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“What, like it’s hard?” We were gifted with the absolute gem of a film that is Legally Blonde 20 years ago today. In the time since it’s release, Elle Woods has inspired countless young women not only to realize their self-worth, but even inspired a great many women to strive for law school. Let me preface all of this by saying: I love this movie. I will watch it every time it’s on tv, I will seek out certain scenes for a laugh or for comfort. 

Pretty in Pink 

Legally Blonde was the first film I had ever seen where the main character was allowed to like pink and be traditionally feminine, while also being shown as smart and kind. Before Elle Woods I knew Regina George (Legally Blonde came out in 2001 when I was still too young to have seen it, whereas Mean Girls came out in 2003 and I was able to watch it a few years after) and Sharpay Evans. It was ingrained in me that the blonde popular, feminine girl was always expected to be mean. But Elle Changed that. Suddenly the popular blonde girl who loved pink was also extremely hardworking and dedicated, smart enough to get a near-perfect score on her LSAT and kind enough to help her friend get her dog back.  

When I first joined my sorority, I was afraid it would be less Legally Blonde and more Sorority Row. Terrified that I’d be hazed, that everyone would be mean, imagine my relief when it really WAS more Legally Blonde than I had imagined. The women I met were kind, helpful, and some of the smartest people I’ve ever met (most of them were nursing, meteorology, or computer science majors). Studying and grades were a huge focus for all of us within the organization, as was building sisterhood and participating in philanthropy. Many of my sisters also went on to law school, where they’re still kicking ass today.

Life Lessons with Elle 

I learned to appreciate this film more in a college setting. To this day you can still find Pinterest boards with motivation sourced from Elle Woods, from “what, like it’s hard?” To “you must always have faith in yourself” to an internet favorite, “live every day like Elle Woods after Warner said she wasn’t smart enough for law school.” 

College boyfriend dumped you? “He was a Warner, you’ll find your Emmett soon.” Elle is dedicated beyond belief, with enough drive to not only get into Harvard Law, but a solid enough sense of self where she doesn’t allow herself to become someone else in the process. The study montage alone makes me wanna sit down and study for the LSATs, even though I in NO way would survive law school. Elle really said “I don’t need backups, I’m going to Harvard” and that’s the kind of energy we could all use in our lives. 

Legally Blonde: 20 Years Later 

In the 20 years since, we’ve gotten a direct sequel where Elle gets into politics, a spinoff movie involving Elle’s “British cousins”, and a Broadway musical, with Legally Blonde 3 already on the way. 

Legally Blonde gave us the story of an underestimated woman who manages to prove everyone wrong. And it does all of it while communicating a message of kindness. The film never gives in to cattiness between Vivian and Elle (even though Elle’s initial goal was to get Warner back). It also stays away from the main goal of “securing a man” as the final outcome for Elle. Not even halfway into the film she abandons the goal of getting Warner back and starts to take her law degree even more seriously. The ending is SO satisfying, seeing Elle as valedictorian, with Vivian as a close friend, and Emmett as a loving, supportive boyfriend; while Warner “graduated without honors, without a girlfriend, and without any job offers”. 

Here’s to many years to come of Elle Woods inspiring others to be true to themselves, and to take the leap into becoming legally blonde. 

Selected quote: “What, like it’s hard?”

By Hannah

Lover of all things geeky.

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