We hope you’re wearing pink, beyotches, because this isn’t just any Wednesday: it’s the tenth anniversary of the release of Mean Girls, cinematic bible for all aspiring Queen Bees—and those who would take them down. To celebrate the continuing pop-culture reign of Regina George, we’ve rounded up the fictional mean girls we most love to hate. Grool!
Blanche Ingram (Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë)
Blanche Ingram is the perfect example of a mean girl who deserves (and receives) a brilliant comeuppance. A beautiful socialite who assumes that Mr. Rochester’s heart (and fortune) are hers for the taking, she’s scornful and dismissive of shy, low-born, plain Jane Eyre. Big mistake, Blanche! Never underestimate the timid governess! Of course, Blanche is rewarded for her cruelty by being schooled in a variety of ways; first Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy fortuneteller and informs her that the fortune she thinks he has is exaggerated; later, he tells Jane that he and Miss Ingram are to be married—but only because he knows it’ll make her jealous. All right, possibly the only nice person in all of Jane Eyre is Jane herself. At least everyone else got what was coming to them in the end.
Nellie Oleson (Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
We can’t stand you, Nellie Oleson, and it’s not just because you bear an eerie resemblance to Joffrey Baratheon. Where tomboy Laura lived a simple life—playing with her button string, struggling through brutal winters with the fam, taking it slow when sexy Almanzo Wilder started coming round—Nellie was a flirt and a brat, the rich girl (in prairie terms, this means she had two dolls) we loved to hate. She mocks Mary and Laura for being country girls, turns a teacher against Laura at their school, and even tries to creep on Laura’s future fiancé, inviting herself along on their cozy carriage rides. But guess what, Nellie? None of us will ever forget that you got leeches on your feet at Laura’s party, way back at Plum Creek. Hah!
Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell)
Scarlett O’Hara is the mean girl we can’t help wanting to be. Sure, she can be cruel, heartless, and insensitive; she stabs friends in the back, marries out of sheer spite, and doggedly pursues men she knows are wrong for her. Still, she’s also utterly unflappable, brave, and shrewd, and she singlehandedly runs her family’s plantation, fights off robbers, delivers a baby, and basically takes care of business like a boss. If more mean girls were like Scarlett, that crowd might not get such a bad rap.
Susan Kushner (Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary)
Much like Gretchen Weiners, Susan has big hair that we’re certain is full of secrets. And it’s this big hair that gets Ramona into trouble, after she pulls on one of Susan’s enticing curls just to watch it sproing back. We would chalk this up as a misunderstanding…except for the fact that Susan completely copies Ramona’s project in art class, then soaks up all the unearned praise that comes with it. She’s also the first to slap Ramona with the title of “pest,” which, why don’t you check yourself, Miss Perfect? Susan may just be a little kid, but we’re concerned she’s a mean girl in training.
Caroline Bingley (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
The kindly, handsome, and desirable bachelor Charles Bingley may have been harmless, but his sister Caroline was both vicious and petty, with an impressive knack for throwing some nasty 19th-century shade. Check out this juicy put-down of her rival Elizabeth’s appearance, said directly to Mr. Darcy: “I must confess that I never could see any beauty in her. Her face is too thin; her complexion has no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome.” Ouch, Caroline. Though Caroline’s obvious, unrequited crush on Mr. Darcy made her almost sympathetic at times (could you blame her, really?), she ultimately earned her mean girl stripes through her strenuous efforts to keep her brother, Charles, from becoming involved with the lovely Jane Bennet, when it was obvious to all and sundry that the two belonged together foreversies.
Who’s your favorite fictional mean girl?