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The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

Are Teenage Girls too Mean: Is the Musical Mean Girls Grounded in Reality?

Arjun Koura
Scene from 2024 PHS Spring musical, Mean Girls.

Does PHS Drama Club’s spring musical, Mean Girls, which is about a teenage girl who enrolls in a new high school and learns important lessons about authenticity, popularity, and friendship reflect real teenage girl behavior?

Some people say teenage girls, mostly high schoolers, are especially mean to each other compared to other age groups and genders. Others think this is a false, misogynistic stereotype that villainizes women and pits young girls against each other. But where does this assumption come from?

Students at PHS have been witnesses to, maybe even participants in, classic teenage drama many times. As a cast member in PHS drama club, Andrea Ladia had to delve into her character, Gretchen in Mean Girls. With firsthand insight into the life of a teenage girl as well as an understanding of “Mean Girl” characters, Ladia states, “A lot of the characters were mean to each other, but what so many people forget is they were under all sorts of stress and in the end they were pitted against their own friends”. Gretchen is constantly trying to meet up to unattainable expectations, the same problem most teenage girls face, and it causes her to act out in ways that hurt those around her.

Andrea Ladia plays the character of “Gretchen” in the 2024 PHS production of Mean Girls. Photos by Arjun Koura

Some might wonder if teenage boys are facing the same struggles, and although depression, anxiety, and many other mental health struggles are seen in both girls and boys, during adolescence girls are more likely to face these problems than their male counterparts. This is believed to be a result of patriarchal standards and gender roles that are enforced on women starting from young ages, causing a low self-confidence.

According to PHS Counselor, Ms. Nicole Duarte, “Some of the main things I see are relationship issues(friend/romantic), the pressures on academics (taking multiple AP courses, getting A’s, etc.), family acceptance, “fitting” in, and general anxiety regarding various topics.” It seems that many teenage girls are faced with the struggles of attempting to meet many different expectations in all aspects of their lives. The pressure to be “perfect” may manifest into a feeling of jealousy towards those who they perceive as “perfect”. Along with this the idea of perfection comes with the implication that exposing vulnerabilities to others makes you flawed. These beliefs come together to form a tense and hostile environment between teenage girls.

Unfortunately, the world has a dark history of villainizing women, and although this behavior has lessened during recent years it is still extremely prevalent within our society. The trend of judging women for their every action has not been lost in time, and it shows through the insecurities most teenage girls have about themselves. The plot of ‘Mean Girls’ displays the consequences of this treatment by showing the damage it can cause to young women in our society. PHS Drama club addresses this issue through humor and entertainment, allowing for a more digestible experience for their audience.

As a society, it is important that we remember that teenage girls will soon become leaders, teachers, and our future, so rather than forming negative stereotypes about them we should uplift them and create an environment where they can grow into their full potential.

Scene from 2024 PHS Spring musical, Mean Girls. Photos by Arjun Koura


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About the Contributors
Mahi Patel
Mahi Patel, Journalism 2 Reporter
Hi! I’m Mahi and I’m currently a junior taking Journalism as an Independent Study. I always loved writing and I am so excited to be able to share my work with others through the Chieftain. I especially love to write about current events and student life so there will be many posts about that! Thank you so much for checking us out!"
Arjun Koura
Arjun Koura, Staff Reporter
I'm a senior and this is my first year at PHS. I enjoy traveling and reading.

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