A Manic Pixie Dream
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Photos by Rae Anwar
Words by Olivia Evans
“Manic Pixie Dream Girl” is a term that references the way male filmmakers tend to create flat female characters that exist purely as a “muse” for a male protagonist. In many films where the manic pixie dream girl trope exists, the female character exists to pull a male protagonist out of a depressive episode or state. This trope minimizes women’s own pursuits and insinuates that women exist as caregivers at their core– and has had significant impact on young women's view on relationships .
The linked article by the Atlantic concisely addressed the problem with the manic pixie dream girl trope, especially in the way it depicts the way women should act within relationships saying,
"Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else's story."
We used these concepts and over-romanticization of manic pixie dream girls for the concept of this shoot. Rae and Lona posed as a camped version of a manic pixie dream girl– inspired by makeup in HBO’s Euphoria– a show that notably depicts under represented relationship dynamics and rejects the idea of manic pixie dream girls
The first photo presents Rae and Lona as equals both consumed in the gaze of someone else– accompanied with a quote from Sam (Natalie Portman) in Garden State. One of the most recognizable representations of a manic pixie dream girl, Sam diminishes a woman’s emotions in this conversation with male protagonist Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff). In modern relationships, it is easiest for women to take an emotionless route, however obsessed you might be. Like the idea of manic pixie dream girls, we often over-romanticize romance. It can also become an obsession to find the right person and to get it right– which can cause it to fail.
Lona is pictured in blue hues, and represented as a stereotypically defined manic pixie dream girl, with her photos accompanied by quotes from some of the most famous manic pixie dream archetypes– include Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) from 500 Days of Summer, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Claire Colborn (Kirsten Durnst) from Elizabethtown. All of these female characters from these films are well-known contributions to the manic pixie dream girl trope.
Rae is pictured in red hues, and is represented as women in film with their own agency, or even anti-manic pixie dream girls. Her photos are accompanied with quotes from Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) from Gone Girl, Jules (Hunter Schafer) from Euphoria (who are both acclaimed to be anti-manic pixie dream girls), Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson from Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) and Jenny Young (Gina Rodriguez) from Someone Great.
The final photo includes Lona resting on Rae’s shoulder accompanied with a quote from Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) in Little Women. This photo speaks to the fickleness of obsession that exist within relationships, but the lasting feeling between supportive female friendships.
Rae Anwar is a Low Caliber co-founder. She is currently studying communications and art. In her free time, Rae likes to take photos and drink coffee. You can find her photos @raeanwarphoto
Olivia Evans is a Low Caliber co-founder. She is currently studying journalism and film. You can find her trying to be artsy on her low quality Instagram @oliviaevans13
Lona Ceccherini is a co-model for this shoot. An Italy native, she is currently studying in Arkansas. You can find her @lona.ceccherini on Instagram.