We all know the “mean girl” character, a stock archetype who’s always there in any and every story at a high school or college. She’s mean, she’s popular, she bullies the heroine, she often has a posse of sycophant girls, she often moves in on the guy the heroine likes…and usually, that’s all she is. So she’s obviously a dime a dozen in most Episode stories, both featured and user-made.
Are there stories where the mean girl is portrayed as an actual character? By that, I mean: does she have a backstory? Does she have a reason behind her behavior? Does she show more emotion than generic sneering or getting mad or smug? Does she ever change or grow in any way? She doesn’t necessarily have to become a better person or reform and make amends with the heroine, but I’d like recs for stories where the mean girl is given some sort of actual background or sympathetic reason for why she’s the way she is.
For examples: Dripping Mascara’s Cynthia and The Trophy Wife’s fake friend character are great examples of mean girls done well as characters and not as flat stereotypes, in my opinion. And I think Maria in Demi Lovato: Path to Fame and Natalia in The Royal Baby are a little more developed than the stereotype because the reader actually learns about their backgrounds, at least until Maria immediately went back to being the villain in the next two seasons and Natalia followed suit in the end.
Also, please don’t use this as a place to just plug your own stories! Please rec a story from an author other than yourself, too, if you want to rec your work.
Oh, I’ve actually been reading that story recently and I love it so far (even though I have yet to catch up on the last chapters). I just didn’t include that as an example because I meant the mean girl archetype in the context of her being the typical villain to the main character, not the main character herself (which is what Roxie is).
Aaaah yes we need more developed ‘mean girls’. I know it’s not Episode but in the movie A Wrinkle in Time the mean girl is shown to possibly be pressured by her friends into eating less through flashbacks. Just that little bit of development allows the character to be understood so much better, even related to.