The Evolution of the Mean Girl

These girls are the nastiest skank bitches you’ve ever met.

The “mean girl” archetype has been an integral part of all types of pop culture; they’re prevalent in movies like Regina George from Mean Girls; they exist in books like Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice; they rocked your TV screens like Santana Lopez from Glee; and you probably went to school with at least three of them.

But over time, these characters have evolved from scrunchie-wearing prim-and-proper princesses, to murder cover-up queen bees, to sneaky pink skirt-wearing bitches. And they’re continuing to evolve in recent years.

Today we take a look at the evolution of the mean girl, referring to the specific cases of Heather Chandler from HeathersCourtney Shayne from JawbreakerRegina George from Mean Girls, and Madison Morgan from The DUFF.

Notable mentions: Shelby Cummings from A Cinderella Story, Heather Montgomery from John Tucker Must Die, Veronica from Sierra Burgess is a Loser,

Mean Girls chilling in the fr-fr-fr-fr-fr-fr-fr (Photo taken from Juanjo Cristiani’s Flickr photostream)

Probably the first notorious mean girl in cinematic history, Heather Chandler ruled her group with an iron fist and a bright red scrunchie. While fashion and trends were different back in 1989, Heather Chandler’s style still had a very sophisticated look about it: with a plaid blazer, pleated skirt, high-collared button up shirt and brooch, this gave the vibe of wealth and class, even though you knew that Heather got up to no good despite the public image she portrayed. Heather was probably one of the first examples of the mean girl stereotype of being extremely wealthy. I mean, only rich people would play croquet in their backyard, right?

Furthermore to this, it would make sense that after Veronica accidentally vomited on her, Heather’s ultimate threat was to ruin her reputation because she was so concerned about her own. This would start the trend of mean girls being in control; they knew they had a certain public image to portray to the world, and they would do anything to keep it. And apparently, anything to break someone else’s if they dare cross them.

Fast forward ten years later and we were introduced to the needlessly cruel Courtney Shayne from Jawbreaker. While mainstream media often portrays the Queen Bee of the mean girls as blonde, Courtney ruled with terror with her signature dark hair. While Courtney’s style could be compared to that of Heather Chandler – with the innocent looking cardigan and signature colour of red – Courtney had a more sexy twist to it, with her dresses being more form fitting and low cut.

If Heather was conscious of her public image, then Courtney was deadly in control of hers. Never one to show any emotion or break down at the slightest hint of a threat to her image (well, until the very last scene of the movie at least), Courtney always kept her calm and poise even when faced with hurled insults from Fern Mayo or Julie Freeman; she even ends up trumping them. Her being in control was even referenced by Marcie Fox; something that would be apparent by the fact that Courtney didn’t eat in front of others because that would mean that she shits like normal people. Courtney always got the last laugh (again, minus the ending), and if that doesn’t go to show you how in control this mean girl was, I don’t know what will.

Five years later and we were greeted with the scum-sucking roadwhore known as Regina George. If Courtney took Heather’s proper and trendy look and sexualised it, then Regina took Courtney’s look and sexualised it even more. The skirts and dresses were shorter, and the use of her feminine wiles was very apparent in seducing Aaron Samuels just because she could.

What made Regina stand out – besides her iconic outfits and quotes – was just how manipulative she was. While Heather was more naive and Courtney was more malicious, Regina knew how to play the game; like the film suggests in girl world, Regina did all of her fighting sneakily: she was nice to your face and mean behind your back; she knew how to get at Cady by snagging Aaron just to pretend like it wasn’t her fault the day after; and of course, she was the instigator behind the breakdown of all the junior girls. Plus, if you can make your parents swap bedrooms with you, then you must be doing something right.

A somewhat interesting choice for this article comes in the form of Madison Morgan. While she hasn’t necessarily made the impact that the former three Queen Bees have, Madison represents the contemporary mean girl. Heather, Courtney and Regina showed their style in predominantly skirts, dresses and other typically girlie attire; Madison ushered in a more edgier look for the mean girl with leather jackets and jeans.

Madison had traits of some of the aforementioned mean girls – extremely pretty, glamorous, manipulative; just to name a few – but what stood out to me about Madison was how territorial she was. She didn’t particularly care about Wesley, until he started spending time with Bianca, and then all of a sudden he was her entire world and no one could touch him. She even went as far as to post a humiliating video online of Bianca to ensure that her property was hers.

Mean girls come in all different forms, ranging from the pink wearing princess, to the vivacious cheerleader, to the straight up bitch. But it’s important to remember that under their tough exteriors is an insecure girl crying for help to those around her.

Just kidding. They’re just bitches.

– by The Black Widow

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