Let's face it. Watching popular movies and TV shows from the 2000s is just a different experience in 2016, from measuring our own growing-up realities with those portrayed in TV/film to heightening our own social awareness with the advent of social media. In general, we have become more "woke," usually at the expense of our own comfort. With that, here are some 2016 reactions to 2000s movies, featuring Mean Girls.
1. Wow, I'd forgotten that Africa was a country.
Every time Cady Heron or someone else mentioned that she moved all the way to the United States "from Africa," I wanted to scream. Africa seems to have become the catch-all umbrella when western citizens become too lazy or disinterested in learning about the its varying history, culture, and rich diversity.
2. The homeschooled-kids-can't-function-properly-in-the-real-world trope.
Cady Heron has evidently spent most of her time braving large, wild animals in Africa, but somehow doesn't know how to look both ways before crossing the street as she treks to her new American high school. Also, living in Africa is not a totally valid excuse for never having been exposed to aspects of current American culture. One of my friends from Ghana grew up fangirling over the same Disney shows and movies that I did, and she did attend a real school in her home country. It's not all villages and huts, you know.
3. Coach Carr's abstinence-only program is still a reality.
We may laugh and joke about Coach Carr's dramatic, hypocritical sex-ed lecture, but states in which abstinence-only education is stressed still exist and usually come with huge bouts of misinformation. As of right now, only 24 states mandate sex-ed and only 13 states require that the information given in these classes be medically accurate. That is a scary thought.
4. Hey look, it's The Literal Gay™.
For humor purposes, there always has to be that one stereotypical gay guy who spouts designers and poops glitter, and that guy is Damian. And nothing quite spells homophobia than the evolution of Janis Ian, who is obviously a butch lesbian because she dares not to conform to typical gender expressions and hangs around girls a lot. Ya gotta love it when a potentially queer woman ends up dating Kevin, who will presumably "turn her straight" because TV couldn't handle high-capacity homosexuality.
5. We were supposed to be hot.
Many of us were willing to suffer through our awkwardness and mediocrity in the hope that puberty would be kind to us in high school. We were wrong. I'd been mistaken for a 12-year-old at 16. How were we supposed to know then that most of the actors in these teen films were in their 20s and 30s and that, in the end, only the Mathletes looked like actual high school students.
6. None of the guys in my school ever looked like this.
Closely associated with #5, teen flicks prepared me to expect a bountiful supply of hot guys, and I fully believed that I, too, could capture them if I were only as plain, quirky, and #notlikeothergirls as many of our plucky female protagonists. Once again: wrong. And by the time I reached high school, the shag cut was a thing of the past.
7. Remember when having a big butt was an insult?
Now having a big butt is the ideal--as long as you have light skin and long hair, that is.
8. Huh. The liberal, commie, pinko teacher was right after all.
Ms. Norbury was the bitter, newly-divorced teacher who donned a politically-buttoned vest and waved her fist at the patriarchy. But Tina Fey's role as the progressive teacher was what we needed to keep ourselves from being distracted by each other for men's enjoyment. Who can forget this great line: "You all have got to stop calling each other ‘sluts’ and ‘whores.' It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores."
9. You can be a chemistry nerd and a jock.
Kevin's presence demonstrated that being a Mathlete is, indeed, not social suicide. As a student at a liberal arts college, it's not uncommon to find a physics major who is also an art minor, or an aspiring accountant who is also in a band.
10. Only popular girls have eating disorders.
If there's anything that we learned from 2000s flicks, only the popular girls dieted like crazy, while "normal" girls ate what they wanted and never worried about their weights.
11. The plucky protagonists always get the guy, even if they've done nothing to deserve it.