Mean Girls: A Guide to Life

It’s October 3rd.

Nearly ten years ago Cady Heron caught our hearts in what is arguably one of the finest pieces of cinematic history to date.

Mean Girls paved the way for girls (and boys) everywhere navigating the vicious halls of the American education system.

We learned how to be manipulative and sociopathic and how to achieve things we never thought possible without the help of the Regina George.

We learned that acting dumb in class is not so great for your GPA, but perfect for getting that cute boy to explain Calc to you incorrectly.

And we learned that if you’re mean to everybody, nobody will be there to catch you when you fall into a crowd.

But, the one person who is there to catch you is your true friend for life.

So, on this day we reflect on what it means to be a Mean Girl. 

Being a Mean Girl is more than wearing pink on Wednesdays or questioning whether butter is a carb (two things I will be the first to admit I do on a weekly basis).

It is understanding that every boy looks sexy with his hair pushed back.

Even your best friend’s boyfriend.

It is being accepting of other cultures and knowing that skin color doesn’t define you.

It is never shopping at Sears no matter you dress size.

It is laughing about that time your best friend got diarrhea in Barnes & Noble and telling everybody about it later.

And most importantly it is knowing that if you have sex you will get pregnant and die.

American sex education in a nutshell.

Despite these superficial aspects of the film, there are significant moral lessons to be learned from the coming of age story of a young African transplant, who is no different from all of us attempting to find our place here at Notre Dame and in greater society.

Being a Mean Girl is a way of life surrounded by following a very strict social code of respect and loyalty. This loyalty can be seen in the insignificant actions of multiple characters throughout the film.

Cady Heron is pulled into the Plastics because she realized that they provided her with a significant source of affection and acceptance, even if that was based on superficial details. Her readiness to please defined a moment many of us have faced in attempting to find our niche in the vicious high school (and even college) scene.

Shopping, the defining factor of any friendship.

Gretchen Weiners taught us that the most important thing in life is not what you know, but who you know. Any situation deemed worthy of pulling a few strings should always involve mentioning your father, the inventor of Toaster Strudels.

Or your uncle, the guy who donated all the money for that new building on DBart Quad. Or your grandpa’s roomate’s cousin, the inventor of the Hesburgh Challenge. Or your fifth generation legacy status. You know, the important stuff.

Karen Smith showed us what it means to be a real friend. From her suggestions of Taco Bell when Regina George was feeling down, to catching Gretchen Weiners when nobody else was there for her, Karen was the real MVP throughout the movie. Though wholly naïve, her good intentions not only reflected the pureness within her heart, but the number of times she was maybe dropped as a baby.

And finally, Glenn Coco taught us that even if you do not have a star role in a history-altering event, you do have an effect on the greater picture and have the potential to be remembered for years to come (Fun Fact: Glenn Coco doesn’t even have a credited role in the film!).

You go, Glenn Coco!


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