Clueless and Mean Girls Analysis

The media often targets at young teenage audiences by showing lots of ‘sexy’ and ‘stereotypical’ images and scenes - Clueless and Mean Girls Analysis introduction. ‘Clueless’ and ‘Mean Girls’ are both films which interests teenagers; they show how teenagers are represented in different ways. The following essay will be analysing on how character types are represented in these Films Clueless is a teen drama directed by Amy Heckling and the film was released in 1995. In the story, characters use slang language all the time such as ‘buggin’ and ‘betty’ which clearly shows it’s very out-dated.

The film stars Cher (Alicia Silverstone), Dionne (Stacey Dash) and Tai (Brittany Murphy). Amy Heckling’s ‘Clueless’ is a very entertaining film which can be viewed from a number of different aspects. It can be seen as an entertaining teen film about the life of a typical American teenager. It is very important to a high school student to have a group of friends they could count on and hang out with. Life at school wouldn’t be easy for a high school student with no friends because at the teenager stage, the teens would like to share secrets with someone their ageand not many of them go home and ask their parents for advices.

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The character Tai in Clueless was a newly transferred student to the school, geeky-looking and was somewhat a “loner” because she was still new to the school and hasn’t made any friends yet. Cher was nice enough to accept Tai in to her group and made Tai feel that she belongs with them, the popular group. Who wouldn’t like to be known as one of the girls form the popular group right? With Tai being a part of Cher’s everyone looks at her differently and gave her respect and attention. The students at Cher’s school all had the wealth but not everyone had the status.

Tai’s makeover in the movie “Clueless” is very significant because it shows to the viewers that teenagers, especially in women, have to deal with the feeling of belonging to a group or being pressured by others and changing the looks to feel attractive and trendy. “Clueless” is very stereotypical. They show the female characters as bad drivers; Cher fails the driver’s test badly. Dionne in the highway scene is another example of the movie showing bad driving by females. However the males (Murray and Josh) seems to be a” protector” who directs them.

Camera angles such as tracking shots which followed Cher and her friends as they walked out of the school in the film are very effective; because it gives the viewers a deeper look in high school students of how they are styled and represented in the films. Mean Girls is also a comedic drama based on a book by Rosalind Wiseman. It was directed by Mark Waters and released in 2004. The movie stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried. The main setting is in Illinois, in their high school. Some of the other settings include the houses of the main characters.

Lindsay Lohan plays Cady Heron who grew up in Africa, because her parents are zoologists. At the age of fifteen she finally goes to a public school after being home schooled her whole life. When she arrives at school she befriends Damian, who is played Daniel Franzese and Janis Ian, portrayed by Lizzy Caplan. While sitting with the two they tell Cady of the Plastics, “… that’s Gretchen Wieners; she’s totally rich because her dad invented Toaster Steudels. “; “She (Regina-George)’s the queen bee- the star, those other two are just her little workers. The Plastics are one of the “cliques” in their high school. There are also the nerdy Asians, the cool Asians, the band geeks and the burnouts.

What sets the Plastics apart from the other groups is that they are the most popular, the most feared, and the most envied and most admirable group of girls. When Cady decides to take revenge on the plastics; she used her newfound friendship with the plastics to go undercover and to gain the information which would humiliate and blackmail the plastics and tear them apart. Cady and Janis tried lots of different ways to ruin Regina’s Life but it seems impossible.

For example when Janis Ian cuts out holes in Regina’s shirt, the trend immediately catches on this show that the girls are easily manipulated. As time passed, the plan evolved into something more and Cady and her true friends began to plot further, in attempt to destroy Regina’s life. In order to complete the plan, Cady had to behave like one of them, until eventually she wasn’t acting; she had become a “plastic”. Although Cady began to realize she was no longer the same person, she didn’t mind so much, as her new person came with power, status and respect.

Being part of the plastics was “high school royalty”. The plastics were a clique, an exclusive group of people who share interests, views, purposes; Furthermore, it is clear that she liked being part of the plastics due the fact that she gets more attention and is popular. “… Because being with the plastics was like being famous… people looked at you all the time and everybody just knew stuff about you. ” This movie uses lots of zoom shots like when the teacher told off Cady to stay in her assigned seat this is effective because the viewers can feel what it’s like in the character’s shoes.

Lots of diegetic and non-diegetic are used such as dialogues, background music and voice-over; such as Cady’s thoughts when she’s with the “Plastics”. Physical appearance is another way in which the gender stereotypes are portrayed in the movie, the girls are obsessed with their weight and the shape of their body, for example in ‘Mean Girls’ they look in the mirror and say what they dislike about their bodies:”God My hips are huge! ” “I’ve got man shoulders! ” this has a great impact on the young audiences because it shows how teenagers are hooked into their appearance.

The representation of females in these two works follows the gender bias that women are inferior to men and cannot be happy unless they are in a relationship, in both films most of the female characters end up with the guy they liked- a romantic happy ending. In both films the name of the leader of the girl group has a meaning or is named after a person according to their character; for example Regina is a Latin word for ‘Queen’ while Cher and Dionne are named after famous singers, this tells the audiences that they are very popular and royal.

Moreover the High school building looks very grand in both Medias and crowded with students this signifies what a typical teenager’s life is like. Moreover the female teenagers wore mostly miniskirts and designer high heels showing they are stylish and have a very high status based on appearance. Similarly, the girls in the posters/ DVD covers are very trendy and fashionable; and they all look very rich which will attracts the young audiences. In conclusion, both “Mean Girls” and “Clueless” revealed many different character types in teenage films. Their purpose is to target young teenagers, and in fact, they have been successful.

This is purely because these movies support teenagers into thinking that fashion and boys are the main concern in this time of their lives. This is arguably a negative point as teenagers use these films as an example to follow; therefore, teen films are defiantly effective at delivering the message to young teenagers. However, being successful at delivering the message to the intended target audience is not entirely negative, as teenagers find it easier to relate to the characters as we can see how the films portray today’s society and teenage interests.

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