June 5, 2012

Mean Girls portrays teenage sexuality fearlessly

This has to be my most favorite post so far because it is about Mean Girls (2004), one of my all time favorite movies and one that I know the lines to. This should also be an interesting take at teenage sexuality because of the movie's colorful and humorous portrayal of the issues.

Mean Girls revolves around Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), an American girl who grew up in Africa, has been home-schooled all her life and, thus, is completely ignorant about the way an American high school works. She is thrust into the chaotic social scene and has to make a hard choice: identifying with the beautiful but mean, superficial Plastics or with the real, accepting social outcasts.

Teenage sexuality is present in many details through out the movie. For example, a scene of the Sex Ed class shows coach Carr warning students to not have sex or they would contract chlamydia and die. At the end of this irresponsible speech, he hands out condoms anyway, acknowledging that the students are having sex despite such preaching. Ironically, despite being a promoter of abstinence, coach Carr engages in a sexual relationship with an underage female student. (This has a very serious implication despite the joking way it was treated by the movie.) 

The biggest lesson from Mean Girls, however, is the fact that a student's sexuality defines his or her social placement. You may recall the infamous scene where Cady is introduced to the cafeteria. Students divide themselves in distinct groups and sit exclusively together:  "freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don't eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks."
Regina has all the boys at her finger tips
- The Plastics are the most popular girls in school because they are beautiful and have expertly use their sexuality to manipulate people. The person who excels at this is the antagonist Regina George:

- Regina takes back her ex-boyfriend Aaron just because she doesn't want Cady to have him. Aaron is hot and popular; Regina maintains a high social status as a result.
Regina makes out with Aaron in front of Cady to show her power
- She cheats on Aaron by hooking up with Shane Oman in her house and above the auditorium ... just because.
She two-times Aaron because she can
- When Janis, Damien, and Cady want to take down Regina, they secretly try to make her gain weight so that she her status will dwindle.

On the opposite side of the coin, being out of the heterosexual norm or the traditional "hot" ideal guarantees that you'll be an outcast:
Janis & Damien: being gay or lesbian makes you unpopular and weird
- Janis is considered a weird freak by the school because Regina has made up rumors about Janis being a lesbian.
- Damien is among the outcasts because he is "too gay to function."

Mean Girls is successful in giving sarcastic and poignant lessons by portraying an amusing, ruthless high school environment. Its biggest target is to tackle superficiality and instill the idea that people are much more than how they look or who they hook up with. I greatly recommend it to teens and adults alike.

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