Why Mean Girls Matters: A Fan Manifesto

mfctoplist_header-apr-2014-mean-girls-special

Director: Mark Waters
Screenplay: Tina Fey
Cast:  Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lizzy Caplan, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jonathan Bennett, Daniel Franzese

Mean Girls…How do we begin to explain Mean Girls? In all its flawlessness, it needs no validation: it is the quintessential high school movie; the queen bee, if you must. And if you don’t know it, you’ve been living under a rock, or homeschooled by your research zoologist parents while spending your formative years in Africa. The wisecracks (say crack again? CRACK) has punched our hearts for 10 years now, and it’s still awesome.

Yes. Yes it is.

Yes. Yes it is.

And yes, I’ve packed 5 movie references in that first paragraph, and I’m unrepentant about it.

Quoting Mean Girls, as they say, is national pastime. Much of the movie owes its success to Tina Fey’s intelligent script seasoned with quips that have now become so ingrained in our generation’s culture. I say the movie itself is a lifestyle.

The thing about Mean Girls is that it resonates with everyone. Well, yes, it’s about a girl named Cady Heron who moves to a high school somewhere in Toronto, and realizes that high school has less to do with mathematics and academics (which she loves) and more to do with the study of human relations. Be it in Toronto or Manila, we’ve been there: trying to figure ourselves out while trying to fit in. For many of us, we still are.

Kevin Gnapoor, Math Enthusiast/Bad-Ass M.C., gives sage advice

Kevin Gnapoor, Math Enthusiast/Bad-Ass M.C., gives sage advice

Here’s the gist: Cady pretends to be a part of the popular girl trio, so-dubbed The Plastics so that she can laugh it off with her new-found secret friends who hates them. Soon enough, she’s not pretending anymore. It’s a watered-down version of Stanford Prison Experiment, actually, cleverly disguised as a high school movie. Roger Ebert was spot on in his initial observation when he said that “in a wasteland of dumb movies about teenagers, ‘Mean Girls’ is a smart and funny one.”

10 years later, Mean Girls still matters because it tells it how it sees it. It’s both realistic andd normative. It tells it how it sees it: the girl world in all its grittiness–backstabbing, and manipulation, name-calling, and social hierarchies; high school with all its cliques and the absurdity of it all. It’s normative because it teaches us, in a lot of ways, to laugh about it, and that there is no such thing as a wrong side of the tracks, whether you’re a prep or a JV jock, an Asian nerd or a cool Asian.

Mean Girls matters because it’s a movie for girls, written for girls by a girl. Film is a male-dominated industry, and much is to be desired how women is portrayed in our screens. It features a powerhouse cast all of whom are esteemed actors in their right and it has Tina Fey both writing and acting. Even the famous rap scene by Kevin Gnapoor, mathlete, was penned by the hilarious Amy Poehler. The movie passes the Bechdel test in flying colors, because though Aaron Samuels does look sexy with his hair pushed back, Mean Girls is still essentially about friendship, and he is not the prize to be won.

Your hair looks sexy pushed back.

Your hair looks sexy pushed back.

Mean Girls matters because it’s still a bitch-eat-bitch world out there, and we’re taught to ridicule other girls to move up the social ladder. It’s a flawed framework, and a habit we unconsciously perpetuate. If girls should be able to depend on someone, it should be a female, who knows the oppressiveness and harrassment that a female faces. Who wants of their muffin be buttered by random stranger? Certainly not any member of the female species, and Regina George knew this when he called that cheating scumbag Jason to shave his back.  Girls have got to have other girls’ back.

That's one for you, Gretchen Wieners. You go, Gretchen Wieners.

That’s one for you, Gretchen Wieners. You go, Gretchen Wieners.

Mean Girls matters because slut-shaming is a thing, and a girl should be comfortable with her own choices, sexual or not, without being condemned for it. As Ms. Norbury pointed out,

Tina "My Queen" Fey

Tina “My Queen” Fey

‘Nuff said.

Mean Girls matters because body shaming is still a thing. It’s alarming that apparently, the “wide-set vagina” line had to be argued upon with the powers that be to be included, when in fact it’s not her problem if she has a wide-set vagina (see what I did there?).

We see how, in the movie, Cady qualifies as Plastic material because she was a “regulation hottie”, and when she and her company wanted to bring Regina George down, they had to bloat her to render her unwanted. Girls are taught to sum up their existence with their physicality.

Fact is, there’ s nothing wrong any girl’s body, because female comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of your weird hairline (or your bad breath in the morning).

Girls need to abide by Cady’s wise words, in her moment of epiphany: ” Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier, calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter.”

Mean Girls matters because although three-way calls are outdated, these issues still matter. It reminds us that beyond being a pillar of pop culture as it now, these girl problems persist, and until we get another movie as brutal and funny, we have to keep this one and be reminded that Milkshake and God is a DJ are so 10 years ago.

 

Author’s Note: Can you count how many quotes we referenced in this article? Correct answer gets a virtual candy cane.

-A

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