I don’t just like mean girl characters, I LOVE mean girl characters. Do you know what the funny thing is though?
I used to hate them.
I despised mean girl characters as a teenager. I hated how cruel they were to others, how immature they were, how girly they were etc.
I had a VERY strong, almost kneejerk reaction to their antics. So strong that it would make my blood boil.
I was a goody-two-shoes basically. A PROUD goody-two-shoes.
So what changed? Did my morals change? Am I now more willing to accept their cruelty and their immaturity?
I am STILL a goody-two-shoes. Always have and always will be. I still don’t like their antics, though I do chuckle at their creativity. But I treat them just like any other villain.
There are three reasons why my views towards mean girl characters changed;
- I stopped holding them against idealistic expectations.
- I stopped only valuing a female character if she displayed masculine traits.
- I was STARVED for female characters that actually produced interesting thought-nuggets enough that I opened my mind to them.
When you are starving, your standards go down
I want to elaborate on point number 3.
You see, we have had a welcome surge in female characters that are ‘strong’, ‘independent’, ‘powerful’ and ‘reliable’ in recent years.
These characters have been met with mostly welcome arms and some opposition. But more or less, there are accepted by the masses.
I too welcomed them and enjoyed happily collecting the thought-nuggets they produced as usual and continuing on with my day.
But then I just got bored. Really that is it.
I got bored of strong female characters. Because there is one thing that a lot of strong female characters don’t do as well as mean girl characters do.
Mean Girl characters make things happen. Regardless of how petty their reasons or how cruel they can be, mean girl characters are very proactive and have their own goals THAT ARE ACTUALLY THE FOCUS OF THE STORY.
- Mona Vanderwaal is a genius and master manipulator who literally invented a game that successfully tormented her targets.
- Massie Block actively maintains her position as ruler of OCD and is the leader of the pretty committee.
- Alison DeLaurentis has no actual goals. She simply wishes to be the most charismatic and attractive person in the room at all times. She is actively whimsy and just goes with the wind while everyone follows her.
Mean Girls are also leaders. By comparison, a lot of these strong female characters (not all but most), are followers of some kind, even when they are the main protagonists of their own movie.
- Hermione (though not always and she is VERY resourceful) follows Harry’s journey.
- Black Widow does not have much influence over the Avengers (In comparison to Iron Man or Captain America).
- Princess Leia is part of Luke’s journey, not her own
- Katniss Everdeen was made into a symbol of resistance by the people around her and her circumstances.
- Rey from Star Wars had a journey of her own but it was not the focus. She was part of something bigger.
But most of all, compared to strong female characters, mean girl characters are just SO MUCH FUN! They have interesting personalities that make you want to learn more about them and their motivations.