Seminar Paper, 2018
18 Pages, Grade: 1,7
In the 2004 movie "Mean Girls", the viewer is introduced to the complexities of high school life through the eyes of the main character Cady, who starts out as a sweet and innocent girl who has so far been home-schooled her entire life. She quickly learns that American high school life is not at all comparable to the African steppe, and will soon, but only after some struggle, become aware of how and why her behavior unintentionally turns toward that of a 'mean girl.'
In this paper, René Girard's theory of mimetic desire, which he first formulated in his 1961 book "Deceit, Desire, and the Novel", shall serve as the basis for acquiring a better understanding of the processes of (mimetic) rivalry taking place in the movie. While at first glance, Mean Girls seems to be 'just another teen/girl comedy' about girls being their bitchy selves while applying lipstick, it is, in view of the author, a very good example of how mimetic rivalry develops and of the dynamics that result from it both within different rivaling cliques/groups, but also within each group itself.
After giving an overview of Girard's mimetic theory in the first part of this paper, key scenes and events in the movie shall be discussed in the second part, focussing on the rivalry taking place between the members of the high school's coolest girl clique, The Plastics. Due to the limited scope of this paper, a complete and thorough overview on Girard's theory and all of its aspects shall not be given herein.
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