Author: Adele Barlow

What TCKs can learn from ‘Mean Girls’

Mean Girls won’t win any Oscars, but peel away the glossy angst, and it is sociologically brilliant. The movie follows Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) as she starts her first day at an American high school. We quickly learn that Cady, a child of research zoologists, spent 12 years growing up in Africa. “P.S., Cady is a TCK” should have gone into the credits. “I had a great life [in Africa]” Cady narrates. “And then… my mom was offered tenure at Northwestern University. And it was goodbye Africa, hello high school.” Sound familiar? The sudden move from one culture to another provides a slew of Third Culture Kid moments, visible from just the first 10 minutes of the movie. On her first day of school in Illinois, Cady’s American parents are thoroughly unaware of how difficult the cultural transition could be for her. Walking up to the African-American students, Cady says “Jambo” in Swahili. She also deals with comments like, “So, if you’re from Africa – why are you white?” (“Oh my god Karen,” …