Mean Girls is one of the funniest and most quotable movies ever. We mean it was written by comedy queen Tina Fey! But there are actually a lot of things that we can learn from it, no matter how many times we watch it. Learning lessons was actually the point: the movie is based on the self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes, which is all about dealing with high school and super hostile cliques. All of the characters, especially protagonist Cady, learn a lot by the end of the movie. It ends up making all of their lives so much better. We could all remember to take a cue from the movie Mean Girls, whether we're in school and dealing with nasty classmates or out of school and dealing with nasty co-workers! Below are some of the most important lessons Mean Girls taught us to help us survive high school... and life!
15 Don’t Care What Others Think
When nerdy classmate Kevin and Cady’s math teacher Ms. Norbury suggest that Lindsay Lohan's character Cady join the Mathletes, a team that competes against other schools, she's super flattered and intrigued. She loves Math, after all. But as the popular and super evil clique, the Plastics point out to her, joining this team would definitely be “social suicide.” Even her non-Plastics friends, Janice and Damien, repeat this phrase to her. Apparently being a part of the Mathletes is lower than the lowest rung on the social ladder. Cady observes the way Kevin and his friends are treated and opts out of joining the Mathletes. At the end of the movie, when Cady’s popularity is destroyed, she takes the opportunity from Ms. Norbury to earn extra credit by competing with the Mathletes... and she loves it! She was missing out on a really fun hobby just because she was so worried about what other people think.
14 Calling A Girl Fat Doesn't Make You Skinny
At the climax of the film, as Cady assesses her fellow female competition, she quickly notices all the things wrong with her appearance. She “seriously needed to pluck her eyebrows” and “her outfit looked like it was picked out by a blind Sunday school teacher” and “she had some 99 cent lip gloss on her snaggletooth.” But then it hits her: saying all these things about her competition wasn’t going to stop the girl from beating her in the Math competition. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter, and calling someone fat doesn’t make you any skinnier. This was an important realization for Cady to have, and something we should all keep in mind, too. Insulting others will not make us prettier. If anything, it will make us uglier. Judgment changes nothing about the outcome. It wasn’t the competitors’ appearance that helped Cady to win, it was Cady’s own intelligence.
13 Grown-Ups Want To Help
The grown-ups in question are, of course, Cady's teachers and parents. Ms. Norbury sees Cady performing pretty badly in Math and automatically knows what’s happening. She tells Cady that faking dumb isn't worth it because she knows Cady can do better. She’s actually seen her do better, and Ms. Norbury wants to “push” her back there. "I’m a pusher,” she says, in a super hilarious and sweet scene. Cady's parents know something is up so they end up grounding her. Cady eventually learns that maybe her parents and teachers had a point. It’s important to remember no one is out to get you, just like no authority figure in Cady’s life was out to get her after all. Before you accuse someone of being totally unfair, try analyzing the situation from the other side’s perspective. You might just find they do know what they are talking about, despite what you initially thought.
12 Revenge Is Not The Best Idea
Revenge didn’t make Cady feel any better. It didn’t make Janice feel better either, and it was her idea to infiltrate the Plastics. Okay, so maybe some of their revenge ideas didn’t work out in the first place... like giving Regina George foot cream for her face and merely making her smell like peppermint, or starting a new trend where you cut holes in your shirt so your bra is visible. But Cady and Janice really did do some things that hurt Regina, like take her boyfriend and her friends. Elaborate pranks aren't the way to go when you're having issues with someone else. Cady should have either a) tried to talk it out with Regina b) tell an authority figure her concerns about bullying, or c) Let. It. Go! It’s hard being the bigger person sometimes, but it ultimately pays off, and that's a lesson we can all learn.
11 We Shouldn't Name Call
“We’ve got to stop calling each other s!u+s and wh0*e$!” Ms. Norbury tells an auditorium of girls sitting begrudgingly on the bleachers. “That just makes it okay for guys to call us s!u+s and wh0*e$.” We definitely think this is one of the most powerful moments in the movie. These words are definitely not okay to use under any circumstances, and after Regina George copies and spreads the Burn Book, it triggers a full-out girl fight in the hallways. Ms. Norbury points out that if us girls call each other names, guys feel that they have the go-ahead to call us the same names. It’s offensive and super hurtful. Maybe a girl stole your boyfriend. You can be mad at the girl, but the real issue is with your boyfriend. Don’t use hateful language to express your anger. We can learn this at absolutely any age.
10 Don't Play Dumb
Cady believes that in order to get her crush, Aaron Samuels, to like her, she must act dumb so he can tutor her. But of course, in reality, Math is Cady’s best subject, and she’s miles ahead of Aaron in that sense. Ms. Norbury catches on quickly and tries to convince her not to play dumb for a guy, but Cady thinks she's being ridiculous and keeps on going. Well, it turns out Ms. Norbury knows a lot. Aaron likes that Cady is a “nerd” and feels that playing dumb is “stupid.” Not to mention her parents had to sign a test for her when they found out she was failing math, and she ended up grounded. Cady should’ve stayed true to who she is: someone who loves math. Yes, even calculus. “It’s the same in every language,” she explains to Janie and Damien. This girl has a passion for numbers, and she should have never let that go. It's totally okay to prove to the world how smart we really are.
9 Cliques Are The Worst
Freshman. ROTC guys. Preps. JV jocks. Asian nerds. Cool Asians. Unfriendly black hotties. Varsity jocks. Desperate wannabees. Burnouts. Sexually active band geeks. Girls who eat their feelings. Girls who don’t eat anything. Are we the only ones who see a problem with all these labels? If you separate yourselves into different cliques, you are missing out on friendships that could be made with people different from you. For instance, the Plastics are exclusive: there are only three (and at one point four) of them. They have no other friends at the beginning of the movie, and Cady has nowhere to sit at lunch. After some failed attempts at finding a place to sit on the first day of school, she resorts to eating in a bathroom stall! All because she wasn’t a part of a clique. Try your best to not only include the new kid but kids that might not fit into your “circle” as well. You may end up making a life-long friend.
8 Parties Can Get Crazy
Cady plans to have a “get together" or a gathering of sorts… so she makes enough cheese and crackers for eight people. Unfortunately for her, this is not how “gatherings” work in high school. Cady ends up with her parent’s belongings being tossed about and people she doesn’t even know flood her home. Having a few friends over has become a full-blown house party and Cady has no control over the situation. She even finds people making out in her bedroom! Word travels fast, and a get-together can quickly turn into a party if you're not super careful. Tell only an exclusive, trustworthy amount of people if planning to have a little soiree. Otherwise, things can go crazy in a matter of minutes. Cady was completely unprepared for what was to come, and her parents caught on when a fertility vase of the Ndebele tribe was under the sink after Cady hid it when she saw it being tossed around. Not to mention Janice and Damien, the true blue friends that she lied to, easily found out.
7 Your High School Friends Won't Be Friends Forever
Poor Janice Ian. She was absolutely betrayed by her “best friend” when she spread rumors about her and made every sign a petition that she was a lesbian who everyone hated. What a snake! Unfortunately, you are going to encounter a lot of snakes in life, and your “friend” cannot move on with you onto the next chapter of your life. Sometimes you just have to leave them behind. And when you do, move on. Don’t let it phase you. Walk past them with your head held high. But don’t keep your guard up with everyone, either. Friendships can be complicated, but there are some great people out there who you can lean on and who’ve got your back. And if a friend majorly screws up like Cady did to Janice, it’s best to forgive them. Don’t hold onto it... and not even for their sake, but for yours.
6 The Homecoming Queen Crown Is Plastic
We often place value on things that don’t even matter. Even if we're way past high school, we still measure our worth by who got the promotion or who has the best handbag. It’s just not worth it! As Cady points out to the entire school dance, the homecoming queen crown that she won was just… plastic. She literally can break it into pieces and share it with everyone, which is what we should all do: root for each other, and share in each other’s victories. Cady was able to show the school that what was truly important wasn’t the number of votes she got, but the fun they could all have at the dance! She pointed out the beauty in others, even those that got made fun of a lot. We should all try and do the same. We're all beautiful, and we don't need a crown or anything else to prove that.
5 Be A Good Friend
Although they aren't perfect the whole time, Janice and Damien really do care about Cady. They take her under their wing right away when they see her struggling as the new girl, giving her tips and advice on how to survive the jungle that is high school. While their revenge plot against the Plastics is at first about Janice, she quickly makes it about Cady when she sees how badly Regina treated her. Janice and Damien are upset on Cady’s behalf. That’s why it hurts so much when Cady lied to Janice and ditches her art show to throw a party. Janice considered Cady one of her best friend and even included her in her award-winning painting. Of course, when Janice forgives Cady, she proves she's an amazing, true friend. She knew Cady’s true self, and she knew that deep down, she was still a good friend.
4 Don’t Kiss Someone Else's Boyfriend
Okay, so maybe Regina George wasn’t actually a good girlfriend. After all, she was cheating on Aaron with Shane Oman! But instead of telling Aaron as a friend, Cady decides to try and seduce him. Bad move. Aaron doesn't want to be with Cady like she thought he would. Instead, he's super sad about his failed relationship with Regina and pissed that no one had just told him. But despite the factors at play here (Regina’s cheating, Cady’s crush, the revenge plot), kissing someone else’s boyfriend is just not okay! Not to mention, if Aaron had given in to Cady’s advances and decided to be with her, who’s to say he wouldn’t give in to someone else who needed Math tutoring? There are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t go after one that’s already caught. It’s just not nice. Although Cady and Aaron eventually have their happy ending, it's at the expense of anyone else’s feelings.
3 Don’t Drink Too Much
With the stress of her unexpected house party and knowing she's going to encounter her crush, Cady decides she needs some liquid courage. This results in some super embarrassing moments. First, she confesses to Aaron she’s been lying to him about not being good at Math. Then, she accidentally calls him stupid. And finally, the worst of the worst, she pukes on him. Not good. It's so easy to drink too much and you definitely shouldn’t be drinking at sixteen while trying to talk to your crush. You don’t need alcohol to be brave. Perhaps if Cady had spoken to him sober, things would have gone a lot differently. But she didn’t, and all that came of it was covering the object of her affection in her vomit. This applies to legal gals too. Know your limits and don’t be a mess! You’ll definitely regret it.
2 Don’t Let Popularity Go To Your Head
This is definitely one of our main takeaways from the movie. Cady was a really cool girl, not because she turned heads or dressed a certain way, but because she was kind. She was also from Africa, which was pretty intriguing. Cady made friends fast, but they weren’t the “right” friends. Janice and Damien were weird, so she ditched them. The Plastics turned her into a mini-Regina where she was lying, gossiping, and just generally being a jerk. She even wrote in the Burn Book, a book where everyone in the whole school is made fun of. Fortunately for Cady, her ego is quelled after being blamed for the book, and she begins to see who she’s truly become: someone who is not the girl her parents raised in Africa. She quickly comes back to her old self and becomes truly happy when she does.
1 Stay True To Your Weird Friends And Your Weird Self
At the beginning of Mean Girls, Janice is putting bologna on Damien's face. At the end of the movie, well, they're probably about to do the same thing! That's what's so awesome about these two friends: they stay true to themselves no matter what. Everyone eventually finds their true self by the end of the story when they rise above the typical high school crap and stop pertaining. Cady loves Math again, and Regina finds out she's a natural at playing lacrosse. Janice is even dating a Mathlete. This is the way it should have been the entire time! Cady says, "School used to be like a shark tank. But now I can just float." Wherever you are, whatever your environment, don't be a shark. Be like Cady and float around. Be friendly. Talk to someone different from you. Even if others don't follow your lead, you'll be happy knowing you're doing the right thing. And that's why we love Mean Girls so much! We think this calls for another viewing.