Wednesday, 21 August 2013
'scary, plain, intellectual, manic pixie girl'
Dear Reader, a couple of days ago I was introduced to someone at a dinner at our house. A gentleman I spoke to for quite some time. I was struck by how many assumptions he formed about me by the end of our conversation. When another guest asked him if he had enjoyed the conversation he said,
"Very much! She is an interesting young woman...although slightly too intellectual and probably a 'radical leftist'....definitely a problem for her poor parents...too intense for me, but over all a dear, sweet, polite, cheerful girl! Oh, I like her very much!"
I cannot tell you how discontented this opinion made me feel dear reader. It really was condescending, wasn't it? I was really dismayed to be typecast in, what I privately call 'the great Female Intellectual cliché'. By this I mean - a radical feminist, Amazonian apparition, irrational leftist, hipster (Ugh!), manic pixie girl who is a non conformist because, that's what we really intellectual types must do to fit in the 'uniquely interesting female model' yo!
All you readers of books and many fellow writers will agree with me when I say...The Above Described Cliché Does Not Exist!!! It is the figment of the imagination of some really naive writer (probably a man), who knew nothing of women.
Now, I know a lot of women who loosely fit this description (I admit I'm one).Yet, there are those, the really frightening ones, that even I can't find excuses for. They are the ones who fancy themselves as tortured artists, obsessed with rain and coffee...they rhapsodise about cigarettes and Marx....they think that reading mind numbingly boring books by Kafka (my opinion only) is cool , discuss the upliftment of the poor and aspire to live the life of glorious simplicity while they sip their beloved coffee in really pretentious and overpriced shops.
I admit to liking rain and coffee, but I love my hot cup of tea as much as any tea lover. I am what you may call a moderate, liberal (that might be contradicting, but who cares) Leftist. I think that Marx was a great thinker of his time, but many of his concepts don't quite fit in the 21st century. I also realise the importance of food and job security for the poor in India. However, I refuse to spend 200 bucks on something that should only cost 20.
I like puppies, kittens, ice cream, cake and rainbows, but, I would not want Zooey Deschanel,( however much I like her ) playing me in a movie about my life!
In the end of this post, I want to say one thing. I deeply resent stereotyping women into clichés like 'Hot Bimbo', 'Nerdy Unattractive Intellectual', 'Manic Pixie Girl', 'Cute Girl Next Door', 'Tortured, sensitive Arty type' etc etc... a woman can embody all of the above and still be a complex puzzle. Women are not 'types' that can be classified into neat personality type boxes...they are just individuals, and everyone is uniquely different. I also realise that men suffer from being typecast too! Yet, their stereotypes are more often than not kinder than those of women. So forgive me, dear reader, if you are male when I say boo hoo!!! Try being a young woman on the receiving end of a compliment, that could be a thinly veiled insult, when all you can do is smile tightly, as you don't want 'horribly rude' to be added to your glowing list of so called 'qualities'.