Elle Woods, welcome to Harvard

ELLE WOODS

Lawyer, Philanthropist, Sorority President, Activist, Vegetarian, Gemini

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Elle faces challenges that we all face in our day to day lives. She’s faced with a new environment where she doesn’t know anybody. A polar opposite of what she is used to.  Her peers at Harvard don't take her seriously because she looks different and acted differently. 

Basically a fish out of water in Harvard. Elle shows a lot of ambition. She works hard to get into Law School (maybe not for the right reasons) and continues to work harder once she realizes that the only opinion that matters is her own. She gets a spot in a much-coveted internship. She faces misogyny and sexual harassment with her professor and immediately shuts it down. She encompasses a strong ambition and intelligence that I think a lot of women can look up to. Plus, she does this all wearing some truly iconic outfits.

 

In this specific scene, Elle's advisor is taken aback that she would want to pursue Law School. Although her advisor does hesitate a bit, she gives Elle want she needs to get into Law School. She believes in her! (at least that's how I choose to read this scene).

Now, there is an understanding that Elle certainly embodies a certain form white privilege. Born in California, raised in Beverly Hills, Elle's privilege is used against her, but once Elle becomes focused on being the best lawyer she can be, she stops letting her privilege define her. 

“If I’m going to be a partner in a law firm by the time I’m 30, I’m going to need a boyfriend who’s not such a bonehead.” - Elle Woods

Some of the reasons why I think Elle Woods is such an important character in our feminist history:

  • The way she holds herself. Elle is one of the kindest women in cinematic history. She's polite and thoughtful to everyone she meets. Her bright attitude throws off everyone in Boston, but she does not let it kill her optimism and enthusiasm
  • Although her reason for applying to Harvard are questionable, Elle shows persistence and AMBITION REGARDLESS. She puts 110% in everything she does. 
    • She scores higher than she needed to on her LSATs (meaning, SHE STUDIED HARD).
    • She follows her intuition even when everyone tells her to do otherwise. 
  • Her feminity is often looked at as a weakness. She loves fashion, dresses in pink, etc 
  • The list is endless, ok. 
“What makes Elle’s personal feminism so powerful is that she doesn’t change herself to fit any kind of idea. She puts her nose to the grindstone and becomes the best law student she can be, but she never gives up fashion or personal interests. She’s proudly herself while dominating in her field.” -- Kevin O'Keeffe
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Honestly, I only have glowing things to say about this movie and Elle Woods as a character in our film + feminist history.

If you haven't already watched this movie, I hope this brings you to it. Leave a comment below on your favorite parts of this movie! or any other amazing fictional feminist icons! 

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