Mean girls is one of the most popular teenage movies. A lot of the social psychology concepts are portrayed in this movie; social influence, peer pressure and conformity at it’s best.
Cady the movie hereon moved to a school in the U.S. in high school after she has been homeschooled her whole life. The power of situation was so strong that it influenced Cady’s behavior. Cady was suddenly put into a context that had a high degree of social influence. The groups in the school was very diversified in nature. However, there was that one group “the plastics” that almost everyone was looking up to them. They were the most popular, the pretties and the richest girls in the school. They were the meanest girls as well. Interestingly, although cady had the choice of who to be friends with. And obviously being part of the “mean girls” doesn’t match Cady’s norms. Yet,She became a member of the group.
The need to fit in , and belong was stronger than anything else. Consequently , cady had to conform to every aspect that the plastics used to do. What to wear, the attitude, hair styles, the language, and the music to listen. I. The case of cady, normative social influence is what actually motivated her to conform. Cady had to conform to the group “the plastics” social norms in order to remain a member of the group and to continue to gain advantages of group membership. The plastics had explicit rules for acceptable behaviors, values and attitudes for example, there were rules of what color to wear in which days, which days to wear your hair and you are not allowed to wear sweat pants for two days in a week. <a href=”http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=akbCmxb_w8s” title=”The plastics rules”>
Obviously, cady, didn’t have private acceptance of the plastic’s attitude and behavior, they were very different from her. Therefore, it resulted in public compliance; she was conforming in the way she looked acted and dressed to fit in with the plastics but her true loyalty still genuinely lies with the two friends that she made at first whom their values were more similar to hers.
Therefore, we could see that there was a discrepancy between Cady’s injunctive norms and descriptive norms. Even though she perceived that what the plastics were doing is disapproved, her behavior was approving it. Moreover, conformity gave cady external justifications by adding new cognitions (the plastics rules) whenever cognitive dissonance is aroused since she actually doesn’t accept what she’s doing
Applying the social impact theory to the movie we would find that, the group number was initially three before cady joining them which according to the theory this number has a great influence in conformity. The importance of the plastics to cady was very high because as a teenager being in the “coolest gang ” means the world. She felt powerful being in this friendship. And finally, as a new entrant in the group cady didn’t have allies in the group, so normative social influence was so powerfully felt by cady as everyone in the group said and believed the same thing so she had no option except to conform.