The movie Legally Blonde was one of the most popular and well-known movies in the early 2000s. While this movie is seen as a lightweight, “girly” type of comedy and romance movie, I believe it demonstrates real struggles women face on a daily basis. In a nutshell, this movie is about a young woman named Elle Woods who initially sets off to go to Harvard to win her boyfriend back, after getting broken up with for “not being serious enough”. As she emerges on this journey to get him back, she ends up finding herself, as well as discovering she is much more than what people perceive her to be. She does this all while dealing with stereotypes, misogyny and sexual harassment.
In the beginning of the movie, she is seen as a sorority girl who’s only good for shopping and getting her nails done. While there is nothing wrong with liking those things, many people underestimated her since she liked to show her femininity quite often. To them, they saw that as a sign of weakness. On several occasions, she was taken as a “dumb blonde” and tried to be fooled until she stood up for herself and proved them otherwise. Not to mention she was judged and not taken seriously for wanting to attend Harvard Law School. She constantly gets minimized by the people around her based on her interests and her appearance. Her parents didn’t have faith in her along with many other people seeing as for them, she wasn’t smart or capable enough to survive there. Although, nothing let that stop her from achieving her goal.
As she continues to settle down in her new school life, she continuously gets mocked by classmates and teachers. Considering how challenging it can be to live and study in a somewhat male-dominated field, it is even harder getting knocked down and tormented by other women. This is something almost every woman has experienced in their lives and it is sadly something that is all too common in our society. We live in a toxic society where people stereotype woman which also leads to women bringing other women down and the cycle continues. In the movie, Elle goes against the normal “mean girl” stereotype by being this bubbly, sweet and sunny person, who tries to create a respectful environment with some of the other women in her class (mainly her ex boyfriends fiancé Vivian). Although, Vivian as well as the rest of them completely disregard that and become a cruel bully to Elle for no reason. This just shows how toxic society is and how it can influence people to be inhumane to others.
Later on, in the movie, Elle and some other classmates were assigned to work on a case with their professor at his firm. This was a very exciting opportunity for her since she had worked so hard to get to where she was. However, one night her professor was sexually inappropriate with her after everyone else had left. He also indicated that the only way she could make it as a lawyer was if she crossed boundaries and got sexual with him. After she immediately told him off, she left only to be accused by a fellow associate (Vivian) that she was the one to initiated this inappropriate act. This incident caused her question her place in the firm and resulted in her almost quitting law school, until one of her female professors encouraged her to go back and fight for what she had worked for. This event just goes to show how women are constantly being sexually harassed and violated in work environments. Not to mention that they are the ones who are more likely blamed for these incidents instead of the men.
While her initial intention to attend Harvard wasn’t exactly a good reason, since no woman should ever have to go out of their way to change and prove themselves to any man, she soon realizes to achieve all these obstacles for herself and to anyone who ever doubted her, all while staying true to her identity. She refused to let anyone’s opinions about her affect her work and success. Instead, she studied hard and worked hard to prove to everyone else and herself that she is capable. This movie was made at a different time, so some aspects of the film I didn’t necessarily agree with but there were definitely several key points that demonstrated the struggles women have to deal with as well as some positive aspects we should learn from.