From Manic Pixie Dream Girl to Stable Banshee Real Woman


“I’m fascinated by this character and what she means to people,” writes Laurie Penny about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype, “because the experience of being her—of playing her—is so wildly different than it seems to appear from the outside.”

In an essay for The New Statesman, Penny explores not just the way the trope functions in film and books, but also the way our inherent human addiction to narrative causes us to project MPDG-ness onto certain women—or even ourselves.

Read the whole thing to hear about Penny’s personal journey into and beyond MPDG-dom, and how weird and sad and powerful it is that being a person instead of a fantasy frightens so many men.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →