The Manic Pixie Nightmare Harpies of Nathan Rabin

There is a relatively recent “trope” (actually based on a very old “stock character type” that feminist idiots have erroneously redubbed a “trope”) known as the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” (or MPDG) and the poor inventor of the term, film critic Nathan Rabin, has just publicly apologized for … what, naming her?

In Rabin’s own words: “I coined the phrase to call out cultural sexism and to make it harder for male writers to posit reductive, condescending male fantasies of ideal women as realistic characters. But I looked on queasily as the phrase was increasingly accused of being sexist itself…. I honestly hate the term too. I feel deeply weird, if not downright ashamed, at having created a cliché that has been trotted out again and again in an infinite Internet feedback loop.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself—what (or who) is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl? I found the examples of MPDGs in their Wikipedia entry (trigger warning for Dean Esmay: Wikipedia) to be unhelpful because every movie/character listed there is from a romantic comedy, and since I avoid boring rom-com chick-flicks because of their identical plots and dull characters, I haven’t actually seen any of the movies that purportedly rock that creature.

However, since actress Zooey Deschanel has played the MPDG and knowing her work in helping to ruin the movie adaptation of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyI think I have a handle on the concept. For another example, the character of Miss Daisy Wick on the Fox Network’s TV show Bones is an overblown super-MPDG, the most extreme of many on that show.

Now, the concept of the MPDG is a useful one—I know characters like them in real life, some of them maintaining their MPDG attitude well into their 40s despite marriage and childbirth. MPD Girls are also examples of neoteny—the persistence of childlike characteristics (both physical and behavioral) into adulthood, which in humans is part of a sexual reproduction strategy, like wearing makeup and sporting pigtails, that emphasizes the fecundity of youth, especially in those whose youth is fading.

But why is the MPDG sexist? Is it because a man dared to name her, or that men are attracted to her? Both.

Rabin’s unease and embarrassment with his own purportedly Frankensteinian phrase is intriguing—even Rabin says that “(a)s is often the case in conversations about gender, or race, or class, or sexuality, things get cloudy and murky really quickly.” 

“Murky,” huh. What Rabin leaves unsaid is that he seems to feel that he overstepped the chalk outlines that feminists put down against men who ignore, or fail to shut-the-fuck-up about, ideas and subjects that feminists claim exclusive privilege over.

In feminist discourse, men discussing male feelings and sexual attractions are somehow deemed sexist, oppressive, and just, wow!, wrong! A great example of this that really puts the “jerk” into knee-jerk can be found in Katy Waldman’s horribly failed attempt in Slate to satirize Tom Junod’s sappy article in Esquire. Junod’s admiring ode to the charms of today’s 40ish coquettes created a clumsy response of such naked hatred of male sexuality that Waldman has earned the title of Manic Pixie Nightmare Harpy of the Monthlies. Congratulations on your sloppy, gratuitous bitchery, Katy:

Indeed, it may be said that the best thing that fifty-six-year-old American men have going for them is a men’s magazine that will let them announce they are having a lot of sex with a lot of hot women.

Of course, 56-year-old men have to work for their advantage; they have armored themselves with Financial Times subscriptions and elastic waistbands even as they fumble with their CPAP masks. Still, what has made them figures of fantasy is their own vulnerabilities. Go to a party: There is simply no one more desperate to bang than a fifty-six-year-old man.

So, a man praises women, and a woman slaps him down for having feelings—gender-role policing, much? How very non-equality man-hating feminist of you, Katy. And fat-shaming. And disability-shaming. And sexuality-shaming. How would you feel, Katy Waldman, if someone called you a fat, lame, and desperate-sounding cunt?

The deep emotional fault line that drove Waldman into becoming a Manic Pixie Nightmare Harpy is a largely forgotten concept called “sexual crypsis,” which I discovered thanks to a recent interview posted by Men’s Rights Edmonton:

Although the short definition of “sexual crypsis” is “hiding fertility status,” the idea goes back deep into the human narrative at least as far as the discovery of sexual shame in the Garden of Eden as one of the founding ideas of human community. Just as human men mate-guard their women, the guarding, by feminist women, of any topic related to human sexuality is deeply tied into preserving this “patriarchal” concept at all costs and even at the expense of the stated goal of feminism—”equality.”

Yes, I said it—feminism is patriarchal at its core. After all, what sort of “equality” between the genders means that

  1. Women can discuss their sexual desires, but men doing so are shamed for it;
  2. Emotional women are coddled, but emotional men are told to man-up/shut up;
  3. Feminists protest efforts for men to have a male birth control pill but demand that men pay for women’s pills;
  4. Women are encouraged to speak at men’s rights conferences, but men are forbidden at feminist conferences;
  5. Women can demand, and get, “safe spaces” for women, but all-male enclaves are breached by women;
  6. A woman who has unwanted penis-in-vagina sex is a rape victim, but a man who has unwanted penis-in-vagina sex is called “lucky”—one of the rare TRUE examples of “rape culture” outside of prisons;
  7. The domestic violence that women do to men is ignored, but violence by men on women is universally decried.

Indeed, the age-old question of “What do women want?” remains a question because of the diversionary tactics of those mired in maintaining sexual crypsis—examples include the rage against men who refuse to be “friend-zoned” (and even the feminist rage at the term “friend-zone” itself). Much of the anger, unease, dismay, and discordant psychic pain exhibited by those people—especially journalists—against men’s human rights activism comes ultimately from their devotion to maintaining human sexual crypsis.

Without sexual crypsis, the Pickup Artist (PUA) community would disband overnight because human sexuality would be open and un-bride-allied—everyone would be fucking in the streets and scaring the horses, which also fuck in the open when they can.

While the backlash against Nathan Rabin will soon become titanic—never apologize to a feminist, you poor fool, it only shows the male weakness that triggers feminist sexual crypsis anger—the real message for the MHRM is that because our issues by necessity run roughshod over sexual crypsis, we will always trigger anger whether we try to play nice, or not.

So fuck that, and death to the idea that we need to apologize for fighting for men’s human rights. Playing not-so-nice is more fun, and it gets the job done.

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