Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Response 9/22

I couldn’t help but think of the movie “Mean Girls” while reading White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh. I don’t know exactly why, however. While reading the text, based upon the privilege that whites experience in our culture, while others are disadvantaged, I found myself amazed by the list that was made of the ‘daily effects of white privilege’; there were a lot of conditions that I honestly had never thought of or perhaps had taken for granted. But still, what came to mind first was “Mean Girls”. Whether it was the fact that the racial/religious/class/popularity/sexual (in)activity, stereotypes are blatantly, overtly stated (see the clip below, including: cool Asians, Asian nerds, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, etc.), the girl fight and subsequent mediation session in the gym of the high school, or just the fact that the only major important male character is there because girls are fighting over him (Aaron Samuels), I felt like as soon as I saw the word “hierarchies,” for some reason all I could do was think of this movie. Perhaps it is because all of the members of the Plastics are white, beautiful, and skinny. One of the friends that Cady abandons for the “cooler kids” is gay, and the other had been misconstrued as a lesbian, and were just plainly not as good looking. Karen (even though she is dumb as bricks) asks Cady “So if you’re from Africa… why are you white?” (to be followed by, “Oh my god Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white!”. Perhaps it is this strange, maybe even mocking racism/sexism, etc. that draws people to the movie, and made me think of it. I’m not sure. And, while I understand that the movie is called “Mean Girls”, I think that the emphasis on purely female characters plays into some of the things we have spoken about in this class, and things that the author mentions. It is such things as the fact that the principal (male) is always trying to get with Ms. Norbury, the math teacher; we have spoken about how females are very often seen as sex objects, and while it is somewhat awkward in the movie, this is definitely somewhat underlying their interactions. It is also things like Cady wearing a slutty dress to the party she hosts, the extreme fake-ness of Regina’s mother’s breasts, or even the three way calling, Regina not fitting into dresses at an imaginary store called “1-3-5”, and more.

I also found that Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools, related to “Mean Girls”, in the sense that at the meeting in the gym, the girls all come together and embrace each other as a group. As Lorde says, “But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist”. It is at this point in the movie that the girls come to realize that even though they before had been very separated by their races/ethnicities/sexual preferences, etc. that they could all get along. This is also rehashed at the very end when Cady shares her ‘Spring Fling Queen crown’ with many of the girls at the dance, saying that every girl “looks like royalty tonight”.,,95000,00.html (this is a clip of the cafeteria map from "Mean Girls")

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