Blog 5: Psychoanalytic Theory

4 Commentsby   |  04.11.13  |  Student Posts

Mean Girls Cafeteria Tribes

In this video clip from Mean Girls, the character named Janis introduces the new girl, Cady (Lindsay Lohan), to the different groups of people that sit in the cafeteria. While thinking about this movie and the archetypes used to categorize the different characters, I decided to see if anyone else had ever considered this movie from the Carl Jung psychoanalytic perspective. I found a blog post that discusses the different archetypes of the main characters, calling Regina George (the leader of the “mean girls”) the “Popular Queen Bee” and Ms. Norbury, the character of Tina Fey, the “trying to be hip and funny while trying to be a mentor teacher.”

Although these archetypes are made up, the characters also fit into the archetypes that Jung describes in his theory. For example, Lindsay Lohan’s character, Cady, represents “the self” and “the shadow.” “The shadow” part of her character and psyche becomes apparent when she gets caught up in her scheming against Regina George and begins to turn into an actual “mean girl.” In our everyday lives, we encounter this kind of psychoanalytical thinking when we categorize and view people as archetypes. It is not necessarily a bad thing because as rational beings, we are constantly trying to find patterns and to organize people into different categories in our minds – it is our way of making sense of out things. From my experience, when we follow this process of thought, we should take caution so that we do not put boundaries around someone that limit their ability to connect with us.


  1. Lyndi Smith
    8:59 pm, 04.11.13

    This was one of the best blogs I’ve read. I never would have imagined Mean Girls to be in relation to Jung’s perspective but it definitely it. Especially how Cady’s “shadow” comes to the surface when trying to get back at Regina. It’s crazy to me that we go to these extents to be accepted or to get revenge on someone. The reason we do this is because of the “awful” things others have done but in actuality we are no better because of what do back to them. Our “shadow” becomes who we are, just like Cady. You are exactly right though about limiting our ability to connect with others. We long for the connection with people, yet we are the ones that set the limitations. Great blog and really connected well with it!

  2. Katie Clouse
    10:36 pm, 04.11.13

    This movie cracks me up and takes me back to middle school. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen it, and even though I can quote half the movie, I have never thought about it from a psychoanalytical perspective before. Your post was very unique and I agree with your point that we are rational beings trying to make sense of what we see around us and also categorizing not just objects, but people too.

  3. Avia Gray
    11:23 pm, 04.11.13

    Great example! This is definitely a more modern example of the psychoanalytic theory. It also really goes to show that as we get older, maybe we never grow out of phases and stereotypes. They simple become more mature and sophisticated, but that may possibly be the way a society was meant to operate.

  4. Josh Marshall
    1:23 pm, 04.12.13

    This is a very intriguing observation. Even as a guy who has often been dragged into watching this chick flick (I have to say this for manhood purposes), I must say I have seen it multiple times and never would have realized the connection between the characters and the archetypes that they are associated with. Great observation, and great application to psychoanalytic thought!

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