15 Years Later, Elle Woods is Still One of Our Favorite Feminists

It’s the 15th anniversary of Legally Blonde—and we should all still be giving this movie some big feminist snaps. Protagonist Elle Woods is an intelligent, compassionate, fabulous woman who challenges countless stereotypes about women and proves there is no such thing as a “dumb blonde.” Although it’s continuously dismissed as “just another chick-flick,” Legally Blonde was a film with a multi-dimensional female lead who was fun, smart and feminist.

Although the movie begins with Elle following her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School, it ends with her having stared down sexism time and time again without so much as breaking a nail. Her parents tell her she’s too pretty for law school. She’s accused of being “not serious enough,” dumb and weak. She’s called a ‘skank’. She’s falsely accused of sleeping her way to the top. She faces sexual harassment. Again and again, she’s reduced to her breasts and blonde hair. But throughout it all, she remains true to herself. She proves that her bubbly personality and love of the color pink do not make her inferior—that her femininity is an asset rather than a disadvantage.

Elle overcomes countless adversities in the pursuit of academic excellence and an established law career, all while wearing a pink suit. That’s definitely something still worth celebrating.


Maeve is a recent graduate from Occidental College in Los Angeles, where she studied English Literature; Creative Writing; and Gender, Women and Sexuality. She is a former Ms. editorial intern and editor of multiple Lit mags and feminist zines and is currently working on a book of essays and making a documentary film.