In Mean Girls, Mark Waters films the journey of Cady Herring (Lindsay Lohan) searching to find her place in the social ranking of High School. Her desire to belong to the popular group puts the few friendships she has on edge. The film discusses the over desire and temptation of belonging and how it isn’t always a positive thing to achieve. One of the key scenes in the movie that relates to belonging is when Cady has made two friends who don’t rank high in social status, as Cady is going to sit at their table the popular girls speak to her.
The groupings of tables are used to specify indicate the differences between groups. In the scene before this we are introduced to the three girls in long distance shots and close ups. Dialogue is used in sync with the shots to give an overview of these girls, describing them as the stereotypical popular high school girl. This is purposely done to highlight their social ranking.
The target audience are teenagers these techniques are effective because they are able to relate with the characters and their motives. Costume is a technique used to place focus on their social ranking.
Obvious differences are shown between the popular girls and the unpopular girls by the length of their skirts, tops and brand names. Cady is asked to sit with the popular girls shots are quickly interchanged between the two groups highlighting the decision that has to be made. Surrounding the popular girls are a lot of moving dark blurred bodies, this is used to show how the girls see themselves as a hierarchy, they are unaware of their surroundings and the movement doesn’t bother them as they see themselves above it.
The girls juxtapose their background, they are brightly coloured, still and clear. In contrast Cady’s friends are moving and wearing darker clothes this is linked to the dark background of people and how her friends are just like those kids, in the back ground, not important and don’t belong. Another key scene is in the gymnasium when Cady has be completely changed because of her need to belong, her costume is different, she dresses like the popular girls, showing how she’s conformed and lost her personal sense of belonging to gain belonging in their group.
This is a tracking shot of her walking, showing the girls in the grand stand stare at her, with Cady speaking about how she feels like people are talking about her. This scene is dedicated to show her loss of belonging, she no longer has friends and she is no longer apart of the popular group, so she belongs nowhere. Costume is a very influential technique in Mean Girls, Cady’s sense of belonging is expressed through what she wears. In the beginning she’s wearing clothes covering her whole body, but by the time she’s accepted into the popular group her chest, thighs, arms, and stomach is exposed.
This contrasting proved evidence of her expression of belonging through costume. Mean Girls relates to belonging through over desire of wanting to belong to the wrong crowd but discusses teenager’s complete oblivion to the wrong group being seen as wrong if everyone sees it as popular. The head ‘Mean Girl’ Regina is actually disliked by everyone but her confidence, sass and self-importance makes her think she is a hierarchy to the rest of the school, resulting everyone to believe that as well and follow her. Although no one likes her no pupil can kill the craving to belong in her group of friends.
The need to belong eventually causes havoc in their school. In the real world teenagers go to extreme lengths to belong; and this is portrayed in Mean Girls when all the junior girls attempt to copy what Regina wears. This is successful because although their attempts their glamour is always a step below Regina’s. Shots of Regina are used to highlight her glamour by close ups immediately followed by mid shots then long shots. Peter Skrzynecki’s Postcard from his poetry anthology Migrant Chronicles can be related to the character Regina George in Mean Girls.
The result of Skrzynecki receiving a postcard is life changing and leaves him confused about why he would receive the postcard in the first place despite in the poem saying “a post card sent by a friend” but then continues to go on to speak about how it haunts him. A clever technique by Skrzynecki is his successful use of imagery ongoing through the poem. The second stanza is full of imagery that is describing the postcards features. Postcard uses personal pronouns to express how he personally felt.
The repetition of “I never knew you” and “red buses” is to continue direct the readers his confusion. The two texts can be related because the postcard has control over Skrzynecki’s emotions, and Regina has control over her peer’s emotions. Regina is treated like she’s above everyone she surrounds this is successfully shown through her body language. Her hips are always tilted when shown or her hands are on her hips when people are talking to her to show her self-importance and lack of compassion for anything they may be speaking to her about unless it involves exactly what she wants to hear.
In Mean Girls Regina’s peers can be interrupted as Skrzynecki and Regina is the postcard, this connection can be made because of the links between the results of the postcard on Skrzynecki and Regina’s effects on her peers. Mean Girls successfully delivers a controversial movie about the harsh reality of belonging. The storyline effectively discusses the disadvantages and advantages of belonging and the affects it has on you, your world and the people inside of your world. Through clever, effective and powerful film techniques the concept of belonging is identified.