When I first watched Legally Blonde - it blew me away. Truly, it was one of the films that really inspired me and potentially really changed my life; and yet since, it's fallen out of favour as the people around me deemed it to be a negative chick flick, you know girls sobbing over boys and wearing pink with adorable fashion montages? Don't get me wrong, either, I'm all for a good chick flick - but it's wrong to pass Legally Blonde off as one when honestly, in my opinion, it's one of the best mainstream feminist film offerings produced within our generation.
No, seriously. I mean it - it really is. Let's start with Elle - even before she shows any talent for law, we see how smart Elle is within her current educational path (fashion merchandising) ; we see her argue the quality of a dress with a sales assistant, we know she has a 4.0 grade point average in her chosen subject, and beyond that she has risen to become president of her sorority. Before we move on I feel the need to point out that this isn't a rags to riches story; Elle didn't start off thinking she was stupid, she knows how smart she is just in a different field and, in itself, this is pretty refreshing.
It mustn't be overlooked that it's heavily suggested that Elle gets into Harvard for the way she came across in her video, and so it's likely that it was based on her looks - however, it is also important to recognise that her grades match up to that which she needed to get into the school. Elle, in a matter of weeks, got a higher SAT score than we can presume Warner did though he worked all of his life and had a family legacy at Harvard (so shown by the fact that he was waitlisted whilst Elle was not). In fact - out of a possible 180 SAT score, Elle got a 179 meaning that she managed to achieve an almost perfect score in no time at all. You go, Elle, seriously.
More than this - Elle shows just how smart she is; in a way that the students around her can't seem to, she applies law to her real life experiences in order to understand and learn. But this is more than just a post about how smart Elle is, because we shouldn't overlook important other feminist aspects of the film; the fact that a huge majority of the film doesn't actually revolve around Elle's love life at all, the fact that Elle's relationship with Warner's new girlfriend is highlighted and they become friends, the fact that there are, in fact, a huge amount of female characters that are both inspiring to and inspired by Elle in equal amounts.
Legally Blonde is a film that shows that you don't need to be pretty OR smart, you don't need to pick between being who you are and falling in love - and it taught girls everywhere that wearing pink and being a woman doesn't have to be the thing that you consider to be a downfall. So today, proudly bend and snap because Elle Woods didn't sleep her way to the top, or love her way to the top, or cheat her way to the top - she worked damn hard, and inspired thousand if not millions of other women to do the same.