Everything 'Mean Girls' Got Wrong About High School from Hairstyles to Halloween Costumes
Watching Mean Girls gave me a new lease on life. Ten years ago — wow, it was really a whole decade ago! — one of the most iconic teen movies our time was released. I was convinced that Tina Fey taught me everything about everything. Aside from believing that Lindsay Lohan was poised to be America's sweetheart, I had a plethora of genius one-liners at my disposal for when I entered high school. I really thought that I was ready for anything. I felt like watching that movie gave me some sort of insider information about teenage life. Then I actually went to high school and realized that I had never been more wrong. High school was not that eventful. It did not have nearly as many pop culture references as I desired. My repetitive viewing of Mean Girls coupled with my many years of watching teen soaps on the CW had lead me astray. Without a doubt, it is one of my absolute favorite movies, but I have to admit that it was an idealized version of what I wanted high school to be. Although the movie is perfect in every way, there are just so many things Mean Girls got wrong about high school life.
It Is Easy to Transition into Public School
It is not at all realistic for Cady Heron to go from being a "home-schooled jungle freak" to climbing the social ladder into popularity, to being hated by everyone, only to end up being crowned Spring Fling queen. In real life, no one would have noticed her, minus the red hair. Social climbing is just not that easy.
Girls Wear Heels to Class
Most high schools have dress codes that would have prevented this, but even in the ones that don't, this does not happen. No one actually feels the need to be that glamorous going to eight classes a day. No one.
You Can Figure Out the Answer to the Hardest Math Question Without Studying
The "limit does not exist" when you actually study and do your work. You cannot just purposely fail quizzes to impress a boy, not pay attention in class, and solve math equations without even trying. It does not matter how smart you are, you still need to crack open a book once in a while.
Girls Only Wear Their Hair in a Ponytail Once a Week
In real high school, you're lucky if you can get a brush through your hair and be in homeroom by 7:30 a.m. It's more realistic to say that a high school girl's hair only looks good once a week. On top of that, it makes sense to look like a troll during the school week, then when you actually go out on the weekends you have more of a perceived transformation into hotness.
Ex-boyfriends Are Just Off Limits
This should be true, but it is far from it. In high school you hang out with the same people all the time, so it is very rare to branch outside of your clique for a friend, let alone a love interest. So yes, someone you know is probably going to end up dating your high school ex. It's so not okay, but it is probably going to happen.
The Students Run the School
Don't get me wrong, the popular students or those involved in student government wield a little bit of power, but by no means, do they have the access to hook up in the projection room above the auditorium. They are not intimidating the principal with forged pages in a "Burn Book." They are not accusing their teachers of falsely selling drugs and getting away with it. Teachers and administrators run the school. Students run the cliques, of course, but Regina George wouldn't have stood a chance against my high school principal. No way.
It's Hard to Get a Catchphrase Going
There's no way that "fetch" wasn't going to happen. There are new words, abbreviations, hashtags, and acronyms all the time. From bae to #tbt, it is so easy to start slang and make it popular. If you are a tiny bit funny and talk enough, people will catch on. It's very easy to change the teenage vernacular.
No One Is Going to Talk About You for Dressing like a "Slut" on Halloween
You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. No matter what you wear, people are going to comment on it. You are either too boring or take things too far. High school is a fashion show full of critics and Halloween is no exception. If people want to talk about you, they will find something to say. Sad, but true.
Mean Girls Is an Accurate Depiction of High School
Well, obviously this is not true for all the reasons listed above, but this movie is iconic and there is a lot to take away from it. Cliques will exist and drama is bound to happen, but it's high school and it is a learning experience for everyone. As long as you try to grow and learn you're going to be okay. Even if you're not a member of The Plastics, you will be just fine.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy.com (9)