#ThrowbackThursday: What "Mean Girls" Taught Me

I think it's safe to say that one of the most popular films late 80's babies and 90's babies grew up on is "Mean Girls". The soon to be twelve year old film is hands down an iconic piece that remains super relevant in modern day pop culture. This isn't just your typical early 2000's, teenage flick, this one of the most quotable, hilarious, memorable films of the last decade, exposing the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of high school.

In 2004, the film mean girls was released starring former teen star Lindsay Lohan alongside Saturday Night Live divas Tina Fey and Amy Poelher, Rachel McAdams, and many more. Lindsay starred as sixteen year old Cady Heron, a newcomer at North Shore High School who was homeschooled all her life residing in Africa for twelve years with her zoologist parents. Upon entering high school, Cady is so culture shocked by this new environment and soon meets two social outcast friends, Janis Ian and Damian Leigh. The two "Best People You'll Ever Meet" show her the ropes around North Shore, including the many cliques that make up the collective school.

Eventually, Cady runs across "The Plastics", a trio of stereotypical, prissy, prim, and popular high school girls that run the hallways of North Shore. Gretchen Wieners, Karen Smith, and the notorious, head bitch in charge and queen bee of the bunch, Regina George. What began as a mildly "innocent" spy job to report back information to Janis, who hates Regina's guts since middle school, turns into a head on mission to take down Regina George by Cady who later finds herself obsessed and turning into the person she was trying to destroy: a "mean girl".

In many teen films and television, the stereotypical, snobby girl clique is usually viewed as the primary "mean girl" crew. The Ashleys from the television show "Recess", Amber from "Clueless", and many more characters. Typically they come from rich families, are cheerleaders, pretty by society's standards, well-dressed, popular, and the overall "it" girls in the high school hallways. Every guy wants them, and every girl wants to be them. Getting their asses kissed for acceptance is an understatement. On the contrast, the usual victims of the snooty committee are the polar opposite; these girls aren't popular, usually they're social outcasts within high school society, coming from middle class families, and "meh" dressers, not too big on looks or in the fashion department. 

What "Mean Girls" taught me was that contrary to popular belief, there's no one representation of a "mean girl". In the film, Cady's friend Janis was being just as much of a mean girl as she accused Regina ("The Life Ruiner") of being. Even Cady turned into a mean girl on her quest to slay the dragon that was Regina George. We've been bombarded with these images that have created mental and social stereotypes of what "mean girls" look like to the point we've failed to realize that's there's no one way or identity of being one. Once the Burn Book was exposed to the student body, secrets came out showing that "The Plastics" weren't the only girls being mean to others. The so called "Girl on Girl Crime" (coined by Ms. Norbury) included all the girls and cliques in the junior class; The Desperate Wannabes, the Cool Asians, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, and others.

After the school wide girl fight, Ms. Norbury, played by Tina Fey, asked the junior girls sitting in the gym bleachers if they had ever been talked about by another girl, and of course everyone raised their hands. I mean that's why they were there. On the flip side, Ms. Norbury asked "How many of you have ever talked about a friend behind her back?" With hesitance, all of the girls raised their hands. This scene automatically made me reminiscence back to my high school junior and senior years.

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I wouldn't say that I was a "mean girl", but I definitely had a few "mean girl" moments back in the day. I recall many times when some of my companions and I would talk behind each others backs but act like victims once it was revealed we were being talked about or being done wrong. There was even one particular group of girls that we thought we would have considered to be "The Plastics". Like the student body of North Shore High School saw the drama between Regina and company, we saw the drama between these girls unravel as well. But similar to the characters in film we also had our internal issues with one another, just like the other group of girls in our class.

While some of us have had our "mean girl" moments, actual "mean girls" like Regina George do exist. So do "mean boys" and "mean boy" moments, let's not rule that out either or pretend that gossip and drama is only exclusive to young women. I think some of us get so caught up in thinking about how wrong we've been done, we forget the times we've done wrong to others. We're so entrapped in images of what a "monster" is supposed to look like that we can't identify the monster we've become.

Besides the sheer comedy and classic phrases, "Mean Girls" certainly gave some valuable life lessons on friendships and honesty. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the movie:



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