Legally Blonde may be the most subversive comedy I’ve watched in a long time. And I don’t think I appreciated that about it as much as I should have the first time I watched it.
Released in 2001, it’s presented as a traditional Rom-Com, where Reece Witherspoon plays a blonde (Elle Woods) who is clearly too stupid to get into Harvard Law School, yet somehow does anyway. And this presentation does the film a huge disservice. That isn’t the story at all.
Which is why it’s making me feel pumped up about the choices I’m trying to make to better myself.
I want to go to code camp, you see. I have tried to work my 40 hour weeks (at a job that is demanding physical labor, and requiring emotional resources) and then come home and study code and I can’t. My brain just doesn’t work, I find the exercise frustrating and exhausting. So I want to go away to camp.
I’m scared though. I’m not the typical student (I mean, sure, they talk a big game about welcoming people who are changing careers or learning a new skill, but they also want you to have a git repository to share in your application. Mixed messages much?) nor am I a typical CS type. If there is such a thing. I’ve been apprehensive about applying to camp when my favorite color is pink, I prefer a good pencil skirt to a pair of jeans all things being equal, and I own more red lipsticks than I do coffee cups. Although, to be fair, I had the perfect coffee cup, so why would I really need to buy another one?
I’ve been pre-judging myself. Assuming that how other people see my presentation is going to be as a ditzy girl who isn’t serious enough for camp. Who can’t learn to code. I’ve been assuming that I’m Elle Woods, just going to Harvard to get my boyfriend back.
But that’s not actually what the movie is about. There’s a key scene that articulates the subversive message of the film, the thing we’ve been building to the whole time. Elle looks at Luke Wilson’s character and asks what if she’s pretending to be something she’s not. And he responds, “What if you’re pretending to be something you are?”
It’s time for me to own that maybe, just maybe, I’m pretending to be something I am. I have a friend who talks about how badass flamingos are, while they’re pink and ornamental looking. I can be pink (loving and haired) and still be a badass.