Just as Regina George invited loser Cady Heron shopping, Mean Girls invited itself into our cultural narratives with its acerbic jabs and absurdly comedic happenings. Mean Girls is both silly and serious, offering us a snapshot of the inner-workings of high school cliques and every human heart. We can all relate to Cady, the new girl at school who doesn’t understand the social rules that are second nature to everyone else. Some misfits welcome her kindly, but when the popular girls—the Plastics—also befriend her, the misfits hatch a plan: Cady is to assimilate with the Plastics to spy on them and to bring them down. Cady wants to play the game for the misfits while also longing to be accepted by the Plastics (and gain access to their social capital). Of course, nothing good comes of that facade. Eventually, Cady realizes she has become the worst version of herself.
In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson continue their Never Seen series with Mean Girls—a film never seen by either. After watching this 2004 film for the first time, conversation begins with gut reactions, favorite lines, and memorable scenes (some quite cringeworthy!). Then Erin and Hannah hash out the messages that Mean Girls tells. How have these messages shaped our narratives around social interactions? Or are these merely reflective of society? Key to the discussion is what makes us who we are: Does Cady become a Mean Girl because her sociological context changes or because she is innately a mean person? The way that we interpret Cady’s predicament reveals much about our take on human nature. Does Mean Girls still speak to us today? How do we create artificial (and often unspoken) social rules to determine who’s in and who’s out? Why are we enticed to gain power and place through subversion and manipulation?
Listen in for dialogue on questions like these, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.
Erin Straza: Web / Twitter
Hannah Anderson: Web / Twitter
Episode 166 Resources & Links
Mean Girls (2004)
“Why ‘Mean Girls’ Still Matters, 10 Years Later,” Forbes
“15 Years After Mean Girls, Janis Ian Remains the Real Hero,” Esquire
Eighth Grade (2018)
Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen!
Persuasion 164 | Beyond the Silver Screen, with Alissa Wilkinson
Persuasion 165 | Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca
Theme music by Maiden Name. Produced by Jonathan Clauson.
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