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Why “Mean Girls” is Deeper than You Realized

2004’s teen comedy Mean Girls is arguably one of, if not, the most iconic and quotable teen movies of all time. The film, written by comedic star Tina Fey and starring Lindsey Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, and Rachel McAdams has been hugely successful, and it was adapted into a musical on Broadway in 2018. 

Mean Girls can just be seen as a fun, sleepover movie, but the message of the film may be deeper than you realized. Even though most of the audiences would probably see Regina George (McAdams) as the ultimate villain, many other characters are just as bad as Regina. 

We see Janis Ian as the “good guy” because her life was ruined by Regina, but if we look closer, Janis Ian (Lizzie Caplan) is just as mean as Regina. She uses Cady (Lohan) for her revenge, she constantly calls her the wrong name, and many of her character motivations mirror Regina’s. 

Both of them are using Cady for their pleasure, but Cady herself also became a “mean girl” towards the end of the film. The movie takes a pretty satirical view on how girls in high school treat each other, but the ultimate message is that everyone is a mean girl at some point.

The scene at the gym is perhaps the best example. We see that all the girl groups have their own problems because they were simply “being mean” behind each other’s back; a tool that we’ve seen continuously throughout the film with almost all the characters. 

So perhaps the biggest question that Mean Girls posed isn’t “who is the meanest of them all?” The movie certainly isn’t about if Regina or Cady is meaner, but it’s about how everyone can be selfish and mean for their own agenda, and the biggest lesson here is to learn from our mistakes and be open about it in order to grow. 

Mean Girls became a cultural phenomenon for several reasons, like the performance, the writing, the jokes, and the cast, but I think the most important reason is how everyone sees a little bit of themselves in these characters, and that’s why this movie is still a hit in today’s society. 

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