The sensational hit, Mean Girls a movie based on teenage life and the troubles they face on a day to day basis. The movie shows sociological aspects of socialization, different cultures, stereotype, and social stratification. In a attempt to further explain myself I will go thru scenes which will describe the above sociological aspects thru out the films, and I will further explain how they come into play. Highschool is a very hard time for a teenager as they try to find their way in this world and where they belong.
Cady ( Lindsay Lohans character) moves to a new high school after spending time in Africa. Here is where we begin our analysis.
For instance, Cady enters this new school she quickly comes to find out that her life in Africa, her norms, and her culture are very different than that of the American teenage girl. She comes in contact with the popular group the plastics. The plastics is the group of girls in high school that run everything in school.
Girls look to them for the newest trends, and what is popular. This power has been given to plastics as in control, because all the girls look to be them their popularity and their looks makes them the envy of the school and the group to follow. As Cady quickly comes to learn the norms she is used to in her culture wont do in these school grounds. The plastics dress different than Cady does not partake in normal American teenage girl routines such as make up and the clothes they wear are very different than those she is used to.
Not to mention you see symbolism of how Cady keeps referencing how things would be in the wild in Africa, how conflict would be resolved.
Cady establishes socialization as she learns the new norms of the plastics in order to fit in. She learns the norms of this new group, their rules as to what they must wear on what days, and how to interact and dress for Halloween. As we see in this scene Cady is invited to a Halloween party, the only thing she remembers about it is that it is a day when you dress up to scare people. As Cady comes to know she was wrong in the words quoted by Cady Halloween is the one day of the year a girl dresses very provocative. Now Cady shows up a scary zombie, but when she sees that these are not the norms of a American Teenage girl, she goes on to learn how to dress. The next time Cady throws a party , and is dressed in more provocative clothing. Then she continues to drink and join in the teenage fun as she came to learn from the plastics.
The film faces a lot of stereotyping, as mentioned before when Cady meets the plastics she is well aware that she is not in Africa anymore, but Gretchen (one of the plastics) when Cady goes on to tell her that she came form Africa Gretchen goes on to say if you are from Africa why arent you black. Therefore stereotyping the fact that all people who come from Africa are supposed to be black. You also a perfect example of stereotyping when cliques at the schools are all seated according to which group they belong too. You have the nerds with he nerds, the jocks, the Asian descend people, and the plastics all at their tables if you dont belong there you were not able to sit with them.
Thru out the whole film you have various examples of social stratification, a group sits with its own during lunch, but the biggest comes from how the Plastics gain their power. The plastics are set to be high class , Regina has her power because out of all the three girls, she has the nicest car, the nicest house, and the nicest room. Gretchen has her rich parent where she even tries to use her power of wealth to get her out of trouble once the burn book comes to light. Gretchen states I dont thing my father the inventor of the toaster strudel, would be too happy to here about this. The two girls are the wealthiest out of the group there fore they sit together. That is how their power is determined, and Regina being that she has the upper hand on Gretchen because of her lavish house, and car and her looks she is the leader of them.
Although the film is very popular and a hit, it can send the wrong message to teenagers or any one who watches the film, because of the meaning it gives. It is stating that being pretty and getting boys count more, and those with power are the ones who run everything. It gives younger generations the wrong message that in order to be liked and have power you must display wealth and be pretty. Rather than the knowledge you have, and that people form different cultural backgrounds are not equal to one person, because their life practices are not with societies norms.
Waters, Mark. Michaels, Lorne. April 30,2004. Mean Girls. M.G Films. Paramount Pictures.