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Four Early 2000’s Teen Movies that Teach Valuable Life Lessons

Chock-full of the nostalgia from our childhood’s, early 2000’s movies remind us of a simpler time when the jeans were low-cut, the hair was horribly blonde-streaked, and Promiscuous Girl by Nelly was on repeat on everyones iPod Shuffle. Teen heartthrobs like Chris Evans and Chad Michael Murray constantly graced our screens as the golden-boy leading male with leading females such as Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Hilary Duff starred next to them. But one thing we don’t really notice from these movies, is that despite the cringy fashion choices that were made during the time and the swoon-worthy final kiss at the end is that these movies that we love actually teach some valuable life lessons.

A Cinderella Story

We’ve all read the classic fairytale and this modern re-telling has had not one, not two, but three other spin-offs that all follow the same plot-line. But despite all of them having a predictable outcome and a killer early 2000’s soundtrack, A Cinderella Story teaches a valuable lesson about following your dreams. The main character Sam, despite all the hardships throughout her life, worked hard in school and at work and tolerated all of the stuff her step-mother and step-sisters threw at her. And in spite of all of this, everything turned out right for her in the end. She got into her dream school, got her dad’s diner back, and got her prince. And she managed to do all of this without waiting around for a man (like for rain during a drought). A Cinderella Story not only teaches you to follow your dreams, but to persevere through all of life’s troubles because everything will turn out the way it is meant to in the end.

The sisterhood of the traveling pants

Based on the novel series of the same name, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants teaches girls a valuable lesson on the importance of friendship and the unbreakable bond that friends share with each other. While each girl goes their separate ways during the summer the first movie and novel takes place, they are still able to stay connected and be there for one another through the sharing of a magical pair of pants that somehow manages to fit all four girls’ different body shapes. But it can be seen as the movie goes on, it wasn’t a pair of magical jeans that kept the girls united throughout the summer, but the deep-embedded bonds they have formed that show despite being far away from one another, they will always be there for each other. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants shows that your friends are the family you choose and will always be there for you in all of life’s toughest moments.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants graduation scene
Warner Bros. Pictures
What a Girl Wants

Starring one of the biggest leading ladies of the early 2000’s Amanda Bynes, What A Girl Wants teaches important lessons in the bonds we have with our family and to never change yourself in order to please others. When she discovers the identity of her biological father, Daphne seeks out the man she had dreamed about her entire life and discovers he is a wealthy British politician. Throughout the movie, it becomes obvious that Daphne and her father have a lot in common and an unbreakable bond despite having been separated from each other for her entire life. However, in order to fit the ideal image the media and her father’s campaign manager wanted, Daphne changed every aspect of herself from toning down her personality and adopting a more conservative look. But by the end of the movie, we see that the bond that Daphne has with her father was stronger than anything else and learn that you don’t need to change any aspect of yourself to impress others, you are perfect just the way you are.

Mean Girls

Probably one of the most popular chick-flicks of all time, Mean Girls teaches an important lesson about gossiping and its impact on others. We’ve all (hopefully) seen the movie and know that one of the biggest aspects of the plot is the wretched Burn Book where the Plastics write down horrible and sometimes degrading rumors about the rest of the girls in their junior class. When the Burn Book is deliberately leaked to the public by Regina as revenge against Cady, mayhem ensues as all of the junior girls find out the truth and learns about all of the rumors until the teachers are able to calm the girl’s down and teach them a valuable lesson on how the words you say can hurt someone very deeply. Mean Girls teaches all of us to treat others the way you want to be treated and to not gossip because it ends up only causing more problems in the end (and also to wear pink on Wednesdays!).

Alexandra Brooks

Virginia Tech '22

Alexandra is a senior at Virginia Tech studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Political Science. A 5'2-ish Canadian-American who will stop whatever she is doing to go pet a dog, Alexandra chooses to live everyday by the motto, "Just be yourself." When not stressing out over her major or writing for Her Campus, Alexandra can be found working out, reading, listening to music, and hanging out with her friends and family.
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