Do you really want to know why I didn’t blog Sunday night? I was looking through Netflix and found that one of my favorite movies was on Instant Watch: Mean Girls.
What does Mean Girls have to do with Lent? A little more than you think, but I’ll get to that later.
I am always a sucker for movies with quotable dialogue such as Casablanca and The Princess Bride. Mean Girls is no exception. Just look at how many memes there are relating to the movie on Tumblr! But what I really love about Mean Girls is how it takes the stereotypes associated with high school cliques and gives a fleshed-out vibe to them. There are parts of the movie that take artistic license with the sociology of cliques and how fast one can accurately heal from getting hit by a bus, but it’s forgivable. I also love the social commentary that the movie provides without even being preachy.
For example, early on in the movie, Gretchen Weiners says:
But we know that’s not really what feminism is. Instead, Tina Fey gives an actual rule of feminism towards the third act of the movie:
There are parts in the movie that show Regina’s little sister watching music videos and Girls Gone Wild, imitating what she sees on TV. We are shown how desperate Regina’s mom is to stay young and be “cool.” There are other parts in which Cady thinks about joining the mathletes, but both sets of friends tell her its “social suicide.” Also, Cady decides to dumb herself down in order to try and get Aaron to tutor her in math. Once again, Tina Fey provides words of wisdom which are sadly not GIFed:
” I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don’t have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.”
Then there’s the fact that Regina puts herself on an “all-carb diet” and tries to go to extremes to lose weight instead of eating healthy and how easily it was for Gretchen and Karen to turn against Regina. Gossip, rumors, lies, and secrets drive the plot of Mean Girls all the way until Cady’s math competition in which another not-quoted-enough-quote comes in:
In this scene, Cady finally decides to stop using her mean girl habits and use her intellect towards a better cause: helping her classmates win the math competition. The “limit” in question isn’t just a math problem, it’s Cady’s perception of the power she held over people as a mean girl. In truth, being a bully towards other people didn’t change anything for the better. It just made all the people she bullied feel worse and more insecure.
All of this social commentary ties into Lent because Mean Girls can be looked at as a morality play or a parable. Through watching this movie, people can learn how lies and gossip only serve to make things worse and that apologizing for one’s actions leads to redemption. The third act of the movie starts with the public apologies and trust exercises and ends with Cady making her own. Although she ran away from the first attempt to make apologies, she decides to take the opportunity to do so when she is crowned Spring Fling Queen. It’s my favorite part of the movie because for once, Cady is herself. She’s not a naive homeschooler, a Plastic, an outcast, or a mathlete. Just an honest, apologetic high school girl.
This movie has a lot more depth than one thinks. But on the other hand, it’s still an entertaining, hilarious film. Give it a watch!