Mean Girls and Why it Works

Mean Girls and Why It Works: why the mean girls trope is still relavant in today's fiction.

Everyone seems to love a mean girl. They’re clever, confident, and know how to stay in the spotlight… at everyone else’s expense. But, if they’re really that bad, why do they continue to reign their fictional universes?

Mean Girls and Why It Works: why the mean girls trope is still relavant in today's fiction.

Today I’m highlighting a few reasons why the Mean Girl keeps showing up in our favorite books.

1.  Who Run the World?

The main things that keep us turning pages in our favorite stories are great characters and intense situations. And nothing adds instant drama to a story like Mean Girls. They are fantastic at creating a can’t-look-away situations by presiding over the social scene and casually manipulating every situation to their own benefit. And looking good doing it.

2. We Mean It

A Mean Girl can get away with murder. Literally! It seems these popular kids can say or do anything without ever risking their social status and the power that comes with it. Which is key. The Mean Girl always has an eye on the prize. From the top, she’s got every tool needed to take names, win the crown, steal your man, and destroy potential rivals. Her ambition and intuitive pursuit of success is something truly admirable, even if the methods are merciless.

3. Popularity Vote

While originally Mean Girls were a way to explore the unattractive qualities of unchecked ambition and petty competitiveness between women, the modern evolution of this archetype encompasses far more than fashion-obsessed teen cliques. We see them playing devious villains, bitter rivals, contentious side characters, unreliable allies, and even astounding antiheroes. Today’s Mean Girl is celebrated as a symbol of the deeply flawed, the unapologetically powerful, and the socially savvy. We still love to hate them, but a Mean Girl can often surprise us with complex motives and depth of character that feels authentic to the human experience.


Share your favorite Mean Girls in the comments, and why they’re important to you!

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