You don’t have to change to be successful in this world.
Legally Blonde is a 2001 film focuses on Elle Woods (Resse Witherspoon) a seemingly dumb lipstick blonde of fashion and materialism, who makes a highly unexpected decision of pursuing a Law degree at Harvard, in pursuit of her thought to be Prince Charming. Underneath its pink coloured heels and chihuahuas, beholds a film on feminism from the early 2000s. Directed by Robert Luketic, Legally Blonde is an entertaining and lighthearted comedy drama unashamed of its unrelenting feminist themes.
Going beyond Expectations of Others and SelfSo what is feminism really all about?
You are not the expectation of others.
Often I am conflicted by the idea that I am nothing but the perception of what the people around me think I am. Thinking back to impressions I’ve accidentally made on people that I just met, or the surface level letters of recommendation my teachers have written to get me into interviews, the only reason why I am where I am and who I am is purely based on what others think of me. And we all know that networking is the most important thing nowadays, and I am only able to truly exist and my life has been lived based on the impressions I make on paper. Expectations are made simply by the ooze of confident strides by the way people walk, speak or present themselves. These can be damaging to oneself’s image, as ‘people pleasing’ tendencies are becoming increasingly common. Once you break the mould of what someone expects of you, a frown would be cast and a fear of being ostracised or be deemed ‘useless’ as you do not fall into the required scope of a role imposed. The rate of replaceability compels a rat race of forcing yourself to best fit into the expectation of a superior hand.
Like Elle, a girly girl who fits the expectation of what a naive, dumb blonde would be. Dressed sexily in pink, face full of make-up studying fashion, well loved and popular amongst peers with similar interests. It comes as a shock for her to pursue a law degree, though she has proven herself to be of the intellect that can surpass most. Even her parents doubt her decision.
Understandably, it is an abnormality for someone of her proven capacity in fashion, to make a life altering decision to study something the world would consider opposite of the binary in education, Law.
It is the assumption that a person can only fit into an already established mould, it usually presents a shock whenever someone tries to break it. Isn’t it strange, when every person knows the uniqueness of every single being in this world, they’ll be like “hUHHHHHH??”.
It is acknowledged that Elle Woods does make this decision on an impulse. However she proves herself capable of the system and does it in her own unique way. It is a choice, a challenge that even she herself didn’t expect.
I don’t think expectations should be challenged. Challenge, is what you do with expectations. Challenge the Unknown.
Throughout history, women have lacked various human rights. This includes but is not limited to the right to vote, the right to work, and relational autonomy.
Historically known to virtually everyone, women haven’t had exactly a very pleasant experience. The fight for basic rights to free will, education and even our own bodies are still challenged today. Most notably is the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which constituted the right of Women to have abortion in the USA since 1973.
Today, the casual observation on the internet has shown parts of feminism to desire to become the men that has oppressed them. Standing for Equality, it is hypocritical of feminists to be men-haters.
Even I myself, these days do not have the desire to be associated with the term of feminism, as it has grown to have a negative connotation. Though not many, but some feminists have made a bad image that all they want to do is take over the role of men, purely reversing the (highly debated existence of) gender binary of current status quo instead of making change towards equality. Another example is the dislike of things that are seen as feminine. Things like dressing up, manicures, wearing high heels are frowned upon by ‘modern feminists’ to remove oneself from the stereotypes of being a girl.
Often in the media when we see a display of the ‘rebellious, quirky girl who hates ‘girly’ things’ throws her unique personality traits away to ‘grow up’ into the stereotype ‘she was pretty all along’ woman.
I look at this film and see a woman not changing herself, not fulfilling the expectation of others, angry at how male oppression and threats can be made in the workplace. Instead of focusing on the rage and disappointment of the patriarchal system, Elle uses her own strengths and turns it into her advantage. Her knowledge and past experiences, leveraging on her own unique ideas and skills she has acquired, she learns more about the world and how to push for change positively.
Quotes from members of SGNewWave
“Elle’s wins people over by being kind, supportive, and “using her blonde for good” showing that feminine traits dont reduce the idea of feminism, and instead work as a pillar of strength for women.” – Eunice