Mean Girls is all about the conflict and confusion of 16-year-old Cady Heron as she moves from the jungles of Africa to the jungles of suburban American high school. However, the movie implies that much of her confusion stems from the fact that she has been home schooled for her entire life up until this point. When she arrives at a public high school, she is portrayed as totally unprepared to deal with the social cliques and interactions with which she is faced.
While a “fish out of water” story almost always makes for good comedic turf, it should be noted that many home schooled children are perfectly socially adept. Hollywood stereotypes, including those found in Mean Girls, tend to portray home schooled students as isolated, clueless, or aloof, with no ability to make friends or function in a “normal” social situation. A conversation early in the movie even reveals that the reason Cady’s parents want her to be in public school is for socialization.
While any profound statements made or implied in a comedy should obviously be taken with a grain of salt, it is somewhat unfortunate that Hollywood stereotypes about home schooled children persist in such a negative way. On the bright side, by the end of the film, Cady has shown that she has mastered even this suburban jungle!The hits keep comin’: Top 10 Teen Movies- Spike Island Feature