Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From "Mean Girls"

My first memory of the movie Mean Girls actually comes before the movie was even released, that fateful day in the middle of the year 2004. I was working at a movie theater (best job ever, until I got fired for egging a car in the parking lot—don’t worry—even I’m not funny enough to make that story up) and when the standee arrived in the lobby, the boys I worked with went crazy. A “standee” is the giant cardboard display that movie companies use to promote their movie when they think it will be cool enough to have more than just a movie poster. The standee was exactly like the movie poster, but huge. Lindsay Lohan, in her prime, looking hot and gingery and bitchy. The rest of the girls followed, and even though no one really knew it yet, we all had a crush on Rachel McAdams. When the movie finally came out, I saw it four times in the theater, and even though it was free because I worked there, I totally would have paid for it all four times. I still laugh so hard I cry whenever Gretchen Wieners kicks that stereo into Jason’s face. That being said, there are tons of lessons to learn from the movie Mean Girls, just like there are tons of things to learn from being a GIRL IN HIGH SCHOOL. Feel bad for your younger selves, but laugh at it, at least.

Thank you, Tina Fey, for this movie.


1. It is possible to be evil and fabulous at the same time.
Like Damian, one of Cady’s first friendships at her new school, explains. First of all, Damian is probably my favorite character, mostly for his Danny DeVito joke, but also because he knows everything about everyone. He reminds me of a less attractive version of myself.

Just kidding, he so doesn’t remind me of myself. He, however, admiringly explains that Regina George is “fabulous, but evil.”

Do you know any fabulous, but evil people? Sure, you do. Look into the mirror. We are all guilty, I hope. (‘Cause I am.)

2.  You can’t help it if you’re popular.
It is true, guys. Listen, I hated popular girls in high school as much as the next guy, but I have recently cited that I cannot help if I am popular. I mean, it is truth.

You also cannot help if you are gap toothed.

3. Cool moms are the best.
Maybe this is my Amy Poehler biased, but I love “cool moms.” None of my friends’ mothers gave us “virgin” drinks on “hump day,” and then told us to drink in the home if we felt like drinking. You go, Amy Poehler!

…though to be real, I am pretty sure I would not have been able to handle a martini on a Wednesday when I was in high school.

4. “Acting” like a bitch and “being” a bitch are the same thing.
So, bear with me. I have always been told I was “acting” like a mean girl. No person in their right mind would call me a “mean girl” because people still are always nice to me, even when I think they should admit I am a mean, mean girl. So. This movie is the first time anyone has ever told me, you know what, Jess? You are a mean girl! I mean, obvs, they did not really say that, but this quote sealed the deal for me:

“I know it may look like I was being like a bitch, but that’s only because I was acting like a bitch.”

Funny, Cady. Same thing, turns out.

5. You cannot just ask people why they are white.
In Mean Girls, Cady Heron is a white girl from South Africa. Naturally, some of her classmates (you go, Gretchen Wieners) had no idea there was such a thing as a white African person (like Charlize Theron). When I first met my (now ex) boyfriend, his best friend said, “you’re Black? You don’t look that dark to me!” and I wasn’t even mad because it was so hilarious. That best friend is now one of my best friend’s, mainly because of that moment.

PS I don’t look all that Black, but it is true. A wise man once told me that it is not about how Black you look, but how Black you feel.

6. If you have sex, you will get pregnant, and you will die. 
The gym teacher is the best. Did anyone else have sex ed like this guy’s class? I didn’t–I was relatively “well informed,” though I hate the separation of boys and girls thing. What’s the deal? Aren’t we going to have to know anyway, eventually? Like I’m going to have to find out about wet dreams from an O-Town song because I was separated from boys in elementary school? We are seriously going to willingly make boys think the weirdest things about our menstrual cycles because they had to be in a separate room when we were children?! Boys are scared of tampons because of this situation. Man, if I ruled the world.

…but back to the drawing board. Coach rules: don’t have sex, ever. Now take some rubbers.

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