Feminist Film Theory: Legally Blonde Essay

2101 words - 8 pages

Christine LeeReel Research: Screen and Scholarship3/11/2012Legally Blonde: Feminist Film TheoryFeminism is a movement that has had a great impact in the world of film, and how we interpret it. During the second wave of feminism that occurred throughout the United States, feminist scholars began developing and applying more theories, that arose during this movement, to the way they analyzed film. The various tactics and topics that are contained under the umbrella of feminist film theory are, but not limited to, sexism, female stereotypes, and gender discrimination. Though these are issues that were more prominent during the post world war II era, they are themes that are internalized in modern day movies. Robert Luketic's Legally Blonde, is an archetypal example of a film that depicts the countless stereotypes created by society, a few being gender roles, blondes vs. brunettes, and the many stereotypes of women.Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White's work, The Film Experience, states that the difference between the sexes is culturally internalized and valued. It might not be apparent, but parents establish these values while we are children. Girls are handed Barbie Dolls, play house, and are raised to believe that they should be the beautiful stay-at-home trophy wives. Boys on the other hand are taught to be aggressive and become the breadwinners of a family. This stereotype of gender roles is first introduced in Legally Blonde when the main character Elle Woods tells her parents she wants to attend Harvard Law School in a pursuit to win back her boyfriend Warner Huntington III. When the first glimpse of her father is shown, he is holding a martini and appears to be an older gentleman as well as incredibly rich. When we're introduced to her mother it is apparent that she is the embodiment of the ideal trophy wife. She has beautiful blonde hair, full lips and chest, and it is obvious that she doesn't work, therefore fulfilling the gender role stereotype since it proves that her husband is to be credited for their wealthy lifestyle. Elle's mother first response was "You were first runner up at the Miss Hawaii Tropics Contest, why are you going to throw that all away?" This gives r indication of where her values lie. She believes Elle should be more concerned about her looks than pursuing her education, basically saying that her beautiful appearance is a waste if she went to Harvard.The stereotype of the trophy wife portrayed by this film is brought upon by the ideology of the "All-American woman" and what she should look like, which is another stereotype apparent in this movie. Because girls are given Barbie Dolls, we have this idea in our head that the typical All-American woman should resemble closely to that of a Barbie Doll; Caucasian, blonde hair, blue eyes, and most importantly, skinny with a large chest and proportionate body size. This is actually the first stereotype that is introduced in the movie Legally Blonde. When the movie begins, we...

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