Is ‘Mean Girls’ Appropriate For Kids? What Parents Need To

Mean Girls is one of the most quotable movies of a generation. You know the drill: wear pink on Wednesdays, don’t cross The Plastics, and tell Aaron Samuels the date on October 3. But now that millennial fans have gone from relating to the sassy highschoolers to channeling their inner cool moms, you may be wondering if this cult classic film is OK to re-watch with your kids. Read everything you need to know about Mean Girls ahead. (Note: Some spoilers are ahead.)

Mean Girls was written by Tina Fey.

This movie is a woman-led comedy written by Tina Fey. Mean Girls features a star-studded cast including Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, Rachel McAdams as Regina George, Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith, Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners, Tina Fey as Mrs. Norbury, Amy Poehler as Mrs. George, and more. It’s a bubble-gum teen movie about high school cliques, popularity, friendship, love, and finding yourself — which is somehow both hilarious and heartfelt at the same time.

“Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) thinks she knows about ‘survival of the fittest,’” states the official logline. “But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time and falls prey to the psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today.” Is her rise to the top worth it to get Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) to notice her, or is the loss of friends Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) too great a cost?

There is crude language and sexual references in the movie.

Mature humor is prevalent in Mean Girls, including crude jokes, sexual references, mentions of venereal disease, name calling like “slut-faced ho bag,” “fugly slut,” and “nastiest skank b-tch” among others. (Mean is an understatement). Gay slurs are used, as well as jokes about girl-girl kissing, a reference to being “half a virgin,” and a scene where a teacher is kissing a teen girl and another where it’s revealed he is committing statutory rape with two students. Mrs. George catches Regina making out with a boy on her bed and offers her condoms. Halloween is mentioned as “the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls say anything else about it.” There is a Halloween party where most of the high school girls are wearing lingerie as costumes.

Underage drinking, violence, and body-shaming occur.

Mrs. George offers alcohol to Regina and her friends at one point. There is a lot of teen partying in the movie, and one time, Cady drinks so much that she gets drunk and throws up. There are also fantastical violence elements, where Cady imagines jungle-like fights happening at school. Instances of body shaming, dieting, and tricking a girl to eat calorie-loaded energy bars to gain weight occur.

Mean Girls depicts the challenges of going through high school in a realistic way.

Yes, Mean Girls has adult themes, but it is also a good reflection of the insecurities and challenges high school girls often go through. It portrays the lengths teens will go to in order to fit in no matter who gets hurt along the way. Fey’s brilliant writing, the talented cast, and the universal relatability of mean girls in high school make this movie still feel fresh almost two decades later.

“Overall, it’s a biting satire that doesn’t shy away from some adults’ hypocrisy and doesn’t sugarcoat the language and behavior of teens,” according to Common Sense Media.

Mean Girls is rated PG-13.

The movie’s PG-13 rating is for sexual content, language, and some teen partying. This film probably wouldn’t be appropriate for kids or tweens, but it remains a solid choice for families with teens. Especially if it prompts a discussion on bullying and popularity.

Watch Mean Girls on Paramount+.