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In both movies Mean Girls and Clueless, there is clear relationship between socially aggressive girls, popularity, status and power, but you may be thinking, how could this statement be portrayed in a negative manner. In the films the more popularity, status and power girls gain the more socially aggressive they are represented which could have a negative impact on teens nowadays and their perception of how school and social life in general. This statement will be explored throughout this feature article discussing how teen girls in movies are displayed through these senses. by one, explaining and comparing examples of when girl power is being abused in both texts, elaborating on toxic femininity and how it’s being shown in the texts and finally identifying how have the characters been represented overall in terms of power, popularity etc and how it effects teens nowadays.
When describing Mean Girls ‘The movie has such enduring power and is quoted so much because it sheds light on real sociological phenomena.” Even though this is a strong statement I don’t believe this so called “light” is displayed in phenomenal way.
Girl power is what the main characters from both movies have in common and can be seen as a necessity when involving popularity and status. Even though power is a similarity in which the characters possess in the movies, they express it in different manners. Regina George is one of the main characters in the movie ‘Mean Girls’. With reference to Visakan Veerasamy (2014), When regarding her persona, she’s attractive, and more importantly, she’s the most socially intelligent amongst her groups of “friends” which is what gives her the power to manipulate others so well. Accompanied with her wealth, Regina George is considered the alpha and uses her “power” when things don’t go her way. “Walk home, bitches,” she goes, when her clueless followers’ side with Cady instead of her and attempt to use her arbitrary rules against them. Which is why I believe this portrayal of “power” in movies doesn’t
When exploring the theme of girl power in the movie, aesthetic features are used on order to portray this topic even further. One aesthetic feature that helps display this sense of power is the camera angle of Regina’s house. It shows how big the house is relating to the amount of power and status she possesses. Regina’s room also displays a sense of her own personality with the mainly pink, “girly” theme which can be classified as composition, another aesthetic feature.
Clueless is another “chick-flick” in which some cases display acts of abusing girl power. Cher, the main character, is a daddy’s girl with all the privileges in the world. Cher is described as a control freak according to the RollingStone, with her cellular phone at the ready in class, at the dinner table and on the tennis court. Cher rules her school. An example of her abusing power can be when she plays matchmaker for two lonely teachers, Mr. Hall and Miss Geist, all for the purpose of easing her homework burden. This instance proved to have a positive result but, when using her power to perform a “makeover” on the new transfer student Tai, it spells her downfall after Tai’s rebellion and gain of social status.
The characters present a vicious version of womanhood and an exploitation of toxic femininity or feminism in Mean girls. “toxic femininity comprises countless idiosyncratic rules and manipulative insecurities.” Toxic femininity is the behaviour or actions by women which have a negative impact on individuals around them and according to the writer Liesl Saayman says” it can be favourably described as an inward process connected with guilt, anxiety, depression, bitterness, jealousy.” There are many instances in which “toxic feminism” is displayed in the movie. One example of the portrayal of this topic can be seen where Burn Book is brought into the movie. The book was created by Regina George and the Plastics in order to start the occurrence of rumours, stories, and gossip about all girls, and many guys, who go to North Shore High School. As soon as the students learned about this, it caused huge controversy to both students and teachers. It then ended when Cady taking the blame for the ‘Burn Book’ incident having an overall negative effect on the character.
For clueless, toxic femininity is displayed just not to the degree to that of Mean Girls. This example was mentioned beforehand, which was the doctrine that the new girl Tai has undergone a makeover and gains an abundance of attention and status after a near-death experience which she then felt empowered by her newfound popularity. Tai lashes out at Cher once declaring her feelings for Josh. Cher’s ex step-brother, calling her a “virgin who can’t drive.” It is evident that after this transformation a monster was created which one could say displayed an act of toxicity.
While many can debate these movies are role-model like or socially plausible, I believe due to the exploitation and the acts of abusing girl power that these movies shine a negative light upon teens these days. Teens nowadays are really affected by movies these days and even though these two aren’t very recent they still do have an effect that carry on for centuries.
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