There is not a single person from the Millennial and Gen Z generations that isn’t aware of the pop-culture masterpiece that is Mean Girls. A comedy about the drama of high-school cliques and the poison of girl-on-girl hate, it has become a legendary and influential film that has greatly impacted girls and guys alike.
The story follows Cady Heron, a home-schooled girl who spent most of her life in the African Savannah with her scientist parents, and her journey into her first year of high-school. There, she gets involved with a clique of popular girls, a.k.a. “the Plastics,” and faces the effects of bullying, maintaining friendships, and the challenges of staying true to yourself. At first glance, it’s an absolute “chick flick,” but by just spending time on the internet, it has obviously also become a cultural monument. (Heck, I already knew several quotes from the movie before I watched it thanks to everyone referencing it online.)
In all forms of social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, you are sure to find a Mean Girls related post wherever you look. Quotes from the movie like, “On Wednesdays, we wear Pink,” and “You go, Glen Coco!” are always twitter bios and captions for group photos and selfies (#squadgoals). Even celebrities and politicians are fans, like ex-President Barack Obama, who captioned a photo of his dog with the quote, “Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen.” There have been Mean Girls merchandise, a whole line of Mean Girls makeup, and a Broadway musical that opens its doors this March. I will not mention the memes today, though. That’s an entirely different world for another time.
As I did my research on this movie, I realized that this isn’t an overrated or over-hyped movie at all. It is a relevant eye-opener to the way girls treat each other in high-school and how brutal it can be on the quest of attaining popularity. Even if this movie was made before the social media era in 2004, it still nails the issues of bullying of today’s society to a tee. While “the Plastics” in the movie have a “Burn Book,” where they write down their criticisms of their classmate’s physical imperfections and personalities, the new generation has “Cyber Bullying,” which is even more toxic in comparison.
But I think what made this movie so special was how the all-female main cast brought their characters to life, and turned them into a group of relatable individuals.
First off, they aren’t bada** warriors who know how to fight with spears and shoot a gun. They’re flawed teenage drama queens who are going through their own struggles with growing up. Cady makes mistakes and ends up being someone she never wanted to be: a mean girl. And when she realizes that, she accepts that she messed up, she apologizes, and moves on, having a more mature perspective on herself and other girls. As someone who, like Cady, messes up from time to time, I found it very refreshing to find someone I could relate to. Besides the fact she was homeschooled, like me, she sometimes forgets to think before she speaks, also like me. However, she showed me that learning from our mistakes and getting through it to grow as a better person really hit home for me.
All in all, this classic teen comedy-slash-drama is one for the ages. It speaks to all generations of girls and women about supporting each other instead of tearing each other down. We as women live in a very difficult world, and only by sticking by each other, instead of competing, is the only way we can make the world a friendlier and brighter place to live in.