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Why is Mean Girls still such a phenomenon?

It’s October 3rd, which, if you are a Mean Girls fan, is a very important day. It was the day on which Aaron Samuels asked Cady what day it was, to which she answered, well, October 3rd. Are you wondering what the hell I am talking about? Well, that means you’ve probably never watched the 2004 chickflick Mean Girls, which became a massive success after its release.

Not often do films aimed at teenage girls acquire the legendary status, yet Mean Girls managed to do just that. While many people believed that Clueless was the ultimate film about the lives of popular girls, Mean Girls blew it out of the water. Even now, more than twelve years later, I can still quote the film by heart and refer to a nasty bitch pretending to be nice as a Regina George. But how did it become so popular and why is it still such a phenomenon today? I’ve decided to let my brain crack on this puzzle and here are my answers.

1. The one-liners

There has never been a chickflick which has been quoted as often as Mean Girls has. From “So fetch” to “You go, Glen Coco!” to the more deep “I’m a mouse, duh!” to “That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets!” (I quoted these all from the top of my head. 10 points to me), the dialogue is so cleverly written that Mean Girls has become one of the most quoted films in the past ten years. And while it wasn’t a massive box-office success back in its day, Mean Girls has proven to overcome the test of time, as even now you could ask a teenage girl what fetch means and they will probably quote the film. Only legendary flicks will receive that honour.

2. The characters are relatable

Obviously high school is not as dramatic as it is portrayed in the film, but it can’t be denied that all of these characters resemble people we know in real life. We all know a Regina George, who everybody hates but nobody dares to tell her. We all know a Gretchen and a Karen who want to be cool so they just follow the leader. We all know a Janice and Damian and perhaps even a Kevin G who wants to be cool but kind of fails. In real life, high school is also about cliques and belonging to a group. And there are times when kids make each other’s lives miserable, just to find their place in the big mess of the cafetaria. Which is why the film is so relatable. The high-school dramatics haven’t changed, which is why teenagers nowadays still find joy in watching the film.

3. The cast is fantastic

Lindsay Lohan was a star on the rise back then and portrayed Cady perfectly. Rachel McAdams, who later became known for her portrayal of good girls, is an excellent Regina because you hate that you love her but you really do want to hate her. Basically, all the lead roles were casted really well. All the actors had fantastic comedic timing, which really brought the film to life. And while Lindsay soon after fell off of her pedestal, I like to remind her like the actress she was in this film, because of its importance in my teenage years.

4. The story

While the story essentially is nothing special, it is important to note that Mean Girls is a film mainly driven by the female-centric characters and not the male characters for a change. For so long, girls had to live with films in which the main female character lusted after a guy and made him the most important thing in her life, or a strong female character in a men’s world who has to fight against the inequality of it all. Mean Girls is a film centered in a woman’s world where the girls rule the school, literally. And while none of them are strong female characters, but in fact are insecure about their position in life, it makes the film even more relatable. All girls struggle with being accepted and while boys are an important factor for most girls, they are not the reason girl-world is still spinning. Girls want to outdo each other, want other girls to like them and gossip about those they ‘hate’, but in reality are just so insecure about themselves that the gossiping is a way to feel better. Basically girl-world is complicated and Mean Girls managed to capture the essence of the world perfectly.

5. There hasn’t been anything like it.

I am part of the generation who grew up with Mean Girls, while the generations before mine grew up with Dirty Dancing and Grease. In the past twelve years, there have been quite a few attempts to create a chick-flick which resonates with teenage girls today, but none of them have managed to quite make it. Partly because in order to make a great film based around teenage girls, you have to take all the clichés and turn them into a clever and witty story with three-dimensional characters people can relate to. And that is something that turns out to be quite difficult. Mean Girls has yet to find a rival that can match its awesomeness and please let us all just forget that Mean Girls 2 is actually a thing. While I hope that even this generation gets a film as great as Mean Girls, it is good to know that Mean Girls is still out there and is still helping girls and guys understand and tackle the jungle that is high school.

Mean Girls will always be one of my favourite films and I can rewatch it a million times and never get tired of it.

Do you like Mean Girls and if so, what is your favourite quote? Let us know in the comments!

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Ingrid is the twenty-something owner of The Sassologist, who loves everything that has to do with pop culture. While she is one of many who is in the process of writing a novel, she is also currently in denial over not being a witch. Her Hogwarts letter has yet to arrive. In the meantime she writes about pop culture and dreams about unicorns.

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