The importance of open-minded knowledge from female interests

Essay by Reems411College, Undergraduate October 2008

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Legally Blonde illustrates to the audience how a woman of any stature and personality can succeed in law school. Most importantly, the film defies the patriarchal image of law school emphasizing that women can still be feminine and not have a PhD in biochemistry or a 187 I.Q. to succeed in law school. The film argues that significant qualities of open-minded knowledge gained from female interests are necessary to succeed as a female lawyer in a male-dominated society of law school.

Legally Blonde argues that an open-minded knowledge gained from females’ interests is significant to the success as a lawyer in a masculine-dominated law school. In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods uses insight to state that her client is innocent by declaring, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” The knowledge Elle has gained from exercising in a female-dominated fitness class allows her to conclude that because Brooke is a fitness instructor who produces endorphins, it is very unlikely for happy people, such as Brooke to kill her husband.

While Elle Woods is open-minded and relatable to her client’s interests, Elle’s law professor Callahan gives narrow-minded reasons for why Brooke would kill her husband, such as “insurance, love affair or pure unadulterated hatred”. As Callahan states negative reasoning and female stereotypes, the movie clip purposely zooms out to show Brooke sitting down while Callahan walks authoritatively around Brooke. This scene represents a man controlling world in which Callahan physically stands over his female client. Due to Callahan’s patronizing actions and narrow-mindedness, Callahan fails to earn the client’s trust which is vital to the lawyer client relationship. On the contrary, Elle’s physical stance and body position is always at her client’s level showing that Elle is considerate to the female interests of her client. As a result, Elle successfully gains the trust of her client. This scene shows the importance of women who can see situations from a different perspective and recognize female interests instantly.

In addition, Elle uses knowledge gained from hair maintenance to expose the guilty daughter Chutney in the criminal court case. Elle understands as a rule of thumb that a girl never wets her hair after getting a perm. As Woods uses knowledge gained from female interests to confront Chutney’s false alibi, Elle successfully gets Chutney to confess to the perm accusation and the murder of her father. Elle declares, “Any cosmo girl would have known.” In this scene, Elle assumes that any real feminine woman would have used her logic to expose a false hair maintenance claim. Elle also excludes any man from making this deduction because male interests are very different from women interests. This open-minded knowledge puts females at an advantage over men in law school because they can see situations from a different point of view. The audience can see how men such as Callahan fail to relate to women thus failing to gain their client’s trust. Overall the female audience is able to see that they have an advantage to succeed as a lawyer because women have an open-minded view of knowledge gained from female interests.

Legally Blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. Perf. Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson and Selma Blair. 2001