Mean Girls (2024)


moderate sex references, language, discrimination

Tina Fey’s Mean Girls – based on Rosalind Wiseman’s novel Queen Bees and Wannabes – introduced the world to the Plastics, ‘fetch’, and endlessly quotable comic dialogue on its release in 2004. The latest iteration, released in 2024, is an adaptation of the stage musical version of the story, and stars Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp and Auliʻi Cravalho.

The film follows teenager Cady, whose travelling and homeschooling has left her out of touch with the social dynamics of modern high schools and their cliques. Taken under the wing of the school’s ‘Queen Bee’, Regina George, Cady finds her own behaviour becoming increasingly toxic as she gains popularity.

Key classification issue: sex references

A key bone of contention between Cady and Regina is their affection for a boy, Aaron. As hormones and desires rage, the film leans into more sexualised language and behaviour. From Sex Ed classes to riotous song and dance routines, Mean Girls explores teen desires in various ways. For example, in a musical number entitled ‘Sexy’, Regina’s friend Karen advocates for dressing in risqué costumes for Halloween parties.

Our research has shown that parents are particularly concerned around the normalisation of overtly sexualised behaviour at U or PG. At 12A/12, however, there is more room to explore sexualised behaviour, so long as it reflects the level of knowledge most young teens are likely to possess. Our guidelines at 12A/12 allow for moderate sex references and even occasional crude humour, which ably encapsulates the content in Mean Girls. The film’s humour and fastmoving musical sequences reduce the impact of the sexual content, which itself does not feature strong or crude details that would require a higher rating. We therefore classified Mean Girls, 12A for moderate sex references, language, discrimination.