The first time I saw Mean Girls, I identified so much with Cady Heron. Played by Lindsay Lohan, Cady was a fish out of water, desperate to make friends at a new school and just fit in however she could, and that feeling of alienation, of being an outsider, definitely spoke to me as a young teenager. However, as time went on, and I watched the movie again and again, I realized that I wasn't like Cady at all. More importantly, I didn't want to be, because as I began to realize, Cady from Mean Girls was actually the worst.
Not only is Cady the most boring character in Mean Girls (let's face it, while we quote Gretchen, and Damian, and Karen, we never quote Cady), she's also just not a great person. And, yes, I know she grows over the course of the film, and that's the point, but that doesn't totally excuse her general awfulness. Out of all the Mean Girls characters, Cady might be the most relatable, but just because she's relatable doesn't mean she's actually good. Don't get me wrong, I don't particularly want to be Regina or Janice either, but at least they embrace who they are. Cady, meanwhile, is just kinda the worst, and here's why.
1) She Has No Agency
Cady has no reasoning for being so cruel to her "friends." She's not someone who's spent years being abused by Mean Girls Karen, Regina, and Gretchen; she's just a new girl who allows herself to be manipulated by her "new friend" Janice. Her actions getting back at the Mean Girls might seem like every girl's dream, but she doesn't actually have a personal stake in her war against them, which makes every prank she pulls and every act of sabotage she stages feel hollow as opposed to powerful.
2) She Dumbs Herself Down For A Boy
When Cady develops a crush on Aaron Samuels (who also happens to be her fake BFF's ex-boyfriend/current boyfriend), she decides the best way to talk to him is to bomb her calculus tests so that she can ask him to tutor her, even though he's horrible at math. Cady's actions aren't depicted as things you should try at home, and yes, she learns from her errors, but still, it's not a good look.
3) She Betrays Her Friends
Looking back at Mean Girls, it's hard to judge Cady for betraying literally every single one of her friends considering the fact that she doesn't really have time to develop real relationships with them in the first place. Still, it's also really hard to feel for Cady when she doesn't seem to be loyal or sympathetic to anyone around her.
4) She Makes Big Assumptions
Right after Ms. Norbury mistakenly welcomes an African American student as their new student from Africa, Cady basically does the exact same thing in the school cafeteria. It's a bit of an unsettling moment when she approaches a group of black students seemingly expecting them to recognize her as a fellow African.
5) She's Self-Centered To The Max
Cady is probably one of the most self-centered characters in the movie, even as she begins to be a better person. For so much of the film, she seems completely unaware of the feelings of those around her, and that's because she's entirely consumed with what she's doing and feeling at all times.
6) She Accuses A Teacher Of Being A Drug Dealer
I know that she wrote her allegations in the Burn Book which was not meant for public consumption, but still, Ms. Norbury could have lost her job because of those lies.
7) She's A Total Blank Slate
Being a blank slate isn't a crime, nor is it inherently bad, but Cady's lack of personality is not exactly a positive thing, either. It's honestly amazing that she survived the movie, given how little she seems to know about how to relate to others or, really, to have her own thoughts and opinions at all. Just thinking about it, I'm bored.
Cady Heron might not be the worst person in the world, but in the land of Mean Girls, she's pretty damn bad.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (7)