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Was Regina George Really The Villain Of ‘Mean Girls?’

Regina George

If you want to believe that the original Mean Girls is the story of one outsider’s odyssey through high school and the hard moral lessons that she learns about being an awful person in the name of maintaining a tight grip on popularity, then so be it. But while Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is meant to be the villain of the film due to her cruel barbs and iron rule, I disagree firmly with the idea that she is without value.

Regina may not be perfect, she may even be a (really) mean girl, but let us never forget that it was her delicate eco-system that was thrown out of whack by the incursion of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) and her pranks, and that some of what Regina said in the film might even make her seem less like a total villain when re-framed slightly.

So, in the name of proving that to you and in celebration of the recent micro reunion and the trailer drop for the remake, we’re asking you to look at some of these Regina moments from the original and tell us that she doesn’t seem a little less evil and a little more relatable. Because, and I don’t want to freak you out, there is a little bit of Regina in us all and the true villain of Mean Girls was high school, itself.

When Regina Taught Cady About Pop Culture

Regina: Cady, do you even know who sings this?
Cady: Um, the Spice Girls?
Regina: I love her. She’s like a Martian!

The internet allows us all to move within our own interest herds, snuggling up with the pop culture creations that please us on the regular. Because of this, our legs give out and our vision tunnels when someone expresses complete obliviousness to those things. With the above moment, Regina was simply vocalizing the thing you say with your eyes to Xander from work when he’s all, “What is Game of Thrones?”

Also, I want to live in a world where I think all pop songs come from the Spice Girls. Or more accurately, I want to live in a world where all pop songs do come from them.

Regina Uplifts A Classmate

Regina: Oh my God, I love your skirt! Where did you get it?
Lea: It was my mom’s in the ’80s.
Regina: Vintage! So adorable.
Lea: Thanks.
Regina: [after girl walks away] That is the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.

Yes, on the surface, this is bad, but if you switch the perspective, that girl is going to have a dynamite day lost in the breezy summer fantasy that is a fashion compliment from the most popular girl in school. And as for Regina, say what you will, but she knows how to maintain her spot atop the high school food chain. Lea’s an ally in that moment and Regina is a hell of a politician.

Regina’s Doctor Frankenstein Moment

“She thinks she’s gonna have a party and not invite me? Who does she think she is? […] I, like, invented her, you know what I mean?” – Regina

If metaphors are your thing, this is a bit Dr. Frankenstein realizing that his monster has run amok, but it’s actually worse because the monster (Cady) was given life (which in high school, means popularity) by Regina and now she’s trying to replace her in the social hierarchy. Actually, it’s like, if you were on a space ship and you gave someone oxygen and then they bounced up and were like, “Peace!” and then locked you out of your own slumber pod. Yeah, exactly like that. Metaphors are your thing, right?

Regina Doles Out Some Tough Love

“Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen!” – Regina

I applauded Regina for sparing Lea from the truth about her Mom’s ugly vintage skirt (so ugly, Lea), but Lea is just another student while Gretchen is Regina’s friend. You don’t spare friends the hard truths. Fetch, which Gretchen keeps trying to turn into a thing, wasn’t birthed to be something that lives among the slang stars, it was meant to die in the gutter, and Regina makes that happen.

Think of how great this world would be if there was a Regina George present at the start of every word-trend. Think of how she would have put the term “totes amazeballs” into a sack and beat it with a rusty hammer, sparing us all.

That Time Regina Let Her Friend Know She Needed More From Her

“I can’t go to Taco Bell. I’m on an all-carb diet. God, Karen. You’re so stupid!” – Regina

If Karen (Amanda Seyfried) wants to lend strategic support to Regina and provide more than timely weather reports, she needs to be aware of her friend’s nutritional needs. Though, in fairness, burritos totally have carbs, so Regina could have gone with for a run toward the border.

Regina George Is A Disruptor

Gretchen: Regina, you’re wearing sweatpants. It’s Monday.
Regina: So…?
Karen: So, that’s against the rules, and you can’t sit with us.
Regina: Whatever. Those rules aren’t real.

We’re a highly social culture at this point and we all live til we’re like 85 or something, so we’re saying and tweeting more words than ever before. Naturally, some of them are going to crash into each other creating conflict and potential embarrassment, but hypocrisy is only a thing if we choose to make it one. Regina’s friends could have let it slide when she had outgrown her clothes, but they chose to give her a taste of her own medicine, even though it was they who were sick with jealousy over her reign of power.

Regina Sets Boundaries And Focuses On Her Recovery

“Stop making this about you. I’m the one that got hit by the bus.” – Regina

Having sympathy for others who are having a down day (or a realization that they went too far, as Cady acknowledges to Regina at the dance) in the midst of one’s own dark moment is admirable, but let’s get real: Sometimes the world needs to recognize that you are going through some serious stuff and everyone else needs to step off. I don’t know how we accomplish that on social media — “I totally get what you’re going through. One time I…” up bup buh! — but in real life, maybe it’s as simple as creating some kind of blinky forcefield that lets people know that your pain is the star. Maybe it could look like a spinal halo collar similar to the kind one would wear after getting thrown (I choose to believe that version of events) in front of a bus. As a for instance.

This article has been lightly updated from the original, which ran in 2015.