Warning: What I’m about to say may make you feel old.
Ten years ago this week, Legally Blonde was released in theaters.
How is this possible? Looking at the facts, I know that it’s true, but I just can’t believe that Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods has been in my life for a full decade. (Of course, I’m so glad that she has been.) To celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the most pink-infused, girl power movies of all time, I have to honor Legally Blonde as this week’s Fab Flick Friday pick.
If you heard a ten second elevator pitch for this movie, it might not exactly sound like a feminist film. A
sorority girl, dumped by her boyfriend, Warner, for not being “serious enough” for his future, decides to win him back by following him to Harvard Law. Not really what most of us would think of when we hear the words “female empowerment,” but female empowerment is exactly what this movie is about. Elle Woods is a shining example of a “go your own way” woman, and she exemplifies those tried and true life lessons we’ve all been taught since we were children - lessons that, unfortunately, some of us need to occasionally be reminded of. California
1. Don’t Judge Anyone By What You See on the Surface. Ever.
As a girl who loves pink, small dogs, fluffy pens and cute shoes, I know what it’s like to not always be taken seriously. I also know how ridiculous that mentality is. When Elle arrives at Harvard with loads of luggage, dressed in bright colors, toting her adorable dog’s portable water bowl, everyone snickers. And why? Because she likes to shop, she doesn’t belong in law school? She got accepted, just like everyone else. She ends up being top of her class, and valedictorian. The fact that she likes her manicures doesn’t mean she can’t have a brain, and fortunately, before long, Elle proves that to all of her naysayers.
2. Be Nice to Others
Though almost everyone is initially rude to Elle, she is always kind to everyone in return. Bottom line: Kindness wins.
3. Girlfriends Matter
There are a lot of movies out there about girls tearing each other down, which makes sense because, unfortunately, in real life, some girls live for that. But not Elle Woods. Her sorority sisters help her cram for the LSATs. She gets a 179. She befriends Paulette the Manicurist and helps her get her dog, her confidence, and the UPS guy. Elle knows that treating others as you wish to be treated and helping people out is not that difficult to do, and the support system you get in return? Invaluable.
4. Getting the Guy in the End is NOT What Matters
Spoiler alert: Elle does not end up with Warner. She realizes not long after getting to
that he is a conceited, shallow, not very bright jerk. But of course, Warner was never really the point. The point is that Elle finds her own voice, her own future, and her own success. And when she does find love in the end –spoiler alert #2 – with Luke Wilson’s Emmett, that’s really just an added bonus. She’d be fine without him, but his cute little smile and encouraging nods do make things kind of fun. Cambridge
5. Be Yourself
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Elle is meeting with her orientation group, and everyone tries to one up each other by hyping their degrees, IQ scores and accomplishments in the same blasé, pretentious attitude. (I think we all know these people.) Then Elle introduces herself and her dog, Bruiser, as Gemini vegetarians, and everyone gives her a dull stare. And why? Elle is the only one in that group who isn’t trying to prove anything; she’s just being herself, and pretty soon, by doing just that, she surges ahead of all of her classmates, winding up as the lead attorney in a murder trial. Even better, she ends up winning that trial, proving her client’s innocence by using her knowledge of hair care – something only Elle could do. Elle owns who she is – her pink, scented resumes, her one-of-a-kind video admissions essay, her familiarity with beauty regimens – and because of that, she rises straight to the top, proving that the best thing you can do in life is simply be yourself.
Legally Blonde is not only an empowering movie for women, it’s just a flat out enjoyable comedy for everyone, filled with great performances by the entire cast. It’s got a witty script, a fantastic soundtrack, and let’s be honest, after ten years, Elle’s wardrobe is still so fun to look at. (That pink wrap dress she wears in court? I still want that dress.) So, thank you, Legally Blonde for giving us a decade’s worth of entertainment, and thank you for conveying the most important message of all:
Smart women do wear pink.