I remember when I first watched Legally Blonde, and thought it was about this girly-girl who magically gets into Harvard Law school and played the stereotypical “have it all” attitude in order to come out victorious in the end.
However, after returning to this film several years later, and finally understanding its message, I realize how powerful and profound this seemingly simple movie can be. It has easily jumped to becoming one of my favorite movies of all time.
That’s because of Elle Woods. Elle Hardcore-I-Don’t-Care-What-People-Think-Of-Me-Woods. Yes, you read that correctly. Elle is a feminist through and through, and I truly believe she should be recognized as an icon, regardless of being a fictional character.
The movie relies on age-old stereotypes to enhance Elle’s personality. That is why Elle is portrayed as the “typical” upper crust white female. She wears designer clothes, is popular and president of her sorority; and she has wealthy parentages who can assure she never has to work a day in her life. On top of all that she has the dream boyfriend.
These external characteristics can be so flashy, it might be hard to crack open the book that is her outer shell and look into the pages lying within her. Elle is constantly fighting against people’s judgments and stereotypes in order to prove that having pink as your favorite color is nothing to be ashamed about.
She’s smart, and she knows it, but she must go to great lengths to prove to all who doubt her that her intellect is as much a part of her as her style. The first indication of her intelligence was the reference to her degree. She graduated college with a 4.0, in fashion merchandising, and calls upon her beauty expertise throughout the film.
The plot takes a turn when Elle decides she wants to go Harvard Law School to pursue her ex-boyfriend who claimed she wasn’t smart enough to be seen with him. She proves him wrong in every possible way, first by gaining admittance and thereafter by excelling in all of her classes,
She’s classy but assertive. Elle doesn’t talk about people behind their backs. She looks for the good in everyone, and she encourages her friends to pursue their dreams. Being kind opens up doors for Elle, as she scores an internship and makes connections with many different types of people. She’s assertive because she doesn’t beat around the bush. Elle doesn’t exaggerate. She can get her point across without having to go into much detail.
Above all, Elle is confident. Perhaps this is the reason I admire her so much. She wasn’t born yesterday. She is well aware of the assumptions people make about her. Yet she manages to overcome all judgments and put-downs. Elle’s confidence radiates, and everyone who comes into contact with her can see it. She ultimately wins what could have been a false accusation trial, because she trusted herself and her knowledge of the law and fashion and cosmetology.
\Elle Woods taught me that feminism comes in all shapes and sizes. She taught me that it is possible to be a leader by NOT following in the footsteps of others, but by charting your own path. She also taught me that in the end, being kind but assertive will get you places after all.