The Social Psychology Behind Mean Girls


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Cady Heron was a girl who was homeschooled in africa by her parents. Cady Heron’s Family decides to move to the United States to the state of Illinois where she was enrolled to a public school which was her first experience going to a public school and her first day wasn’t that good. She meets this group of girls in her school called “ The Plastics” which later on she was one of them and they all became friends. Cady later on realizes how her group of new friends earned this nickname. After Cady finds out she goes head and expose “The Plastics” for what they are and ends up destroying the group. We would go deeper in this essay to explore how the movie reflects our daily lives in school and at work, where we would go to any extend to be like or be popular.

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people thoughts, feeling and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. In this movie we can see people change their behavior in honor to fit in or get along with other people or groups. For example: Karen and Gretchen don’t let Regina sit with them at the table because she was wearing sweatpants for the second day in week. If you want to sit at the table and fit in with your group you can’t break the rules, we can see this as discrimination. Regina does not invite Janice to her party because she thinks and perceives that Janice as being lesbian. This behavior of discrimination is usually negative towards people or groups, specially on the basis of sex/race, social class or religion.

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They are few social sanction in the movie, for example: When Gretchen says to Candy that you can only wear tank top once per week and you hair a certain style. The repercussion that you can see for breaking this rule is not being able to sit at the same lunch table. This can be viewed as peer pressure where you have to change your physical appearance or the way you act near people in order to please others. We can say that peer pressure can affect us in our daily lives where we can either be forced by friends, Partners, and also family members to change our appearance or to change the way that we are in order to please them. Obedience is illustrated when all the members of “The Plastics” change their appearance in order to fit in with the group, also you can see it when the group makes rules in order to manipulated each other to do what the rules says if they don’t follow the rules they will suffer the punishment for example not being able to sit together.

The theory of Instinct/evolutionary it inform us that thus we are biologically directed to go after people and things that will give us the greatest chance at survival and reproduction. In a scene of the movie we can see “The Plastics” are looking at themselves in Regina’s bedroom mirror picking out their flaws, they were saying: “My hairline is so weird, My pores are huge, My nail beds suck, I have really bad breath in the morning”. These are traits that the girls are afraid will turn boys away from them. In nature, unlike males, females are less typically less physically and physically aggressive, and depend on their looks to grab a male’s attention for reproduction. “The Plastics” are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror, worrying about their weight, and making sure they have the hottest trends in clothing.

The approach-approach to conflict is a common problem in most people’s lives that is represented through the movie. In the middle of the movie it becomes evident that Cady is being pulled into “The Plastics” yet she still wants to remain friends with Janis and Damien. “The Plastics” are appealing because they give her a socially artificial friendship who are the most popular girls in school with the best clothes and looks. But Janis and Damien were her first friends who originally explained the social layout of the school to her. Evidently, Cady chooses to approach “The Plastics” because they can give her the social status she is looking for which makes Janis and Damien feel betrayed. Now we also have Ingroup/Outgroup Bias were “The Plastics” always say “us” and the outgroup when the say “them”. This happens a lot in the movie for example the out bias is when Gretchen was explaining the rules to Cady she said that is you broke any if those rules you would have to sit with “them” mean ning the music group which were the wired ones. The ingroup we can see that “The Plastic” think they are better than everyone around them for example when Gretchen says “ is not my fault everyone loves me” we can see thats and ingroup cause she is talking about the group as “Us”.

The majority of the people who watch this movie might think you know is a casual movie to watch, really interesting but what they don’t see is that that movie has to deal with a lot of real life problems specially in schools. We see a lot of people getting bullied, discriminated,etc.. Just to fit in or to have friends. Some people are just too afraid of being themselves because they are too afraid of being judged and some of them live in lies just to fit in or for people to have a good perspective of them. We should view this movie as what it is, a wakeup call to everyone about what really happens in school, workplaces or even including our personal lives. We should all view this movie and learn to be better human beings we should stop judging and stop pressuring others to be cool and stopping them from being themself. People need to find themself what they like what they don’t like, what they want out of life, they shouldn’t be told by anyone how to act how to dress, how to live their lives they should make their own mistakes and learn from them we need to stop acting like “Mean Girls” and start acting as human beings that care for the well being of others. 

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