Situating mean girls as post-feminist cult chick flick cum fantasy guide-to-life
Lim, Melanie Mei Hsia
Date of Issue2017
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
When "Mean Girls" was first released to the public in 2004, neither screenwriter Tina Fey nor film director Mark Waters had any idea that it would become a pop-cult phenomenon in the years to come. Part adaptation from Rosalind Wiseman’s book "Queen Bees and Wannabes", part experiences gleaned from Tina Fey’s own time in high school, "Mean Girls" is a satirical exploration of teenage cliques and the damaging ways in which girls relate to each other in high school America. Starring Hollywood starlets such as Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, the film follows the journey and assimilation of Cady, a home-schooled sixteen-year-old, into public school, coupling a revenge plot with comedic exaggeration. As Cady is ruthlessly thrust into the confusing realm of social relations and girl-on-girl politics in North Shore High, she falls in love, struggles to find footing in the school’s labyrinth of power, and loses sight of who she really is. As with all happy Hollywood endings, our protagonist eventually rights her wrongs, reconciles with her true friends and gets her dream guy. "Mean Girls" convincingly addresses the complexities of comparison, envy and bullying that can affect and harm female relationships and proposes solutions to these problems. By examining the film’s usage of satire, “the female voice” and music, as well as by exploring the intersecting themes of male passivity, the girlfriend gaze, normative femininity and high-school jungle politics, my graduation essay will situate "Mean Girls" as a Post-Feminist cult chick flick cum fantasy guide-to-life that helps assist young girls and women navigate the challenges of contemporary male and female relationships.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University