Monday, September 26, 2016

Legally Blonde, Illegally Represented

           “I don’t need backups. I’m going to Harvard,” stated female protagonist, Elle Woods, in Legally Blonde. This film is about a stereotypical rich girl who suddenly wants to become a lawyer after her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her for Harvard. Initially, Elle is portrayed as a dumb blonde with daddy’s plastic; but as the film continues she proves herself to be a determined and intelligent law student. Elle also manages to graduate top of her class at Harvard. Legally Blonde scored a B on the Representation Test. The film totaled 10 points: 6 points in women, 2 points in men, and 2 points in the bonus section.
            Legally Blonde scored exceptionally high in the women section of the Rep Test with 6 points out of a possible 8 points. Throughout the film, protagonist, Elle Woods proves herself to be better than what people categorize her as. She goes to law school for her ex-boyfriend, Warner, but later discovers that she is above him and can accomplish more without him. Shockingly, she ditches him to become a more successful lawyer than he will ever be. “If I’m gonna be a partner in a law firm by the time I’m 30, I need a boyfriend who’s not such a complete bonehead,” says Elle Woods after ex-boyfriend confesses that he wants to get back together. This shows that women in Legally Blonde are more than just “objects for the male gaze.” Legally Blonde did an excellent job at representing women as powerful human beings and the Rep Test proved that to be true.
            In the men section of the Rep Test, Legally Blonde scored decent. In the beginning of the film, Elle Woods is portrayed glorifying Warner in many ways. She cries tremendously when he dumps her and follows him to Harvard in hopes of becoming his “Jackie Kennedy” instead of his “Marilyn Monroe.” However, later in the film she avoids glorifying Warner and becomes an independent and intelligent law student. Contrary to the norm in movies, Elle eventually proves herself to be better than Warner. This is unusual for women in the film industry because typically the male is displayed as the most intelligent and most successful but in Legally Blonde the female protagonist, Elle Woods, is.
            Legally Blonde scored poorly in Race, Ethnicity& Culture, LGBT People, and People with Disabilities. The film did not include people from many different races besides the African American judge and the Latino pool boy. The female judge was represented in a non-stereotypical way. However, the Latino pool boy was gay and was portrayed in a stereotypical way as well. He talked in a high pitch tone of voice, had a boyfriend, and knew designer brands. This is proof that Legally Blonde failed at representing LGBT people in a respectable way.  The film also did not include even one person with disabilities which is unacceptable for modern movies.
            In my opinion, the Rep Test is a valid way of grading films. It includes 5 very important topics that should be represented in most films (Women, Men, Race, Ethnicity& Culture, LGBT People, and People with Disabilities). Although, I agree with the Rep Test I still think there are some revisions to be made. The Rep Test does an excellent job is grading movies for men and women but is lacking in the Race, Ethnicity& Culture sections. There is only one question under the Race, Ethnicity& Culture section which I don’t think represents those people well enough. Since people of color has become such a big issue in the film industry, I think there needs to be more ways of properly representing them in movies. For example inserting, “ Does this film have people of color without the plot line being about the civil rights?” This would allow more movies to be filmed with people of color in their day to day lives rather than one movement.



  1. Awesome analysis of Legally Blonde. Great representation of women in this film which separates from most films that have to do with politics. I like your opinion on how the Representation Test is a fair way to grade movies especially because I thought the opposite of you. Overall great blog and breakdown of this film.

  2. You made a good point on comparing the beginning of the movie to the end where Elle stops idolizing her boyfriend. I'm surprised legally blonde scored as high as it did because almost all the characters are white. I agree with the comment above in that I thought the rep test wasn't a fair way to grade movies. You did a really good job breaking everything down and analyzing it.

  3. I agree with your grade on this film and your opinion on the Rep test. I wouldn't have thought this film would score as high as it did but after seeing the qualifications it passes on the rep test I now understand why. You also made really good points and showed great examples from this film!