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A Cultural Analysis of "Mean Girls"

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Katie O'Connell

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of A Cultural Analysis of "Mean Girls"

A Cultural Analysis of "Mean Girls"
The Role of Women In America
The Rivalry Between Women
"Mean Girls" compares the fighting that goes on between Cady and Regina to win over Aaron which consists of playing with emotions, gossiping, name calling, back stabbing, and cattiness with the "animal world" Cady has seen in Africa.
"Mean Girls" is a Counter Narrative
The film addresses several issues of identity, culture, power and what it means to be an American. It gives several critiques on the master narrative of social ideologies about women in America.
Gender and Sexuality
Janis Ian and Damian, along with other cliques who are not apart of "the plastics" are labeled as the counter narrative, making "the plastics" the master narrative.


Women as Passive Objects
According to the master narrative, America should be a patriarchy, which is a system where men are privileged, requiring female subordination.
The Relationship between Cady and Aaron Samuels is a Counter Narrative
In order to get Aaron to like her, Cady starts pretending to be bad at calculus so he can tutor her. She also tries to conform to what she thinks Aaron wants by dressing more promiscuous, wearing more makeup, and doing things that Regina would do in order for Aaron to like her.
Janis Ian and Damien threaten the master narrative because of their gender and sexuality
"Mean Girls" sends a message of how our gender and sexuality shape our identity and allow us to either aline with the master narrative or counter narrative.

How the Film Critiques the Master Narrative...
At the homecoming dance, Cady breaks off pieces of the crown and awards them to people of all different cliques and identities which makes them realize that they all should to be treated equal no matter what gender or sexuality they choose to identify themselves as.
How the Film Critiques the Master Narrative...
At one point Cady is purposely failing calculus as a result of attempting to get Aaron to like her but when she tells Aaron that she was pretending to be bad at math, he rejects her and accuses her trying to act like someone she is not.

"I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don't have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you" - Ms. Norbery
What it Means to be a Women in America
"Unfortunately, the media and our culture is sending back to us the message that a woman's value lies in her beauty and sexuality, and not in her capacity to lead" -Miss Representation
How the Film is a Critique of the Master Narrative...
Although Cady and Regina do some nasty things to tear each other down such as switch face wash with foot cream, weight loss bars with fattening bars, name calling and backstabbing, neither of them win the boy this way. This kind of behavior only reinforces the portrayal of women as passive objects to men.
"Mean Girls" Addresses the Issue of How it is Impossible to become this "Ideal" Women.
Even though people see them as perfect, The Plastics are constantly critiquing their body. Cady, who is from Africa is new to this, "I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there's lots of things that can be wrong with your body" -Cady Heron
How the Film Critiques the Master Narrative...
"Mean Girls" addresses the issue of how it is impossible to become this "ideal" women. Women are constantly trying to become the perfect women because those who do not will become outsiders.
"Growing up female in this world is not easy. In China, baby girls are routinely put up for adoption. And in parts of Africa, women are still made to live in tents during the time of their menses." -Gretchen Weiners
In Conclusion
"Mean Girls" shows that those who fit the master narrative and those who do not should be treated and seen as equal. In addition to this, the film successfully critiques that master narrative of women through its ridiculous over-exaggeration of stereotypes of women which makes everyone, no just women, realize even though it is ridiculous some aspects of it are true.
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