Mean Girls

The rain in College Station prompted me to stay in last Thursday, forget about school for a few hours and watch one of my favorite movies, “Mean Girls”. “Mean Girls” is a film centered on the “popular girls” in high school. A naive, Cady arrives at her first day of public school and immediately catches the attention of the Queen Bee, Regina George. Despite the affection she receives from the in crowd, Cady formulates a plan to infiltrate and “take down” the popular clique with help from her friends Janis and Damien, who have convinced her that the popular crowd is pure evil. Little does she know, Janis has her own personal, intrinsic motivation for destroying the group. A former member herself, Janis was publicly humiliated by Regina in middle school and is using “the Plastics’” new infatuation with Cady to achieve revenge. Although I really like this movie, I do wonder what prompts teenage girls to be so mean to each other almost arbitrarily. Regina is best  characterized by narcissistic personality disorder reflected in by her constant need of admiration (which she receives not only from her friend group, but from many other students who seem to idolize her) and her lack of empathy, shown in the movie by her “boy snatching” and merciless comments made humorous by the writers. Insecurity is also a popularly believed cause for malicious actions to one’s own friends. The Plastics are shown contemplating their flaws in front of a mirror as a typical after school routine and encourage the new member, Cady, to join in. Self-deprecation has become a social norm in their group and it breeds even more insecurity within the individual, yet makes other members of the Plastics feel slightly better about themselves. “At least I don’t have shoulders like Gretchen”, the girls use this tactic to bolster their confidence despite the fact that they tear each other down in the process. The “friends” are constantly making snarky comments towards one another in a battle to gain Regina’s approval. The group dynamic is not atypical amongst the subset of teenage girls, who often seek acknowledgement from the group’s leader. The humor used by the creators of the movie gets people to realize the truth and common occurrence of the strange rituals high school girls have come to accept as “normal” and shows how ridiculous they are in reality. The movie also showcases how easy it is to get caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses” and the materialistic nature of our society. The need to have the right jeans, the right purse, and perfect hair in order to avoid public ridicule from your so called friends gives the term friendship a whole new meaning. The behaviors learned through these high school survival rituals are often difficult to unlearn as we mature. We’ve all had that friend that makes us feel badly about ourselves, yet in the unlearning process we are slow to recognize the absence of true friendship; instead we are engage in a competition we didn’t plan to enter. Perhaps it is the unlearning process that causes us to ultimately have a few very dear friends, having shed those that haven’t matured past the high school rituals used to make them feel better about themselves.

Work Cited

Waters, M. (Director). (2004). Mean Girls [Motion Picture]. United States: Paramount



4 thoughts on “Mean Girls

  1. I really enjoyed your retelling of Mean Girls. I typically watch movies like this and think to myself “Wow, how is this funny? I actually know people who behave like this…” I agree with your psychological analysis of Regina specifically; people who tend to lash out at others seem to be insecure and have a need for attention.

  2. I would like to hear more your interpretations of the psychological processes of Janis. We all know that adolescence already have plenty of stressors (with puberty and their biological changes), plus the added pressures of their society. Why was Janis so threatened by Regina? What button did Regina push to get Janis so angry (questioning her sexuality) and why did it work?

  3. I think it is important you point out how easy it is to fall into these patterns. Teenage girls can be ruthless and cruel, but as long as you go along with the crowd, you seem to be somewhat spared. Movies like Mean Girls prove how easy it is to fall in with the wrong crowd and become someone you never wanted to be.

  4. I’m so glad you wrote about Mean Girls. It’s possibly one of the most quotable movies of all time (well, at least for our generation). Although it is comedic, I do think that it gives us an outsider’s perspective into a life that may be quite similar to our own. I know a few girls who were a lot like the Plastics, though maybe not as overt about their hatred. Hopefully our generation can help change that for our kids.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s