Reason #3: The Heart
Tina Fey is as successful as she is because she is able to make social commentary funny without you noticing it is indeed social commentary. Her Mean Girls screenplay is actually an adaption of Rosalind Wiseman’s book Queen Bees and Wannabes, a parenting book. The book’s subtitle (Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence) reveals a bit of what the movie actually gets at if we take is as more than just a romp through the high school social hierarchy.
Don’t feel betrayed there’s social propaganda in your mindless teenage comedy. In the end, it doesn’t matter how it got there. It makes for a good combination (like that peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup—for those of you who don't get that reference, watch this).
Wiseman’s book (and Mean Girls, by extension) tries to put into perspective what really is important in the long run. Will popularity and glamour get us anywhere without substance? Will going out on dates with three different guys every weekend get me into the career of my choice?
Naturally, the answer is no.
Although Mean Girls takes a playfully sarcastic tone towards these issues, it forces us to reexamine the manner we look at ourselves and the ways that we treat each other.
After clawing her way to the top of the high school food chain, Cady comes to realize at the end of the film that:
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.
Mean Girls is a gross exaggeration of the nature of high school. Everyone is a bit self-centered, delusional, and needy, but probably not to this degree. The same can be said of gay world (and my portrayal of it in these posts). In addition to the entertainment and fanasy values of the film, Mean Girls offers us a subtle lesson:
While we all want to belong and take control of our situations, what it really boils down to is being able to have the confidence to stand on our own and be who you are rather than what others expect you to be or some stereotype society has fed us. That's what makes us strong and why we like Mean Girls.