My favourite writer, and purveyor of the finest Glasgow life and style blog, Miss West End Girl is back to guest at Trouble with Film! Having previously solved the puzzle of Why Girls Love Clueless, Miss West End Girl has returned to talk about another of her favourites & provides us with 5 life lessons we can learn from Mean Girls.
Last night I watched Mark Waters’ 2004 (yup, nearly ten years old!) comedy, Mean Girls. And when I say watched, I obviously mean re-watched! I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve seen this film, which introduced me to such female comedy geniuses as Tina Fey (who wrote the screenplay and starred) and Amy Poehler (in a hilarious turn as a Juicy tracksuit-wearing, boob-jobbed mom, “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a COOL mom…”). The movie is based on a book by Rosalind Wiseman called Queen Bees and Wannabes, and follows teenager Cady Heron as she takes on high-school and all its written and unwritten social conventions for the first time. Cady (played by Lindsay Lohan – in my opinion her best performance to date) has spent her life being home-schooled, living in the African bush with her zoologist parents and has never attended school before.
I’m sure most people can identify that the learning curve Cady faces is less about the educational system and more about the gossip, backstabbing and mind games that comes with high school life. Mean Girls explores Cady’s adjustment in a smart and funny way, using sharp examples and drawing similarities between high school and the jungle life that Cady has been brought up in. By the time the movie was released, I was out of high school but could still relate to the story. I thought about this as I re-watched the film and realised that there is guidance for all of us in there! Don’t believe me? Here are 5 life lessons Mean Girls taught me…
1. On your own, you’re good. But with your friends by your side, you are unstoppable.
At the start of the movie, Cady is all by herself and does OK (bar a couple minor faux-pas). She manages to just about hold her own on her first day at school. By day two, she has made friends and caught the attention of the alpha girls, known as The Plastics. Once Cady joins forces with other people, it is clear that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to (no matter how morally dubious!), including convincing leader of The Plastics, Regina George to use foot cream on her face, ‘outing’ her teacher as a drug dealer (!), and saving the talent show after a mishap with a boombox.
2. Be yourself, no matter how weird. The important people won’t mind!
Before long, Cady is drawn into the superficial world of being one of the most popular girls in school. Deep down, she knows that it’s not really ‘her’ but the attention and glamour is addictive. She shuns an invitation to join the Matheletes club, deemed ‘social suicide’, even though she admits at the start of the film how much she loves maths. It takes a long time, but eventually Cady learns that being herself isn’t actually so embarrassing and her real friends will always stick by her.
Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.
3. If you lie, you WILL get caught in the end.
Throughout the film, Cady manages to ALMOST pull off a series of impressive (and hilarious) lies. These include fattening up Regina by telling her weight-gain bars are diet snacks, telling her friends she’s out with her parents when she’s actually having a house party (and just didn’t invite them), and pretending to be bad at maths so that the boy she likes will tutor her. She almost gets away with every single one of them too, but soon enough the truth comes out. So, even if you think you are WAY smarter than the people you’re lying to, you’re not and you will still get caught!
4. High school is like a jungle. But worse!
The behaviours of the students and teachers are likened to the wild animals Cady grew up around throughout the film. This is one of the most effective ways of summing up the high school environment. The ‘laws of the jungle’ are applied in the same way, making for a funny and effective visual effect. With alpha packs dominating the other students, fights at the watering hole (e.g. the water fountain) and girls sitting grooming each other, it’s easy to see why high school is a tough ride for everyone involved.
5. Never have an argument while crossing the road.
If you do, watch out for traffic. You don’t want to end up in a spinal halo for Spring Fling, do you? Nuff said!
I hope you enjoyed this fun examination of Mean Girls. Let me know if you have any other ‘lessons’ to add!
A big thanks to Trouble With Film for having me guest post, and you can find me over at my blog if you like the cut of my jib and would like to read more!
You go, Glen Coco!
Miss West End Girl x