The Character of Elle Woods in the Movie 'Legally Blonde'

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The Character of Elle Woods in the Movie 'Legally Blonde' essay
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Though women have come a long way in the world of equality we are still living in a patriarchal society. Even A list celebrities like Kim Kardashian are underestimated based on looks. Although Harvard law school is equally divided 50-50, between male and female students, only 34% of attorneys are women. Even if women do become attorneys, they are more likely to leave the profession than male lawyers because of the absence of a work-life balance, the unconscious bias of the workplace, and most importantly the unequal pay gap between men and women. Studies have shown that “At mid-career when earning peak, the top 10 percent of female lawyers earn more than 300,000 dollars a year, while the top 10 percent of male lawyers earn more than 500,000 dollars a year” (Day). Legally Blonde uses the character Elle Woods, who at first glance seems to be all looks and no smarts, to break stereotypes given to given to women; such as women always pitting women against each other, the “dumb blonde,” basing smarts on looks, and the mistreatment of women in the workplace.

Legally Blonde is based on the real-life experiences of law-student Amanda Brown (the author of the book) who wrote letters to her family while she was studying law at Stamford, detailing how she felt ostracized and unwelcome by her fellow classmates while studying there (Brand Huber). In the classic comedic movie and novel the character Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. She's the president of her sorority, a Hawaiian Tropic girl, Miss June in her campus calendar, and, above all, a natural blonde. She dates Warner the cutest fraternity boy on campus and wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. “But, there's just one thing stopping Warner (Matthew Davis) from popping the question: Elle is too blonde. “Growing up across the street from Aaron Spelling might mean something in LA, but nothing to Warner's East-Coast blue blood family. So, when Warner packs up for Harvard Law and reunites with an old sweetheart from prep school, Elle rallies all her resources and gets into Harvard, determined to win him back (IMBD).” But law school is a far cry from the comforts of her poolside and the mall. “Elle must wage the battle of her life, for her guy, for herself and for all the blondes who suffer endless indignities everyday” (IMBD).

Elle’s ambition to go to Harvard was seen as a joke by everybody, but Elle believed she could, so she did. At first Elle did not really care about becoming a lawyer-that is until- Warner introduced Elle to his new fiancé Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair). Elle knew her chances of winning him back were slim to none and what mends together a broken heart better than a day at the nail salon? Nothing. That is when Elle met her go to girl of Boston Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge). Paulette and Elle become each other’s wing women- who said girls don’t support other girls? Paulette gave Elle the confidence she needed to not get warren back, but to get back at warren and Elle gave Paulette the tools she needed to score a date either the UPS delivery man- Kyle (Bruce Thompson). Showing her how to do her go to move the Bend and snap. “Bend and Snap honey Bend and Snap- works every time!”

However, in society It Is seen as the norm that “women compete, compare, undermine and undercut one another — at least that is the prevailing notion of how we interact. It is considered exceptional, or at least noteworthy” (Gordon). This stereotype is portrayed by the dynamics between Elle and Vivian. Although Elle tried to befriend Vivian, Vivian dedicate all of her time to making Elle’s life on campus miserable. Weather she was making Elle look bad in front of professors and classmates or inviting her to a Costume party that was not really a costume party. Although it got to Elle at first it actually just made her want that law degree even more and work even harder just so she could show she is no “dumb blonde.” And Elle’s hard work did prove them wrong when she got the class internship with Professor Callahan (Victor Garber), that every student was gunning for. And of course, when Elle proved there was more to her than just looks warren tried to get her back, but Elle stood her ground and focused on herself.

Even though Elle got the internship with Callahan, he still didn’t listen to her even though she had a prior encounter the person on trial Brooke Taylor-Windham a famous fitness instructor who is accused of murdering her husband. Brooke was once Elle's fitness instructor and a member of her sorority. Elle believes Brooke is innocent, but Brooke's stepdaughter, Chutney and the household cabana boy, Mr. Salvatore, say she is guilty, and that they saw Brooke standing over Windham's dead body, covered in his blood. Brooke testifies that she loved her husband and only found him after he had been shot to death.

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Brooke refuses to provide Callahan an alibi, but when Elle visits her in jail, “Brooke admits that she had liposuction on the day of the murder. Public knowledge of this fact would ruin Brooke's reputation as a fitness instructor 9” (Wikipedia), so Elle agrees to keep it secret and refuses to reveal the alibi to Callahan, citing “attorney-client privilege”. Proving that she supports rather women and raises them up rather than tearing them down.

The case against Brooke begins to fall apart when Elle deduces that the cabana boy is gay after he correctly identifies Elle's shoe style as Prada, because, as she says, 'straight men don't know designers'. “Callahan brushes off Elle's opinion as ridiculous, but during the cross-examination, Emmett tricks Mr. Salvatore into identifying his boyfriend in court, proving that his testimony about having an affair with Brooke was a lie” (Legally blonde Wiki).

After court is adjourned for the day, Callahan invites Elle into his office, where he sexually assaults her, touching her without her consent and making suggestive comments. “Vivian only sees the touching and misinterprets this interaction as Elle trying to advance her career by sleeping with Callahan. In her anger, however, she does not notice Elle's clearly visible body language and discomfort” (Legally Blonde Wiki). After Elle storms out of Callahan's office, rather than report the sexual assault for fear of not being believed, and afraid of the power Callahan could hold over her future, Elle decides to quit law school altogether because Callahan only gave her the internship because she was “hot” and she no longer believed she was smart enough for law school. “Only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police. That means about 3 out of 4 sexual assaults go unreported and 20 % of those reported are reported by female college students” (RAINN). Similar to Elle more than 80% of sexual assault victims are assaulted by somebody they know. Vivian confronts Elle in an elevator and all but calls her a disgusting harlot and somewhat blames the victim.

The next day, Emmett, her Teacher’s Assistant explains Elle's encounter with Callahan to Vivian and Brooke. Brooke is enraged and Vivian realizes her mistake. Before the trial continues, Brooke dismisses Callahan and hires Elle as her new attorney with Emmett supervising after Emmet lovingly convinced Elle to stay in law school. Vivian regrets the way she acted towards Elle and apologizes too Elle. Elle being the lady that she is happily accepts the apology and becomes close friends with Vivian- because girls don’t need to be competing against each other, women are so much more powerful when they come together!

Elle went to court in her pink dress, pink shoes, pink purse and pink pen ready to win the case, with Emmett by her side- and that she did- something Callahan could never have done, because only Elle wood would know that it is the “first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you're forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate” (movie) Because of Elle’s knowledge of beauty combined with her new knowledge of law, the victim’s daughter Chutney was found guilty of her father’s murder. Elle went from not being listened to, to winning a high-profile murder case, proving that what women have to say is important and deserves to be heard.

Elle proved to the court room and all of Harvard law school that pretty blonde sorority girls can graduate from Harvard law. Not only did Elle get a law degree from Harvard she graduated with honors, job offers and new friends, and Warner graduated with nothing. The story of Elle Woods showed that not all women need to hate each other, and you don’t need a man to get you far in life. Even though legally blonde was published and became a movie over 18 years ago, In today’s world I think all women can feel like they have some sort of commonality with Elle, whether it is her love for pink, her feelings towards love, her relationships with other women, her experience as a women in law school or her experience with assault. Legally Blonde is, unfortunately- still pertinent to the world today.

Some may consider the modern-day Elle Woods to be, A list celebrity, Instagram influencer and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian who is studying to become a layer. In California you don’t need to go to Law school to become a lawyer so Kim is “completing a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm so she can take the California bar exam in 2022” (Criss). Even though she is not experiencing law school like Elle did Kim is still being doubted by essentially everybody, simply because of her looks.

Elle showed that you can do anything that you put your mind to, and even if it seems impossible and nobody else believes in you, as long as you believe in yourself that’s all you need to make your dreams come true. She broke stereotypes given to women in the workplace and showed what all women can be capable of as long as they believe in themselves As Elle wood says in her graduation speech ''On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle: “The law is reason free from passion.' Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law -- and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.'

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Expert Review
This essay provides an overview and analysis of the movie "Legally Blonde," highlighting its themes of women's empowerment and challenging stereotypes. The writer successfully examines how the protagonist, Elle Woods, defies societal expectations and navigates challenges to prove her capabilities. The essay delves into Elle's character development, her interactions with other characters, and her triumphs. The inclusion of real-life examples, like Kim Kardashian, adds contemporary relevance. The essay effectively discusses themes of female solidarity and self-belief. The analysis showcases the film's message of resilience and empowerment, paralleling it with modern examples. However, the essay could benefit from a more structured organization, a clearer thesis statement, and a deeper exploration of specific scenes to support the points being made.
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What can be improved
Clear Thesis Statement: Formulate a concise thesis statement at the beginning that explicitly states the focus of the essay and the main points it intends to address. Organization Enhancement: Rearrange the essay to follow a logical flow, moving from the introduction to specific themes and examples in a clear order. Scene Analysis: Incorporate specific scenes from the movie to support the analysis and arguments being presented. Quoting dialogues or describing significant moments can provide more depth. Thematic Exploration: Dive deeper into the analysis of themes like women's solidarity, self-belief, and empowerment, connecting them to the broader message of the film. Conclusion Summation: Summarize the main points discussed and restate the thesis in the conclusion to reinforce the essay's central message.
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The Character of Elle Woods in the Movie ‘Legally Blonde’. (2020, November 26). WritingBros. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from
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The Character of Elle Woods in the Movie 'Legally Blonde' essay

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