Calling all Mean Girls out there: it’s ‘October 3rd’ today.
There are only two things to do: wear pink and rewatch one of the smartest teen dramas of the last two decades.
If you don’t know what that all means, you have probably been living under a rock since 2004.
‘October 3rd’ is Mean Girls Day. We’re talking about the cult movie by screenwriter and comedy goddess Tina Fey, starring Lindsay Lohan.
An adaptation of the self-help book Queen Bees And Wannabes, the movie revolves around Cady, a teenager who has just got back to the US after having spent her whole life in the jungle with her parents, two zoologists.
New girl Cady is smart, but is she ready to navigate the figurative yet equally insidious jungle that high school can be? Most certainly not. But again, who is?
Why do we celebrate Mean Girls Day on ‘October 3rd’
On ‘October 3rd’ Aaron Samuels asks Cady which day it is.
Four words and Cady’s POV suddenly turns into the real-life equivalent of an Instagram story’s superzoom, the one spreading purple hearts all over the place with the cheesiest tune playing in the background.
There is just one tiny obstacle between Aaron’s innocent question and the inevitable teen love story that will follow shortly afterward.
Regina George. Played to perfection by Rachel McAdams, Regina is the leader of the Plastics, the beautiful, cruel gang of girls who are in charge of North Shore High School.
Aaron is, in fact, Regina’s (soon to be ex) boyfriend. And everybody knows that ‘ex-boyfriends are off limits to friends. That’s just, like, the rule of feminism,’ right?
Cady will get close to the Plastics to destroy their little fake perfect world, prompted by her news friends Janis and Damian.
However, she will turn into a queen bee herself, with unpredictable consequences.
LGBTIs love Mean Girls
If Mean Girls became such a cult, boasting a huge fandom and a Broadway musical adaptation, the reason is its honest take on the challenges faced by those who don’t follow the norm.
It is a film about accepting yourself for who you are. That is why it still resonates with the LGBTI community after more than ten years.
Here are the reasons why queer people still love Mean Girls so much.
1. Bi and gay actors in the cast
Four years after Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan announced her relationship with DJ and singer Samantha Ronson, coming out to the world as bi. She later clarified she only likes men and that her interest in women was due to the LA lifestyle. You do you, LiLo.
Jonathan Bennett, who portrays Aaron Samuels, also came out in 2017. The now openly gay actor had previously been accidentally outed in 2014 by actress Julianne Hough.
Finally, Mean Girls’ Damian was also played by a gay actor, Daniel Franzese.
Franzese will only come out publicly ten years after the movie’s release, claiming the role of Damian helped him come to terms with his sexuality.
Damian is probably one of the most beloved LGBTI characters in the history of teen movies.
He isn’t openly out, but it’s high school and we don’t blame him.
His passion for fashion and his dry punchlines makes him an interesting character, different from the cliche of the male best friend falling for the protagonist. He is someone queer people can identify with.
The sidekick of badass Janis, Damien is also ‘too gay to function’. He embraces his identity fiercely and provocatively, whatever this identity is. And he does so in the face of those who would want him to walk the line. Keep on rocking that feather boa!
Smoky eyes, long skirts, and band t-shirts, Janis, portrayed by Lizzy Caplan, is the first person who’s nice to Cady.
Once Regina’s BFF, Janis is accused of being a lesbian. Her alleged sexual orientation is the reason why Regina didn’t invite her to her pool party. This is why Janis wants to tear her down.
Despite Janis is not actually a lesbian, she is called a dyke and bullied constantly throughout the movie. Just like Damian.
The two of them bonds over the fact they are different. They’re aware of being outcasts who found each other and that makes their friendship stronger. They also look out for one another just like those in the same community would do.
It doesn’t matter Janis is not into girls (although she might still be bi). Her struggle with false friends who won’t accept her for who she is is universal.
And only one who knows what rejections feels like is welcoming of other people. Janis is aware of that when she takes Cady under her wing.
In the end, Janis will get her revenge when she’ll use Regina’s same arguments to ridicule her during the final school assembly. When Janis adopts the word ‘lesbian’ to refer to herself, she immediately normalizes it. Janis disempowers her anti-LGBTI bullies by using their own weapons.
4. High school can be tough if you’re in the closet
High school can be a tough trench and this feels particularly true to LGBTI people.
School, just like the jungle, has its own rules. Break one of these widely accepted societal norms and you’re exposed. You suddenly become a prey, a target.
According to Stonewall UK, nearly half of lesbian, gay, bi and trans students are bullied at school (45%).
It isn’t hard to imagine why many teenagers feel coming out isn’t the safest option. It’s challenging to show your true identity in an environment where appearance seems to be all that matters.
Mean Girls doesn’t refer specifically to LGBTIs, but Cady spends her days fearing Regina finds out who she really is and this is some serious side-effect of being closeted. She also imitates the cool girls not to get outed. Her journey to accept her true, nerdy self and ditch her Plastic’s alter ego is some sort of coming out. We’ll take it.
5. Glen Coco
Whatever your sexuality and gender identity, we all wanted to be Glen Coco.
You might not remember his face as he was on screen for three seconds, but Glen Coco is an iconic Mean Girls character. He gets four candy canes by four different secret admirers. Gretchen, who gets none, surely remembers that.
We’d like to imagine he got those four candy canes by girls, boys, and non-binary people.
You go, Glen Coco!
6. One-liners for years to come
This Heather for Millennials is a funny, provocative, grotesque, at times problematic, but ultimately clever movie. It is now a cult film everybody needs to see at least once, and its lines are equally legendary. It was written by SNL Tina Fey, after all.
Fey provided Mean Girls fans with GIFs and quotes for years to come. No one is immune. And LGBTIs love a good comeback.
Regina and the others, in fact, threw shade before it was mainstream. They slammed, clapped back and canceled and did so in the meanest, funniest possible way.
7. Mean Girls is a post-feminist movie everyone can learn from
We all wish we had a teacher like Tina Fey, who plays Ms. Norbury.
She pushes the catty girls to be honest and listen to others in the final assembly. That’s where all of them come out, ready to live their own truths.
Listening is key. It’s the only way people can truly understand those who are different from them. Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes can help toss all prejudices and lead to acceptance.
Obviously, Mean Girls is more about feminism than LGBTI issues, but is this a reason not to learn from it anyway? No.
It actually teaches the LGBTI community a precious lesson.
‘You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores,’ says Ms. Norbury.
Forget about sluts and whores for a second and think of the infighting in the LGBTI community. Those petty catfights against each other only make it easier for homophobes, transphobes, and biphobes to attack us. And that isn’t fetch at all.