Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Industry & Institution

•Director: Mark Waters

•Production Company: Paramount Pictures, MG Films and Broadway Video.

•These companies have ideologies of wealth and popularity, which bring the connotations of an expensive set, extravagant costumes, and the attraction of big names in the acting industry.

•The preferred meaning is that of wealth and the creation of popular films having made films such as Cloverfield, Iron Man, Dream Girls and Transformers.


•Political: •Historical: The girls in the film are seen as promiscuous, objects of the male gaze, flirtatious and independent. These characteristics are extremely different from girls fifty years prior who were more reserved, and conformed to the conventions of society more and learned how grow up to be a model woman.

•Social:  the film reinforces the hegemonic ideology  at the moment which wants women to be independent, but also subverts it as it conveys promiscuity and underage sex and drinking which in turn creates moral panics. There seems to be no aspirations for these teenagers who live in a completely materialistic world where appearance and popularity seem key to having a good life or more so getting somewhere in life.

•Economic:  Money has affected the representations of the teenagers within the film as it has enabled them to wear fashionable and expensive clothing to reinforce the most important aspect in their lives; and allows the film production to look of the highest quality in costumes, and setting such as the Halloween house party where the outfits worn were extravagant.  This applies to the production as famous actors and actresses are used such as Lindsey Lohan, Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams (known from her role in ‘The Notebook’).

•Technological:  The film does not use any viral marketing campaigns as these were invented after the making of this film however, it does have its own website to promote itself. No special effects are used in the film either but I put this down to the fact it is a ‘chick flick’ and being of a comedy/drama genre.  The film was advertised mostly through the traditional media platform, Broadcast before E-Media really kicked off.


•Levi Strauss: Binary Oppositions – Cady Heron, starts out at the typical home-schooled nerd compared with Regina George who is the popular, flirtatious idol and member of ‘The Plastics’

•Tessa Perkins: Stereotypes – Not all stereotypes are negative or false. Gretchen Weiners, is one of ‘The Plastics’ who comes across as shallow however, she shows she does have an emotional side after being treated badly by Regina.

•Barthes: Enigma Codes –  Will Regina admit to writing the burn book? Will Cady get Aaron Samuels? Did Cady push Regina in front of the bus?

•Implicit Personality Theory:  We see Regina George for the first time as a blonde with tight clothes, being admired and looking full of herself. We then fill in the gaps of her being a backstabber, all about getting boys, a dumb blonde, shallow and vain.

•Uses and Gratifications:  Entertainment – as the film is a comedy. Information – the audience get an insight into the workings of the female mind, especially of popular girls. Also this film is easily relatable for many girls who may have been through or are going through some of the issues raised such as bullying and this is a way for them to see how they can deal with it.

•Hypodermic Needle Theory:  The audience are led to believe that people who are different are socially out casted and should not be treat with respect. E.g. Janice Ian and Damien.


•The film’s narrative is about a group of 5 girls called ‘The Plastics’ who we follow and watch them in their daily lives usually centred around school and parties. We see a girls quest to fit in with the popular group after been homeschooled all of her life and the difficulties she faces in terms of friendships and relationships along the way.


The genre is a teen comedy/drama.  The camera shots used, focus in on close ups of the characters so that the audience can empathise with them at times and so we feel we are a part of their bitchy antics as though we are stood in a group with them and are their friends.  Long shots are also frequently used to show the girls bodies to make the audience aware of their provocative clothing and the heir they give off to the people surrounding them. E.g. when Regina gets wholes cut into her top which reveals her bra, we see all the other students in the corridor watching her in awe and wanting to be like her. They are extremely influential. The NVC used is flirtatious and also in scenes where one of the girls is backstabbing, we see close ups of dirty looks to the evil character to show what they are feeling.  It helps us to reinforce the Implicit Personality Theory as we judge each character by what we see through NVC without necessarily knowing the character first. E.g. the first time we see Regina George on the school field. The colours used are very bright and distinctive and pink features a lot on the main girls. However, colour is used to place people in their social groups such as the Goths are all dressed in black and ‘The Plastics are always found to be wearing bold, outgoing colours to reflect their personalities.

•The film uses many enigma codes to drive the narrative forward such as, will Cady get Aaron? Why do Regina and Janice hate each other? Does Cady push Regina in front of the bus? •Binary oppositions are used to reinforce the representations of the different characters such as the popular ‘Plastics’ in comparison to the ‘Asian Nerds’ or the ‘Art Freaks’. •The film has a linear structure although it has a flashback at one part in the film to when Cady was young and lived in Africa.  The film spans over a few months. •The genre is a hybrid of comedy and drama due to its use of wit and jokes throughout the film. However, it does bear a moral message that materialism is not a good thing  and being popular is not the most important thing in life.


•‘The Plastics’ are represented as flirty, outgoing, sociable, shallow girls who want to look good for the boys and be the best. They are stereotypes of bitchy girls who will do anything they can for popularity even at the expense of losing their best friends. However, it could be argued that some of the stereotypes such as Regina George are subverted throughout the film or could be said to be a hybrid representation from the start as we see her changed personality at the end as she gives up her post as the most popular girl in school. Cady Heron is a countertype as she comes across at first as the geeky, homeschooled girl but in fact turns out to be self obsessed, backstabbing and interested in getting a boy and being popular. She could also be seen as a hybrid representation as she is both popular and intelligent. •We see the stereotype of the dumb blonde, the good looking jocks, and the ring leader.


•The film can be said to reach a predominantly female audience from the age of 13 to approximately late teens because of the issues raised and the events that take place which would be familiar to a person of that age as it is set in a high school.  The film would appeal to people who are particularly interested in fashion and socialising. •The necessary ‘Uses and Gratifications’ are entertainment as the film is a comedy, the easily relatable characters whom the audience may know someone similar and so feel familiar with the setting and events, the familiarity of lifestyle, and possibly information to get an insight to the lives of today’s teenagers. The film may also be used to help people who have been in similar situations or are facing the same problems and see it as a way to help them know what to do.


One Response to Mean Girls

  1. Nicole says:

    Love mean girls!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s