It’s foolish to deny the want to be popular. On some level, you want to be popular. It’s okay, everybody does. Everyone wants to be liked and actively seeks validation in belonging to a tribe. Denying it is no use; it’s pure evolution. But the fundamental question to women worldwide should be, which tribe do you want to belong to? The Superficial Squad who value everything materialistic, or the Sincere Tribe who only serve to nurture your best interests?
There’s a teenage girl who lays dormant inside the mind of every adult woman. Wether that adult woman be thirty, forty or upwards of fifty, she lurks in there, patiently waiting for an ‘in’ moment. Ever since school, or potentially even earlier, the social circle has been divided, with the Popular Girls naturally at the top of the crop, adorning their
glossy hair crowns for all to see. After careful observation, I believe that there are two types of girls occupying this world; the Cady Herons’ & the Regina Georges’. (if neither of these names ring a bell, then I implore you to immediately cease reading, and instead, go and watch Mean Girls – and PS. where have you been hiding???)
You might have thought that the ‘Popular Girls’ had disbanded after high school, cast into reality, but here’s a word to the wise; your girl team could collectively be the un-coolest friend group on the planet, and there’ll still be someone in that squad nominating themselves as a Queen Bee, taking it upon themselves to be the chief decision maker and overseeing and vetoing all squad members. Or maybe her ring leading ways are not as obvious, and instead it could just be that one girl who always has to be the centre of attention, wether it’s at the front of the photograph, or turning the heads of every male in the bar, and it’s this girl that I’m referring to, as Regina George.
There are many obvious signs which immediately differentiate the Regina Georges’ of the World from the Cady Herons’, and NOTHING, screams Mean Girls louder than the festive season. I don’t just mean because of the Winter Talent Show Jingle Bell Rocks scene, but instead for the fact that the lead up to Christmas, is laced with an abundance of parties and social opportunities for Mean Girls to exclude Nice Girls, by either playing the friends group like pawns, or via workplace warfare.
It’s unsettling that despite the current influx of pro-feminist propaganda in the UK (and the rest of Western society), that we are still faced with these female upon female exclusions, which preys on and amplifies our fellow female insecurities. Why do some girls feel superior to others — where does this self entitlement stem from? I’m no psychologist, and certainly no specialist in the matter, but after reading several articles, and lengthy discussions with my friends, I am starting to draw my own conclusions, and unsurprisingly, it seems as though (some) females feel empowered when throwing shade to other girls, as if by pointing out another woman’s flaws, her own flaws will no longer be so obvious.
I’m asking my friends, at what point, will we stop feeling insecure and comparing ourselves to these girls that WE DON’T EVEN WANT TO BE, and realise that our quirks are unique in making us beautiful. If every other girl is morphing into a Kardashian; then who stands out? What makes you different from anyone else? And this girls, is where you find your USP (Unique Selling Point). Your USP is not your shade of lipstick; it’s not your plastic heels; or your on fleek eyebrows. It’s that scattering of freckles that you hate; it’s your frizzy untameable mane; it’s your scars that you got from childhood and all those other little
imperfections quirks that you somehow came to despise, because the Regina George’s of the world have been telling you since high school that those flaws are the reason you don’t belong in their world, and you’ve believed it ever since.
Despite being borderline thirty, all of my friends are avid social media users, and the app of choice for the masses these days tends to be instagram. A while ago I had a follow cull where I unfollowed lots of pages that made me feel generally shit about myself. Wether that was lifestyle pages or girls who spent too long posting multiple stories of themselves at a beach club donning a thong bikini and come-to-bed eyes. Yet, as
I scroll on by time goes by, these pages have somehow managed to creep back on to my feed.
The abundance of Regina Georges’ on my feed has once again reached critical level, but similar to a car crash,Ican’t quite stop myself from watching the carnage unravel from before my very own eyes. Why do we even follow these girls? If they aren’t our friends, then why do we go on to their pages? Why do we compare ourselves to these girls?
Is it fear? We still bear that childhood fear of not being cool enough. Or are we scared that our boyfriends will discover that they want a Regina in their life instead of a Cady, (in the words of a guy friend, ‘Nice girls are boring’)? Is it simply jealousy? (Do you want to look like them? Do you want the materialistic things that they have? Do you wish you had their body and their confidence?) Is it that we are judgemental? (Judgemental of their life choices and lifestyle). I put these question to my friends, but somehow, just like me, they struggled to answer it.
“Wait wait wait! Look at this!” my friend thrust her phone at me to reveal two pictures beside each other. The pictures were taken of the same girl, in the exact same place, with the only difference being that they were taken two years apart. The girl – so pretty in the first picture, looked unrecognisable in the second. Her lips were like something from a cartoon, and her chest looked almost comical the way it was inflated (she looked like she might topple over at any given moment). Her black dyed hair cascaded down to her backside, and her lithe limbs were a shadow of their former selves. We continued to scroll through her feed – pictures in front of Bentleys, Ferraris – each one with a different pair of skyscraper heels and designer handbag. She had 12k followers.
I showed her page to my boyfriend, and he swiftly clicked unfollow. “Why are you even wasting your time on those kind of pages?” he asked me. But later on, I challenged the fact that he frequently likes a girl that he follows, instagram posts. “Likes don’t mean anything. In fact, I feel sorry for that girl. She’s 23 and all she does is party at a different club every single night. Everything she does is about her looks and attention. She spends all of her life in the gym, at the pool or doing stuff to make herself look good. Yes, she looks good, but there’s more to life than that. What an existence.”
As I looked at her feed, there were no pictures of her with friends or family. It was mainly bikini pictures, selfies and videos of her sashaying in a going-out outfit – some Drake track on in the background. There was no denying that the girl looked good, and in that regard, I wouldn’t mind looking like my 23year old self again, but I didn’t actually want to go back to that age. I feel like I’ve evolved way more as a person since. Living my life for clubs and just for my body to look good seemed like a shallow and depressing goal for this stage of my life. I want to be recognised for being a kind person, or for my quirky style or for my blog. Not because I have massive cosmetically enhanced boobs, a bubble butt and and a 26 inch waist.
Don’t get it twisted, I don’t judge anyone who chooses to have cosmetic surgery,(if you hate it and wanna change it, then why not?) and I would love to have a great body – of course I would, but it’s not my sole purpose in life. The case here, is that I feel like girls who look and act a certain way, look down their noses at ‘normal’ girls; the girls that choose to embrace their quirks instead of ironing themselves out to look like a clone of every other girl. Think about it – how often do you see these kind of girls posting a picture with an average person? Exactly! Because as a Cady Heron, you’re not in the clique.
A friend of mine recently discussed how another friend was left out of a social event. The reason being, because one of the other girls in the social group had had a falling out with her, and ever since was painting her in a bad light by badmouthing her to the other girls. Bad enough this one girl had had a falling out with one friend over a trivial matter, but to then be excluded from the groups social events thereafter was a bit harsh no? You’d be forgiven for mistaking this as a high school group of friends, but this is the reality that even in your thirties, mean girls still exist.
I am not proud to admit that I too have on past occasions acted like a mean girl. I was mean to a girl, but at the same time, she was just as mean to me. Now that I am older, I really understand the line “An eye for an eye would have the whole world blind” and if I could go back, and act more gracefully, and recognise that whole debacle was really just both of our insecurities projected, then I would. But deep down, there is also a small part of my ‘little girl’ brain who feels a small wave of panic when that insecure trigger goes off. The trick is learning how to silence it, and learning to be comfortable in our skin. She made me feel insecure because she had attributes and a job that I wanted. I made her feel insecure because I dated the guy that she wanted.
Despite my growth, there are still times, when I feel like insecure. For example, in my own shared gym. There are always girls marathon running on the treadmill. I have a problem with my left hip and the surgeon always told me not to run. For this reason, I have always felt insecure about running, (I’ve never really done it) especially when people point out the way someone runs. (‘look at him flailing around!’). The other day, I was in the gym and I just felt so inclined to run but looking around at everyone else running gracefully on the treadmill, I felt apprehensive. Out of nowhere, I just thought, “fuck it”. Humans were born to hunt, so why the hell was I concerned about running when it should come naturally. Do you think cats and dogs worry about looking stupid when they run? Of course they don’t!!! So I cranked the speed up and I’ve ran every other day since. Afterwards, my hair was soaked and I was a sweaty mess, meanwhile there were two other girls working out behind me, with a full face of make up. And that is the difference between what type of girl I am.
My friends and I, are the type of girls who take despite taking pride in our appearance, are more concerned about the fun to be had in the beach, than wether or not our hair gets wet in the waves. As a person, and a Virgo, I put immense pressure on myself, and there are times when I refuse to even try something for fear of failing at it, so I don’t need the added pressure from Regina Georges’ to look or act a certain way in order to fit their mould. If your friend group, or anyone for that matter, ever makes you feel that you don’t quite measure up to their perception of ideals, then I think you need to take mental note of wether you really want to be a part of that tribe.
I might be a pretty girl at a beach club, but I will never be the most beautiful girl there, (despite this, my friends will always endeavour to make me feel like a million dollar bill without being prompted), however in my opinion, the best girls aren’t. Look at Carrie Bradshaw in SATC, or Leandra Medine of Man Repeller. Victoria Beckham was one of the least popular Spice Girls, but yet today is the coolest and most successful! And hello??? What about Amy Schumer in the movie, ‘I Feel Pretty’? Individuality and being a good girl friend who is good fun is what matters the most in the real girl world. Inviting the new girl at work to the party when it’s easy to leave her out. Staying home with your friend who needs you instead of going to the glitzy party. Working out and enjoying the cake with friends after – no judgements.
So girls, put your hands up if you have ever felt personally victimised by a Regina George, and let’s all try to make a pact to never allow ourselves ever again to feel that way. And let’s also promise from here on in, to never give in to that teenage girl temptation who begs you to be a bit of Regina George. But most importantly of all, don’t leave anyone out of social events this festive season and call any Queen Bees out on their behaviour if you notice them trying to.