself
A brief storyline even explores the perception of women that despise the show, drawing a coherent response into light for every woman who condemns Zooey and her character Jess, for being a ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’
I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children. And I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. That’s just weird, and it freaks me out. And I’m sorry I don’t talk like Murphy Brown. And I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons on it or something to make it just slightly cuter. And that doesn’t mean I’m not smart and tough and strong.
Jess Day, New Girl.
Sybil, Downton Abbey – Part 2/2
Sybil had always been the good sister in a way. While I adored Mary and her proud, dignified personality and Edith’s passive lack of one, their constant battles with one another are practically designed to make you fall in love with the third sister.
And then they destroy her.
Branson, sure, it’s wonderful and fiery and revolutionary that she falls in love with a chauffeur and insists she will marry him, despite her family. Where does this spirit for political activities disappear to afterwards? Why do all her ideas conform to Branson’s?
As a woman in the post-Edwardian era, people of the time might have expected her to conform to her husband’s views. I think Sybil, being Sybil, would have disagreed. If she can ignore society as to marry a completely unexpected husband, she can ignore it enough to disagree with him.
And yes, Sybil’s death was engineered so the actress could go to another job. But the way she died is such a snarky comeback at the incredibly ridiculous views of women’s decisions. Why exactly aren’t women considered important enough to have a say in matters concerning their own bodies? Why is Robert’s decision more valuable than Cora’s, a mother herself?
It’s a powerful statement amidst the pro-choice arguments. Why, exactly, are we allowing men into a decision that ultimately concerns a single woman and the choice she wishes to make with her body? Why are we even allowing other women into the argument?
It was Sybil, and Sybil’s body and Sybil’s baby and Sybil’s personality.
And it’s someone, and their body and their baby and their choice.