What Legally Blonde teaches our daughters
Elle Woods may have a penchant for pink, but I think she's a great role model for girls...
I am very excited.
I would love to be able to claim that my favourite film was something black and white and French, which everyone knows means you are sophisticated and generally a much better person than anyone who likes to be able to understand what they are watching, but I can’t. One of my all time favourite films is Legally Blonde, closely followed by Legally Blonde 2. Naturellement.
My nearly-nine-year-old daughter Belle is also a massive fan. And yes, I do know it is a 12 certificate, but seriously, no one gets stabbed and there's no gratuitous raunchy bits. It’s fine.
A good role model?
I do have some concerns though about Elle Woods as a role model for young girls, and find myself in a bit of a dilemma. Yes, she is clearly very bright, energetic and enthusiastic, but is the fact that she gets into Harvard Law School on the strength of an application video of her in a bikini really the sort of message I want to be reinforcing?
Do girls watching Legally Blonde feel inspired to smash the glass ceiling, or are they just in it for the ‘bend and snap’?
I decide to get it from the horse’s mouth.
“When you watch Legally Blonde,” I ask Belle out of the blue as she innocently makes me a mint choc chip play-doh ice cream, “how does it make you feel?”
“Huh?” she replies, looking perplexed. Quite fair really.
“You know, does it make you feel ambitious, like you could be a lawyer?” I ask, displaying my journalistic skills at their best – a nice closed, leading question. Excellent.
“I’m eight,” she states flatly, giving me one of her ‘oh Mummy, when will you learn’ looks, “and anyway, what are you typing?”
“Er… nothing,” I mumble, deciding to abandon my questioning for now.
Is it a man's world?
Many people believe that in order to be successful in a traditionally male environment, you have to change your approach, take on more ‘masculine’ characteristics, become cut throat and aggressive. Rubbish. Just because I have a good job doesn’t mean I’m going to start wearing grey suits and being mean to people.
What I love about Legally Blonde is that Elle Woods doesn’t bow to this pressure. She doesn’t stop being herself, even when other people find it shocking, and ultimately this is what makes her stand out.
She has a charming naivety about her, a raw energy and refusal to even consider no as an answer – a spirit that more of us would do well to adopt.
I’m sure the sad reality of a life in law would be different, but I’m happy to have Elle’s naivety rub off on Belle, and for her to believe that she can make anything happen if she really wants to, and that being a girl isn’t going to hold her back.
As far fetched as it might be, I like to think that Legally Blonde teaches us at least one valuable lesson – that you definitely can be professional in pink.
Other role models?
Rosie suggests Kate Winslet
How about Cheryl Cole?
Photo posed by model.
Or a fictional favourite?
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