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OPINION: Who is the real Mean Girl? The answer will surprise you.

Regina and Cady are mean, but Janis is just as bad.
Cast+and+crew+members+of+Mean+Girls+take+a+bow+after+the+dress+rehearsal+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+22.
Cast and crew members of “Mean Girls” take a bow after the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Janis was mean. Bringing in a (clueless) external factor because of eighth grade drama for no reason is rude, manipulative, and weird.

With the Mean Girls musical opening on the Strath Haven stage at the the end of February, this is the perfect time to discuss who the real mean girl is.

Everyone talks about how Regina and Cady are horrible, but they were both pawns for Janis’ big plan. Cady was an innocent girl when she arrived, and then Janis blamed Cady for turning into the girl that Janis had meant for her to be.

Regina was fine living life before Janis brought up eighth grade problems. No one was even mad at Janis or gave her a second thought, but she decided to turn the whole school upside down for something that happened three years ago.

“I think that Janis is the real mean girl because she turned Cady into a plastic and got revenge on Regina and ruined her life,” sophomore Lily Newport, who plays Karen Smith in the musical, said.

Newport gives insight about how Janis could have acted better, regarding Cady’s position.

“I would not do what Janis did,” she said. “I think I would try to make Cady help Regina and make her not such a mean girl, and help her to apologize because that makes Janis just as bad, if not worse, than Regina.”

Janis was rude to Cady and took advantage of her because she started the plan by talking about how she had to get back at Regina but didn’t tell Cady why. Cady thought that Regina was sweet and was surprised when she was told to sabotage her. Janis turned Cady into the girl that she wanted her to be and to do something that she wanted to do.

What is revealed later in the movie is that Regina got creeped out by Janis, and then mistook Janis’ sexuality for her nationality—lesbian for Lebanese. Regina got a boyfriend and spent less time with Janis, making Janis feel left out and alienated. Regina felt like Janis was in love with her, and, as a result, teased her.

However, from what we were told, Regina was never outwardly bullying Janis, but instead only said a couple of rude comments. When Janis returned, she distanced herself from everyone and was rude, even if they were nice.

Further, Janis would also get annoyed when Cady got so into the character, even though she pushed her to do that. Cady was new and didn’t have many social cues because she had previously been homeschooled. Janis saw that and used it for her revenge. She pushed Cady to be a Plastic but got mad when that was the outcome.

“The way that [Janis] used Cady to target Regina, how she made Cady pretend to be friends with them and then later used Cady’s anger at Regina to fuel her revenge… Just kind of using Cady for her gain,” sophomore Eli Graves, who plays Janis Ian in the musical, said.

Despite this, Graves understands the circumstances Janis was placed under.

“I feel like if someone did to me what Regina did to Janis, where Janis was completely alienated by the entire school, I think I would definitely feel like I would want some revenge, but I don’t know if using Cady for revenge was exactly the right idea… I think Janis was [partially justified],” they said.

Junior Josie Tolson, who plays Cady in the play, also agrees with Graves’ reasoning.

“I think high school girls are all a little mean sometimes, and Janis had good intentions when meeting Cady, but I think she took advantage of her a little bit,” she said.

Janis was the ultimate mean girl. She was rude, and manipulative, and took advantage of Cady’s lack of social cues and knowledge. Not only did she force Cady to spy on Regina, but she also got mad when she got what she wanted.

Even after Regina was hit by the bus at the end of the musical, Janis was still mad and rude.

No one talked to her much and she lost most of her friends and their respect. Even so, Janis’s choice was to fully isolate herself, pushing away people who liked her and who tried.

Yes, Janis wanted to keep Regina as a friend. Did she have to push her to the point that Regina thought that Janis was in love with her? Many people would be creeped out by that. Adding onto that, Janis seems to be very protective of the people she hangs out with getting mad when Cady hung out with Regina or did her own thing.         

While no one was innocent in this battle, the king wasn’t better than the army.

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About the Contributor
Madalyn Posternack ‘26
Madalyn is a sophmore at SHHS. This is her first year on staff and she wants to someday be a reporter for a news station. In her free time she likes to play field hockey, take her dogs on walks, and hang out with friends and family.
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