Today is the 10th anniversary of the movie, Mean Girls. Actually, when you read this, the anniversary will be yesterday. I’m writing my posts a day before I actually post them, so…
Alexandra Petri’s editorial celebrating Tina Fey’s film Mean Girls in this morning’s paper reads “Tuesday is Wednesday, on Wednesday we wear pink.”
Maybe it’s because it is Tuesday when I’m reading Petri, maybe it’s because I’m as clueless as Petri was in Junior High, or maybe it’s because the Mean Girl rules make as much sense as, well, as much sense as my mis-read of Petri’s editorial.
Double-take: Petri actually wrote “Today is Wednesday. On Wednesdays, we wear pink.” Okay, that makes a tinch more sense.
“One thing I don’t understand,” Loved-One said to me before watching Mean Girls. “Why do girls always say, ‘she’s so mean’? ”
Beanie, Duckie, and I said in unison, “Because girls are mean.”
My own junior high experience was about as clueless as Petri’s. Now that I think back about it, Lunch Lady said with a smile, “You must like that dress, you wear it every day,” might have been a Mean Girl that never grew up. But clueless me, took her comments at face value and replied, “I do. Mom made it for me.”
I watched two daughters and two sons traverse adolescence. Girls are mean to each other in a way boys (and maybe men) fail to comprehend. Sometimes girls never grow out of the Mean Girl phase.
Boys are in-your-face, up-front, insulting and physical with each other. Boys know where they stand, Opinions are out in the open. They will glom on to a friend’s weakness and hammer him with it. Thus nicknames like “Head,” “Lumpy,” “Mope” are affectionately hold through adulthood.
Girls are incognito. Complimenting to your face, and tittering behind manicured nails. Girls know how to undermine confidence with a group roll of the eyes. A Girl never knows quite where she stands, and where she stands can change with one wrong move.
My kids’ sixth grade teacher commented that little girls are full of confidence and pluck until they reach junior high. Little boys are just the opposite.
Perhaps it’s more important for girls to be friends. A junior high coach wisely observed:
Boys work together as a team and then become friends.
Girls must come to the playing field as friends before they can work as a team.
After watching Mean Girls, Loved-One understood. Yes, Tina Fey, you nailed it. Yes, Alexandra Petri, you are right, “The secret of Mean Girls was that it took everything seriously enough that you could tell it was ridiculous.”
It is ridiculous in the rear-view mirror. Not so much when it’s in the here and now.