“Mean Girls” is arguable one of the most quoted and watched movies of the 2000’s and today, but for what reason? You don’t even have to watch the movie to know that, “On Wednesdays we wear pink.” Inspired by Rosalind Wiseman’s “Queen Bee’s & Wannabes,” “Mean Girls” is a twist on the hero’s journey that follows the protagonist Cady Heron through average American high school, and puts an extra emphasis on her battles with the popular mean girls, the plastics.
The movie paints an idyllic picture of how the average teenage girl should handle bullies. However, since the movie’s premier in 2004 what it means to be a mean girl has changed with the birth of cyberbullying. StopBullying.Gov defines cyberbullying as bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and communication tools including social media sites, chats, and websites.
If “Mean Girls” was filmed today there would be no burn book, just Facebook. The birth of social media has allowed today’s mean girls to hide behind anonymous user names and write hurtful and cruel things to other people via the internet. Social media can be anything that is a venue for participatory social interaction via the web, such as commenting. While social media has been a mostly beneficial development in allowing people to communicate even when they are alone or long distances from friends and family, cyberbullying is one of its hazardous dangers.
A recently released documentary on Netflix, “Audrie & Daisy”, displays the effects of these dangers. Both girls were victims of cyberbullying, but only one girl is alive to tell her story and help others. The increased rates of suicide amongst teenagers can be directly correlated to the increased development of cyberbullying. In “Mean Girls” Cady could go home and escape the cruelties of the plastics for the day, but now bullies can follow their victims home through the internet.
The point of this blog post is to show that while “Mean Girls” is cinematic gold, it just isn’t relatable to the real high school experience anymore. But there are actions that can be taken to help put a stop to cyberbullying. Simple steps like making your accounts private, and only adding people you know is an action anyone can take. Also, not being a bystander and either alerting someone when you see harmful actions being taken online, or standing up to the online bully are other great steps that can be taken to end cyberbullying.