I was watching the show “New Girl” and trying to figure out what about it was driving me so crazy. It’s supposed to be funny, but I don’t get it. I’m not laughing. I don’t relate… Honestly, it just makes me feel downright uncomfortable.
The MPDG tends to be a supporting character to a brooding, sad, young man, who needs to be reminded of the beauty and wistfulness of life. The MPDG is “unabashedly girly”, innocent, quirky, young, fresh and most-importantly, non-threatening. She blows bubbles in the wind while wearing a sundress in a park. MPDGs are said to help their men without pursuing their own happiness, and since they never grow up, neither do their men. Film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term after seeing Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown (2005). He described the character type as:
“that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”
It’s Zooey Deschanel in every role she’s ever played, it’s Natalie Portman in Garden State and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You don’t know what the true story behind these women is, what they want or what troubles them. They are mysterious dream-like creatures only supposed to sparkle, be a little “off” and listen to great indie music.
The whole thing had caught me off guard, usually because sexist archetypes tend to come in semi-naked packages. Why was this so annoying?