Teen Films Heathers and Mean Girls

Teen Films Heathers and Mean Girls

Mean Girls the movie from 2004 is a classic, hilarious, and one of the best “girls” comedy movies of that time and maybe generation. It had a great cast with Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, who unintentionally joins the clique of the “Mean Girls” called The Plastics (Ralph, 2020). Another critical film is Heathers which maintains a status as a cult classic because it serves as a time capsule of the 1980s. It works in the setting of a white suburban Ohio town in the 1980s because there is no level of intersectionality there (Lehmann, 1989). The themes are still relevant today, but it is significantly harder to make them satirical without giving some very unfortunate implications. Several themes including popularity, bullying, relational aggression, self-discovery, and fitting in are evident in the films Mean Girls and Heathers. 

Bullying has become a topic of major concern in today’s schools and society in general. The overall power of bullies is to gain control and power over other people. Mean Girls and Heathers both portray some aspects of bullying that can be instructive in a significant way. The Mean Girl’s clip involves popularity’s intoxication and how it can be easy to play the bully victim, to flip flop which means to switch from victim to bully (Waters, 2004). Every individual is a player in the continuous cycle of being bullied and bullying. For example, when Cady yields to the conceit and triviality of “The Plastics,” the film demonstrates how easy individuals can switch from victim to bully and how intoxicating popularity can be. Heathers’ excerpt speaks to the violent retaliation of deeply disturbed victims and the arbitrary cruelty of the clique.

The theme of popularity is also evident in the two films. In Mean Girls’ popularity is tantamount to power. Since the most popular girls are “The Plastics” the author calls the “teen royalty.” This is a metaphor that captures how the students idolize the few popular groups in large public high school settings (Renner, 2019). A montage of rumors concerning Regina shows how she holds the whole school in the thrall of fascination and warship. The Plastics have revolted to Damian and Janis, even though Damian is reserving a certain fascination. Cady has realized that in “Girl World,” the main aspect of popularity is backstabbing among finds and promoting infighting which led her to conclude that the costs outweigh the benefits. The movie Heathers also shows how popularity corrupts. The “Heathers” are the most popular students consisting of three girls who have the same fashion sense and first name. The newest recruit Veronica is also popular but she disapproves of the cruel behaviors of the other girls.

Relational aggression is a type of bullying that in most cases goes unnoticed by educators and parents. Consequently, tweens and teens engaging in relational aggression are often able to control, bully and manipulate others.  Mean Girls significantly showcases the theme of relational aggression through the types of bullying used by the girls on each other including hurtful pranks, gossiping, put-downs, and name-calling (Ralph, 2020). The girls use full-out-aggressive and passive-aggressive language to manipulate their world to get what they need to be respected loved and their needs. In the film Heathers, the main character Veronica becomes tired of the other girl’s constant victimization of individuals especially after she becomes a victim. The earliest scene of the film takes place in the lunchroom setting the dynamics of “The Heathers” and their relations with the rest of the student body. The scene establishes different types of relational aggression used by the girls to victimize other students in the school. They are also depicted in this scene as cruel to every student but not openly.

Self-discovery is another major theme portrayed by characters in Mean Girls and Heathers. The film Mean Girls emphasizes individual development and proposes questions of self-discovery and trying to understand oneself (Renner, 2019). The film emphasizes these self-discoveries by capturing different groups of people and cliques that high school students label themselves as and associate with. For example, Cady is accepted by Damian and Janis who want her to engage in risky behavior of identifying herself as one of “The Plastics.” Mean Girls not only demonstrates the sense of fitting in during adolescent age but also the struggles of finding a sense of self-discovery. Eventuality Cady put her relationship with Damian and Janis, her acquaintances at school, and her parents on the line as she tried to maintain her “Plastic” identity. In Heathers, Veronica Sawyer desperately wants to fit in Ohio Highschool after meeting “the heathers.” Veronica wanted nothing more than to be like the heathers since they were extremely popular in the school (Lehmann, 1989). Veronica also self discovers herself as less since she was not liked as the Heathers and not popular.

Mean Girls is a better film since it influenced the social dynamics of teenagers. There are various other movies with similar storylines. Most of the Disney pictures are centered around this theme (good triumphs evil). This is not what makes Mean Girls special. Mean Girls is great because the moral of the story stripped society from stereotypes. It proves that individuals can be comfortable with “The Plastics” and “The Emo’s” (Ralph, 2020). The movie broke down the social barriers that are prevalent in High Schools. The status quo is that Queen B’s are beautiful with no brains, while the opposite is true for the nerds. Mean Girls proved that smart and interesting.

Gap filling is how people try to understand and construct ideas while watching a film. It illustrates how people use their imaginations to connect ideas, facts, and thoughts to interpret the film and make convenient substitutions. The film Mean Girls has a lot of gap fillings that leave the viewers to connect and understand what is happening. When Cady wanted is invited by “The Plastics” at their lunch table, there is a lot of gap filing for the viewer. Most people will start wondering if Cady will forget about her friends and join “The Plastics,” fulfill their desires, or do what her mind tells her.























Lehmann, M. (1989, March 31). Heathers. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097493/.

Ralph, S. (2020). Mean Girls. The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication, 1(1), 1-4.

Renner, M. (2019). Who Am I Really?: Questioning the Patriarchal “Girl World” to Find Identity in Mean Girls, Heathers the Musical, and Carrie: The Musical. Theses and Dissertations. 1082. Retrieved from https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/etd/1082

Waters, M. (2004, April 30). Mean Girls. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377092/.








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