After our discussion about the difference between feminism and post-feminism on Thursday, I immediately thought of Mean Girls. (Most of how I come to understand things comes through the lens of Mean Girls.)
In this scene, Cady is introduced to Girl World, “and Girl World had a lot of rules.” But the most important rule is the one that Gretchen Weiners had assumed was implied:
“His name is Aaron Samuels.”
“Oh no, you can’t like Aaron Samuels. Regina dated him last year, and she was devastated when they broke up.”
“I thought she dumped him for Shane Omen.”
“Okay, irregardless, ex-boyfriends are just off limits to best friends. I mean, that’s just like the rules of feminism.”
Prior to our class discussion on Thursday, I had always assumed that most feminists would disagree with the Plastics’ rules, such as: “You can only wear jeans or track pants on Fridays” and “You can only wear your hair in a pony tail once a week.”
But are the Plastics and feminists really so different? From my understanding of feminists from our discussion on Thursday, the feminists viewpoint is that women’s actions are directly related to their past. In the example mentioned, a feminist would argue that a woman wearing a scantily-clad dress serves as evidence of the hatred of her self.
When we think of the Plastics and their role in Mean Girls, aren’t the Plastics all just insecure about what the rest of their peers think of them? They create a set of rules, a set standard to ensure that their display of the Ideal is in place. When Regina is told that she can’t sit with the rest of the table when she is wearing sweatpants (on a day that isn’t Friday! Heaven-forbid), Regina remarks, “Whatever, those rules aren’t real.” Karen’s response: “They were real that day I wore a vest.” To which Regina responds: “Because that vest was disgusting.” The Plastics can’t risk any imperfection (except on Fridays, apparently) as this would taint the notion of the Ideal they have created in their High School World. Their insecurity forms from the possibility of others doubting their confidence.
So, aren’t these strictly defined Girl World rules more like the feminist perspective? There is no notion of sameness and equality that there is in Post-Feminism.
Please feel free to clarify my understanding of feminism and post-feminism in the comments.
(Also, please comment with your favorite Mean Girls quote! And in case you were wondering, because I know you all were clearly dying to know, some of my favorite “obscure” Mean Girls quotes are the following: “But I’m not going to do that because we’ve already paid the DJ,” and “The only guy that ever calls my house is Randy from Chase Visa.”)