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6 feminist lessons from ‘Legally Blonde’ on its 15 th anniversary

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Reese Witherspoon in ‘Legally Blonde’
Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

15 years ago today the world was eternally changed when a perky pink-clad statute student bend and snapped her route into our hearts. That’s right, it’s the 15 th anniversary of Legally Blonde .

Feel old yet?

Luckily “were not receiving” age restriction for loving Reese Witherspoon’s turn as Elle Woods, who came to realize she didn’t need a man to be happy and successful.

Though the film is lacking in some ways( the cast is whiter than mayonnaise on white bread, and the lesbian pool son stuff is a bit problematic ), it’s full of beautiful lessons for burgeoning feminists everywhere. Below are six feminist lessons we can learn, all while rocking out to that epic soundtrack( or you can listen to the amazing musical adaptation. Trust us, it’s gold ).

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover, or a girl by her designer shoes

The film hinges on the idea that Elle, a stereotypical rich California girl, is constantly underestimated by others. She even underestimates herself a few periods. But her sheer confidence in get into Harvard is an inspiration. Just because she’s style preoccupied and loves her soap operas doesn’t entail she can’t get a 179 on her LSATs.

2. There’s no one type of woman, or a right type of woman

Every woman in Legally Blonde is different and important in their own route. There are more stereotypically feminine females like Elle and her sorority sisters, but there are also entrepreneurs( Brooke Windham ), lawyers and profs( Professor Stromwell ), working class females( Paulette ), upper class girls( Chutney and her mom ), queer revolutionary feminists( Enid ), and Elle’s rival-turned-friend Vivian as her polar opposite. Yes, this movie passes the Bechdel test, but more importantly it showcases many different women with different pasts, attitudes, and professions. While not everyone is a fully-fleshed out character the movie’s not that long many are, which would not have happened in a lesser film.

3. Sisterhood is key

With so many different women onscreen, and a female romantic rivalry present the moment Elle gets to Harvard, it’s freshening to watch so many supportive female relationships depicted in the movie. Despite being a stereotype in so many routes, Elle isn’t catty or entail spirited. She attempts to bond with all the women she satisfies, presuming a universal sisterhood like the one that was so beautifully seen from her sorority which continues once we satisfy Brooke. This sisterhood brings together women who otherwise may never have become friends. Elle and Paulette become very close, with both dames getting advice and support from the other. Elle’s professor Stromwell may be a hardline educator, but when times are tough she also comes through with encouragement. Even Vivian, Elle’s rival, opts her burgeoning friendship over her jerky boyfriend.

Sisters before misters, guys.

4. Never give up, never surrender

Even if you’re chuckled out of classrooms and parties, misunderstood by your classmates, and alone in a new city, you are able to win in the end. Sure, Elle has more resources than the average person as a rich white female, but in the context of her Harvard Law experience she is a hardworking self-made woman. She refuses to let other people’s sentiments and misogyny stop her.

5. Love is important, but self-love is the most important

Yes, Elle originally went to Harvard to try and win back her college boyfriend Warner, and most of her early decisions there were to induce herself seem desirable to him. But it didn’t take too long for the indomitable Ms. Woods to realize that she was a damn good law student who didn’t need a man.

While incredibly confident in her California life, once Elle find her footing in the intimidating world of the East Coast academic upper-clas, she was able to see a fulfilling future that didn’t rely on being Warner’s eye candy. Yes, she found love with another man( puppy puppy Emmett ), but in an equal relationship and only after finding fulfillment within. Proving to spectators that seeing a caring partner is wonderful, but not at the expense of your individualism and not as a route to “complete” yourself. Elle is complete already.

6. The Bend and Snap is still a fun, silly dance

It is a possibility problematic as a seduction trump-card, but acknowledge it: you and your friends have definitely Bend and Snapped your route through a sleepover or two.

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