The parallels between “Mean Girls” and real life high school

Similar to the cafeteria scenes in Mean Girls, the Leesville cafeteria is split up into different groups of high schoolers. The unwritten rules of lunchroom include only sophomores sit on the stage, freshman sit in the pit, and anyone else fills into any empty tables they can find. (Photo Courtesy of Cayley Kennedy)Similar to the cafeteria scenes in Mean Girls, the Leesville cafeteria is split up into different groups of high schoolers. The unwritten rules of lunchroom include only sophomores sit on the stage, freshman sit in the pit, and anyone else fills into any empty tables they can find. (Photo Courtesy of Cayley Kennedy)

Most teens have seen the infamous film Mean Girls at some point in their life. However, the film brought audiences much more than a mere hour and a half of entertainment; it brought legendary quotes, inside jokes and a main character to idolize.

Mean Girls is a teen comedy aimed at highlighting common obstacles that most high schoolers, male or female, will have to overcome at some point during the extremely long, four years. The film takes the most basic cat fights and high school struggles and turns them into a learning experience with a hint of comedic relief.

Although the film hyperbolizes some common situations between friend groups or the dynamic in an average high school, there are several situations that are relatable or even similar to real-life high school.

In reality, the film is not that far from Leesville, or any high school.

The main character, Cady Heron, is a sixteen-year-old girl who lived in Africa her entire life due to her missionary parents. Having been homeschooled her entire life, Cady experienced a rude awakening after attending a public high school for the first time. The film follows Cady as she learns the ins and outs of dealing with school as an institution. Although most students are not homeschooled in Africa before they attend high school for the first time, they are just as nervous and out-of-place on their first day as Cady is.

Rosalind Wiseman, the writer of the film, may have exaggerated what it’s like adjusting to high school but used Cady’s situation to highlight the obstacles teens experience when it comes to high school.

The social issues Cady encountered when she walked in on her first day are almost identical to those experienced by freshman: what desk to sit in during class, who to sit with at lunch, what to wear, what teachers are good or bad to have. While watching Cady’s first day, it may seem like an over-the-top and ridiculous depiction of a high schooler’s first day; however, it isn’t very far off.

Another topic that the film indirectly hits on is the idea of being “accepted” or “approved” by one’s peers. The film tends to “poke fun” at the struggles some of the characters experiences; however, their struggles are very much relatable to the average high schooler.

For example, Cady struggles with finding the type of girl she truly is. She experiences an internal conflict as she bounces between being a down-to-earth mathlete, or a conceited gossip-girl. This conflict is definitely more extreme than the identity struggle real-life teens experience, however, the underlying message present isn’t much different. High school is a time for most kids to really grow into themselves, to find out who they really are. Similar to Cady in Mean Girls, everyone in high school is just trying to find their way.

A prevalent topic among today’s teens deals with sexuality. Although Mean Girls came out in 2004, the commentary on sexuality is more than relevant to some teens today. Damian is one of the characters in Mean Girls who experiences the hardships of being a homosexual male in high school. He is constantly being teased or judged, but instead of letting the comments get the best of him, he shrugs them off and proudly flaunts his sexuality.

Everyone worries about not being accepted or being judged, and if you are homosexual or bisexual, this concern is amplified. Although it is not right, people in high school definitely make fun of and judge those different from themselves, however, the character Damian in Mean Girls demonstrates how to deal with those haters.

Finally, the film Mean Girls gives insight regarding how mean a mean girl can be. The Burn Book, a book containing dirt on all of the school’s junior girls, symbolizes just how gossipy and cruel girls can be. The topics the girls talk about in the film and the intense sabotage that goes on may be a stretch; however, high school mean girls are very much prevalent in high school. The gossiping, the rumor starting, and the backstabbing all take place in real life. Instead of a Burn Book, girls and even guys have group messages where major trash-talking goes on. Although it may not be as extreme as the Burn Book was, some of the conversations within high schooler’s “BFF group messages” could potentially end lives.
Although the film Mean Girls may seem ridiculous and far-fetched, the underlying obstacles that the characters go through are very much similar to the ones that every teenager goes through in any high school over ten years later. The film’s purpose was to make a statement about the tough dynamic of an ordinary high school not just give us something to laugh at.

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