A Quick Netlflix Discussion Guide for Parents
Apparently there’s a lot that can be wrong with your body. The movie Mean Girls was about just that: girls who felt they had to play others down so they could be elevated in social standings.
Cady Keron (Lindsay Lohan) grew up in an innocent world. Because of her parent’s work, she was raised in Africa her entire life – homeschooled and sheltered from the typical struggles that often accompany American adolescence.
But this all changes when her family moves to America. Cady has a rude awakening as she begins attending public school for the first time. There she encounters “The Plastics,” a trio of girls who are more concerned with what others think of them than anything else in the world. The movie follows all that Cady goes through as she tries to infiltrate this social clique.
This film is truly hysterical, but it also does a great job at capturing how most of us truly feel when going through the pressures of high school and adolescence.
This is clear particularly in a scene where Cady hangs out with the “Plastics” for the first time. The girls are all staring at themselves in the mirror – and the difference between the girls’ thoughts concerning self-image is evident.
The “Plastics” all take turns bashing themselves, saying comments like “God! My hips are huge!” and “my hairline is so weird.”
As Cady observes all this ongoing, she thinks to herself, “I used to think there was just fat and skinny. Apparently, there are a lot of things that can be wrong on your body.”
In a comical way, this shows us the difference between people who place a lot of emphasis on outward appearances and those who do not. Though the movie is able to make a joke out of it, facing similar struggles in real life is no laughing matter.
People who are stressed about their outward appearances can be disappointed with even the minutest of flaws. That’s because, if we only look for beauty on the outside, we will usually be disappointed.
Let’s talk about this some more:
- How would you describe the way the girls looked (to you), AND, how would you describe the way the girls felt about themselves?
- Did it surprise you to hear what these girls truly thought of themselves? Why or why not?
- In the scene discussed, we got a chance to hear what Cady was thinking (her statement: “Apparently, there’s a lot of things that can be wrong on your body…”). What are some of the things a lot of girls these days think is wrong with their body? In other words, what’s the most recurring complaint you hear from other girls?
- Are most girls today more like “The Plastics” or more like Cady? Why?
- Cady’s character supposedly grew up in Africa while the other girls grew up in rich families in posh neighborhoods in America. Those are two totally different cultures. Do you think that our attitudes about our looks/appearances are defined by the culture we grow up in? Explain.
- When it comes to beauty, where do most of us look for it?
While the movie points out that teenage girls are often seeking beauty in the wrong places – there is another source we have that gives a clear answer to this puzzle of what “true beauty” really is.
Read 1 Peter 3:3-6
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Where does the Bible say beauty should NOT come from?
According to this passage, where should beauty come from?
We’ve all heard the expression, “beauty fades,” right? How does the Bible describe beauty that comes from the inner self? Is that important to you?
If the Bible says that beauty does not come from outward appearances, where do we draw the line between taking care of our bodies and being vain?
People who are focused on outward appearances are usually disappointed, just like the girls in the scene we talked about. Why is that?
What sort of strategy can you put in place in your life to make sure you focus on the inner self instead of the outward appearances? (Be very specific)
Focusing on our inner selves instead of our outward appearances isn’t easy, especially in the culture that we live in here in America. But, there are tons of good reasons why we should live like this.
First off – we won’t be devastatingly disappointed if we discover some minor, superficial flaw in our “exterior.” Secondly, we won’t be distracted from focusing on what God wants us to focus on, which is what’s inside us. Finally, we will please God because what’s inside us is what He values.
When I say this isn’t easy to do, I really mean it. Lots of people make mistakes by focusing on the outer appearances of themselves and others. A really holy man from the Bible named Samuel did this one time. Basically, God asked him to find the next king for Israel and instead of looking for a person who had a strong, godly inner-self; he focused on the tallest and best-looking person for the job. God had to remind Samuel what’s really important.
Check out what the Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:6-7
“When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.’”There’s nothing wrong with taking care of our bodies; in fact, the Bible talks about taking care of our bodies because they are the dwelling place of God. But, if we are not really careful, we will become vain, and focus on our bodies when we should be focused on our inner selves.
I invite you to spend some time praying. Ask God to help you shift your mentality from focusing on your outer appearances to focusing on your inner selves.
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