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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Letter to the mean girls

I first saw you when I watched the 2003 chick-flick with Regina George and the ugliest effing skirt she’d ever seen. Then I saw you on the middle school cross country team when you whispered to your friend that I was too fat to be a runner. Your whispers were more like shouts. In high school we met again, but in the form of passive aggressive comments to the one girl who wore Bearpaw boots, not Uggs, like all the other girls you deemed “popular.” Now, four years later, we meet again. I just can’t get rid of you, huh?

Here’s the deal: I thought the mean girl pandemic was over after I graduated high school. Surely because we are in college and older and more mature, that means there are no more mean girls, right? Wrong, so wrong. The early 2000s movie mean girls are back. And I think social media has made it worse. 

If you’ve ever seen a TikTok comment section, you might know what I mean. 

I saw a video the other day of a young woman doing a “get ready with me” for a Paris Fashion Week event. Unsurprisingly, most of the commenters shared how ugly they thought the outfit was or wondered how she got invited in the first place.  

Then there was a woman who shared her homemade sourdough recipe, just for fun. Commenters wondered how she has so much time to bake bread, and figured it’s because she’s a lazy influencer who doesn’t work a corporate nine to five. 

The worst ones, though? The videos where no matter the subject or who it is, a middle-aged man is making sexual comments about the video creator. If these men are actually called out, they defend their blatantly gross remarks by calling the creator too stuck up, too proud or my personal favorite: “a f****** b**** who’s too afraid to get with a real man.” It’s not just the girls who are mean online.  

I don’t care if it’s through a screen or if the commenters feel some weird online anonymity. It feels just as nasty as getting called fat at middle school cross country practice. And I see it everyday. 

An Instagram bio that says “be kind <3” does not match the direct exclusion of people deemed unworthy.   

The “what would Jesus do” bracelets do not match the gossip shared between friends in texts or across a table. 

Bethel’s core values of being reconcilers and truth-seekers do not match the racist, sexist or homophobic comments made about a classmate or professor.  

The mean girls are back, and they’re not just girls. They’re everyone and everywhere. They’re all of us — even you, even me. Social media makes it easy to say whatever we want. That in turn makes it easier to say whatever we want off of social media, where the repercussions of any mean behavior don’t seem like a big deal. But it is a big deal. Treating people badly is a big deal and it matters! 

Yes, the mean girls are back and yes, I think they’re more brutal than ever. Is it really that difficult to be a little less mean? Maybe there’s a personal agenda we all have with a goal of upholding a reputation, which could only be accomplished by putting others down. 

But the goal should be to not end up like Regina George: no Aaron Samuels for a hot boyfriend, no Prom Queen crown. Only a neck brace because we were hit by a bus. 

Yours truly,


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About the Contributor
Makenzi Johnson, Lifestyle Editor
Makenzi Johnson, 21, is a senior journalism major and Spanish minor. She enjoys rereading the same F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sarah J. Maas books, contemplating whether or not to get a new tattoo approximately every four business days and listening to “Last Christmas” by Wham!  [email protected] | 701.715.0999
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