by Shelton Bumgarner
I’m extremely self-conscious about slipping into some major pop-art tropes as I develop and write this novel. I’m really nervous that I’m going to produce a Female Lead who is nothing more than Barb Wire meets Clementine from The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.
This must not happen.
So, I am actively thinking up ways to make my Female Lead sufficiently flawed that while boys will lust after her, maybe, men will get a sense of her and say, “Uhhhhh????”
It’s too bad that it appears modern feminist conventional wisdom is that the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl is, by definition, bad. I get where they’re coming from, but where else are hard up writer nerds supposed to get inspiration from if not from their own personal dating experiences?
It’s not like shulby broke-ass writer nerds are going to have the opportunity to date Captain Marvel, for Christ’s sake.
Meanwhile, I love, love, love, Broad City and specifically Ilana Glazer’s body of work. So, I’m trying to fit in a character in the novel I’m writing inspired, in part, by her.
But there’s a problem.
Glazer is “full figured,” and so if I’m not careful, if I model my Female Lead’s “best friend,”after Glazer, feminists — Glazer included — will just roll their eyes and say I’m using yet another tired pop art trope perpetuated by the patriarchy, that of the “‘fat’ best friend / comic relief.”
My only response is, while on an ideological level they are absolutely right, when it comes to telling a tentpole story, there are concessions that have to be made, at least in my opinion.
In other words, you just can’t please everybody all the time.
Because, really, if you’re someone who gets all bet out of shape over things like the Bechdel Test, then a great part like Clementine in The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind fails because could be seen as nothing than a high end Manic Pixie Dreamgirl.
I go where the muse takes me and given my own ideological agenda for the story I want to tell, I would like to think that maybe feminists might, just might, give me a break if my Female Lead is described as traditionally attractive relative to Hollywood standards.
Not that Ilana Glazer isn’t hot.
She’s a total babe
But that’s just not the direction I want to go with my Female Lead.