What Is A “DUFF”? ‘The DUFF’ Movie Explains That It’s Not Really About How You Look

When you saw the trailer for The DUFF , your initial reaction was probably something along the lines of, "What the hell? Mae Whitman is not fat or ugly — what's the deal?" And you're 100 percent correct. So what is a "DUFF," exactly? It's not about being the "Designated Ugly Fat Friend" like the acronym would suggest. Instead, it's about comparing yourself to other people around you, especially in your own friend group. In the film, after Bianca (Mae Whitman) tosses a drink on Wesley (Robbie Amell) for dubbing her a "DUFF," he takes some time to explain what he means. One of his examples is pointing out a pretty blonde at the party as a "DUFF," which Bianca is astounded at because the girl is gorgeous. But compared to her group of friends who all look like models, he explains, she feels like the ugly duck. Everyone is always going to feel like someone has sexier legs or prettier eyes or better hair than them, but you're the one making yourself the "DUFF" — your friends shouldn't see you that way if they're true pals.

This doesn't just apply to women, either. From macho jocks like Wesley to their teacher Mr. Arthur (Ken Jeong) to a group of self-proclaimed band geeks, there's a "DUFF" in every group. It's not because all of their friends make fun of them behind their backs in those cases, but about the way they perceive themselves. Sure, you may not be the most muscular guy on the football team or you may have hit puberty a little late, but that doesn't mean you should be any less happy with yourself. Everyone is unique, and what makes you so special is not being like everyone else. It may sound cheesy, but it's a good mantra to live by — and one that The DUFF definitely supports.

Without giving the entire movie away, the main idea of the "DUFF" title is about perception and not the actual words behind it. If you compare yourself to others and see yourself as uglier or fatter or anything less than them, you're making yourself one. If you're confident in yourself, inside and out, you can rise above the idea and just be your best self. Even mean girls like Madison (Bella Thorne) can't tear you down if you're happy in your own skin, and they're probably just doing it because they secretly feel like a "DUFF," too. The lesson here is you do you and quit worrying about the rest of the world. And if anyone ever calls you a "DUFF"? Do exactly what Bianca does: toss a drink in his or her face, like a boss.

Images: CBS Films (1); Giphy (2)