This morning, my sexy husband Hal sent me a text: “Check your email,” it said. I did.
And what I found there changed my life forever. Just kidding! We don’t do clickbait here.
The subject line was “This is how I feel about Pixie Dream Girl…” I had no idea who Pixie Dream Girl was, so I Googled her. And lo! She is everywhere.
If you are alive and moviegoing in America, you already know her. She shimmers with unblemished perfection in all things: skin, hair, wardrobe, and spacious, well-appointed apartment. That veneer of perfect-without-trying requires substantial funding, of course, and tons of work behind the scenes. But this is the standard that we actual women expect ourselves to live up to, and we filter our real selves into oblivion trying to achieve it. All because well-funded, “effortless” perfection is, apparently, Hollywood’s version of the Ideal Dreamy Female for the Hero to Win.
Here’s an excerpt from the original post, to which Hal was responding:
See original post: The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who She Is And Why I Hate Her
Why should we care about Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG)? Honestly, we shouldn’t. We’re too damn busy writing, flying planes, baking pies, making art, raising kids, drinking wine, taking long hikes, and generally getting it all done to obsess over all the pesky little imperfections that keep getting in the way of our Ideal Hollywood Femaleness.
Besides, is Ideal Hollywood Femaleness actually something we should want?
After all, the MPDG character is just one more in a long series of narrative oversimplifications of what constitutes an actual female life. Seen through the lenses of various unimaginative filmmakers, screenwriters, and novelists, we women are whores and angel-saviors (or both), Mommie Dearests and Virgin Marys, or loyal Donna-Reed helpmeets with minor supporting roles in Jimmy Stewart’s Wonderful Life.
All too often onscreen, we are tropes and fantasy material, two-dimensional paper dolls who merely serve as plot devices for male characters who actually want things and have rich, complex personalities—thereby driving The Plot.
Here’s the thing: We’d prefer to do some of the plot driving ourselves, thank you very much. And to my mind, real Male Heroes don’t mind sharing the driving, nor do they harbor absurd fantasies about faux-perfect paper-doll helpmeets whose job it is to save the male hero from himself.
Real Male Heroes don’t have ridiculous beliefs about What Women Should Be, nor do they require their romantic partners-in-crime to serve as decorative accessories to reinforce their egos or impress alpha males.
Real Male Heroes really see us, in all our messy, complicated wholeness, instead of through some fantasy-filter of what they want us to be. And when it comes to love and partnership, that’s really all we ever wanted—not to be idealized, but to be truly seen.
Lucky for me, my excellent husband truly sees me, hears me, and smells me, and sometimes, it isn’t pretty. But here’s what he wrote to me this morning (in response to this post)—and it’s f***ing beautiful:
This is how I feel about Pixie Dream Girl…
She may be a pixie, but that’s just by chance. She’s most likely not, though.
She may meditate, but that’s just an attempt to maintain some semblance of sanity. She most likely doesn’t, though.
She may drink water, but that’s just what we do (not a beauty aid). She’s probably just as apt to slug a bottle of wine, though.
She’s certainly going to have a kitchen that gets used, if not abused. Her pots don’t match. Some of them may, but … they mostly don’t, other than the fact that they all have purpose and suffer bruises of over use.
She’s likely, at times, to round the corner slinging g***mns and f**ks at like ninja throwing stars.
Her face is kind, but wrinkled. She has crow’s feet and that worry line and … she’s a f***ing human being. She has a face that makes you smile and wonder how many trails has she walked, how many times has she caught her hair on fire over the gas range (you know it happens), how many long, long nights has she stayed up writing, comforting, cooking.
She has boobs. They are perfect. She has scars. They are perfect. She has wrinkles. They are perfect.
If you’re lucky enough to be granted even the briefest glimpse of her in any variation of naked, her perfect boobs will most likely not sit perfectly — riding high, defying gravity with perfect little stout nipples pointing somewhere towards the perfect heavens. They just won’t. And if they do, she hired an idiot for a surgeon. If you are lucky enough to see her scars — well, you’re having yourself an amazing day.
She may have a thigh gap (Seriously? Thigh gap? Who the f**k thinks this shit up?), but she may not. And to be honest, anyone who comments either way should fall off the earth and stop using oxygen.
She drinks wine, likely a bit too much at times. She is bawdy. She is thoughtful. She is amazing. She is beautiful … in the morning … pre-shower. She writes. She cooks. She consults. She curates. She runs a business. She hosts a show. She raises kids. She parties. She cries. She stays up too late. She gets up too early. She sleeps in too late. She goes to bed too early. She is a mother. She is a wife. She is a friend. She is amazing. She is herself.
Anyone who gives her pause for even a split second about her beauty, her self-worth, her all-consuming freaking amazingness — anyone who doesn’t adore her for who she is — can seriously eat a bag of d***s.