Mean Girls Mystery

Anthony Capala, Reporter

To most people, the first week of October was nothing out of the ordinary. However, in Popular “Pop” Culture, Oct. 3 was celebrated by die-hard fans to commemorate the cult classic film, Mean Girls.

Released in 2004, Mean Girls celebrated its 15th anniversary and has recently been adapted into a musical. Thanks to its social media and Pop Culture influence, the catch-phrases, fashion and unforgettable scenes have cultivated a Mean Girls brand that has become timeless.

Social media pays homage to the film by quoting its many iconic lines as well as dedicating a day in which the main character, Cady Heron, says, “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.” But why does Pop Culture allow social media to celebrate a date in a fictional movie? And what is Pop Culture and how do things become a part of it?

The term “Popular Culture” can be broadly defined as it all depends on the perspectives of consumer. Bella Pirtle, a West junior, defines Pop Culture as basically a trend. “It’s always changing, and unless something has a really significant difference in society; it’s not going to last a long time,” says Pirtle. When asked why Mean Girls is a part of Pop Culture, Pirtle answers that it’s something everybody knows about. Pirtle predicts that most people would answer “yes” if they were asked if they remembered a certain scene in the film. Pirtle had a blast when watching the musical adaptation of the film in New York City last year and even got to meet the original cast.

While Mean Girls is shared throughout social media, there will always be people who are unaware of the well-known film. Irenerose Antonio, who leads the DanceWest program at West, happens to be one of them. Antonio has only heard of Mean Girls through one of her students who showed her a clip on YouTube.

Antonio, who is in her mid-30s, says a generation gap probably prevented her from knowing of the film. “What was Pop Culture for my generation is different from Pop Culture for your generation,” she says. Through time, Antonio’s focus became more towards her family and education rather than popular trends. Antonio defines Pop Culture as “a collection of ideas that are shared through media. It can be an experience, a dance move, or a song. However, Antonio doesn’t believe everything can become a part of Pop Culture. “When it comes to violence or negative things and imagery . . . I don’t ever see [that] being appealing to the masses.”

Gabrielle Pierle, West’s choir teacher, recalls watching Mean Girls for the first time with her older sister around its release. Pierle says the film wouldn’t have reached its Pop Culture status without social media. There are countless memes all over social media and allusions to some film-specific references, such as the Oct. 3 dialogue. “The movie is 15 years old, but I would say only in the past five to seven years has everyone actually been making jokes about it,” Pierle says.

With the help of Pop Culture icons such as Mean Girls, social media users are able to express the enjoyment of a common interest. Social media is a venue to share Pop Culture that will constantly change, bringing a new and fresh experience each time.