She’s the Man is Better Than Mean Girls. Change My Mind.

Most of you right now

Overall Plot

Mean Girls (inspired by Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes) follows Cady Heron as she transfers to North Shore High School after years of home schooling, encountering cliques and struggling with peer pressure while staying true to herself. She’s the Man (based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) shows star soccer player Viola Hastings take her twin brother’s place at Illyria Academy when her school cuts their women’s team, refusing to let the girls try out for the boys’.

Female Lead

Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan were at their best in both movies. No denying that. Each were at their height of both celebrity and talent, and I cannot imagine who else could have played either role.

Hot Guy

This one is no contest. Yes, Jonathan Bennett was the picture of everything I loved in high school. The hair, the height, everything. But he’s up against Channing Tatum pre-Step Up and in his first true, leading, big movie role. Showing he’s more than just a plot device, he demonstrates his comedic chops and willingness to look like a dope to move the movie forward. And here we are over 10 years later still enjoying his wonderful self. Love you long time, Jonathan, but Channing is my guy.

Overall Supporting Cast

I have to give special kudos to Eunice, Principal Gold, and Daphne (Viola’s mom) — they made this decision tough. If we’re speaking in The Rewatchables terms, Julie Hagerty’s Daphne wins the Dion Waiters Award for best heat check performance by a role player. She’s iconic in every way and absolutely steals every scene she’s in.

Quotability and Immersion in the Cultural Zeitgeist

Once again, I have to tip my cap and bow my head to Mean Girls. There’s no denying its immersion in our culture, best exemplified in its quotability. I maintain that She’s the Man is infinitely quotable with gems like, “Oh for the love of God! It burns!” and “Do you…like…cheese?” But unlike Mean Girls, you very likely won’t catch the reference unless you’ve seen it. It is so engrained in the zeitgeist that even the most novice movie fans know exactly what you’re referencing when shouting “You go, Glen Coco!” or calling something fetch. She’s the Man simply cannot compete with Tina Fey. She serves up joke after joke like batting cage pitching machine, each ball straight down the middle of the plate. She’s the Michelangelo of comedy writers, and Mean Girls is her Sistine Chapel.


This might be my most controversial take of the bunch. She’s the Man is more re-watchable than Mean Girls. Hear me out — I never said Mean Girls isn’t re-watchable, but it hits a slight skid on the back half of the film and slows down its breakneck comedic pace. Most great comedies do this; it’s not a unique problem. But that causes me to lose some interest and ruins its overall re-watchability.

Best Use of an Early-00s Chick Rock Song

This is the most self-indulgent category of the bunch. “Forever” by The Veronicas vs. “Overdrive” by Katy Rose. The Veronicas win by a landslide. It’s just a banger of a song and every time Viola hops into that tilt-a-whirl then hits a climax right as she smacks her shitty ex-boyfriend in the face. It’s beyond satisfactory and the perfect selection.

Overall Message

I’m just going to cut to the chase — both have phenomenal morals and I fully support them. She’s the Man just takes the cake for me. I was an athlete growing up, and played baseball on a boy’s team for a long time. But as I got older, my coach told me to move to play softball because I “wouldn’t be able to keep up with the boys.” And while there are fundamental differences between men and women, hearing that comment at a young age made me want to try even harder to prove my abilities and worth alongside men, which continues to this day. Gender equality is immensely important, and while the same goes for women supporting women versus tearing each other down, that particular fight is ever-present in society.

Final Score: She’s the Man — 6, Mean Girls — 2

In conclusion, and speaking as a completely objective third-party outsider with absolutely no personal interest in the matter, She’s the Man wins in a head-to-head battle. We can agree to disagree, and I believe you’re all badass hunky dudes. The limit does not exist for how much I love both films. But my favorite will always be She’s the Man. Also gouda.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marissa Driscoll

Marissa Driscoll


Chicago comedian and pop-culture lover, especially The Bachelor. Pro-corgi. Anti-horse. On Twitter @marissasayswhat. To quote Jeb Bush, "Please clap."