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Culture > Entertainment

Why I Have The Legally Blonde Courtroom Monologue Memorized

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! (I’ll only say it once)

My favorite party trick… sans Bruiser.

We pan to me at ten years old: bundled in blankets, grumpy, and experiencing major recess FOMO. I am lying awkwardly on the couch, with a bucket on the floor and my head in my mom’s lap. My mom, still called “Mommy” at the time, flips through channels and lands on a movie just as it’s about to start. 

“What’s Legally Blonde?” I say between waves of nausea, which ebbed slightly when I saw that everything was pink and poppy and high maintenance, a diversion from my unglamorous situation. 

“Shhhh… Just watch.” My mom gently commanded while smoothing my hair away from my clammy face. 

We pan to a TV screen, where a girl with a likeness to Barbie is brushing her hair and painting her nails.

On that chilly, dull November day in the fourth grade, the way I viewed femininity and myself as a self-proclaimed girly girl, was flipped on its head exactly one hour and 23 minutes in. If you’re familiar with the movie, this is when Elle Woods finds a hole in Chutney (bratty and frizzy) Windham’s witness statement and tears it wide open, proving Brooke (workout whiz and secret liposuction beneficiary) Windham’s innocence. Gasps echo all around, Chutney is incarcerated, and everything works out for everyone except Elle’s ex, Warren (deserved). 

There are a lot of lessons in Legally Blonde— always confirm the party theme, the Bend and Snap works (at the sacrifice of a nose or two), and that straight men don’t know shoes. But the most important lesson, the one that I carry with me day to day, is that you can be hyper-feminine and have other incredibly redeeming qualities, like determination, kindness, and intelligence. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Elle Woods, the stereotypical sorority president from the valley turned Harvard valedictorian, is assertive and unwavering throughout the whole movie. She is extremely determined, and it shows when she got accepted to Harvard Law, persevered throughout her 1L year, and worked with Professor Callahan (a.k.a Professor Calla-handsy). I’ve always been a girly girl at heart, but I always felt like I had to separate my strong personality from my love for pretty colors and playing dress-up. I also didn’t want my brutish and tomboyish mindset to be confused with being “one of the boys,” especially when the boys in the fourth grade were nothing if not icky. My “If boys can do it, so can I” attitude mixed with my affinity for makeup was difficult for me to balance, especially at 10. Elle taught me that having that attitude is not independent of being feminine and liking feminine things.

“What? Like it’s hard?”

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

Not only was Elle assertive, but she was also incredibly kind. In the 2000s, many hyper-femmes in the media were depicted as either dumb or cruel (Mean Girls, The Hot Chick, The Devil Wears Prada, etc.), and Elle Woods was neither. I didn’t want to be mistaken for someone evil or idiotic in my struggle to get along with everyone. She showed me that being kind above all else will get you farther. Her empathy got her new friends at school and at the salon (the lovely Miss Paulette Bonafonté), Brooke Windham’s alibi, and a job as Brooke’s lawyer. Her unwavering kindness also allowed her to thrive when peers such as Vivian and the other interns at Prof. Callahan’s office treated her with disdain and actively tried to embarrass her. It was refreshing seeing a woman trust in other women and treat them like peers instead of competition, even when others saw her as such. 

As for her intelligence, it is shown heavily in the courtroom monologue, which is not only iconic but is the climax of the whole story. Elle uses her knowledge of something stereotypically feminine, like shoes and hair care, and uses it to catch Enrique the Pool Boy in a salacious lie and Chutney in the coverup that leads to her bombshell confession on the stand. She utilizes her skills and knowledge throughout, like at the boutique in the beginning and while surpassing her peers in lectures, but this moment is when we see it flipped on its head and utilized to its full potential in a way almost unheard of in the genre. Even though my initial memory of that movie is attached to woefully suffering from a stomach bug, I saw the movie enough times after that to memorize it because I loved seeing a woman who was intelligent, determined, and kind despite pressure to diminish her character and change into someone more “serious.” This movie taught me that I don’t need to hinder myself or my intelligence to succeed, and remembering that monologue is how I carry that message with me.

If there’s anyone to thank for that lesson, it’s my mom for showing me Legally Blonde and my reading partner Ben for getting me sick in the first place. 

The movie as a whole, but especially that courtroom takedown, is brilliant and addictive. The heart of the movie lies in the fact that being a woman means simply being you. Pitting yourself against other women or being anyone other than you is about as feminist as an alpha male podcast. With the ingenious combination of the color pink and the courtroom, this movie has an incredibly genuine sense of self and a flair different from the movies the “chick flick” genre has been reduced to. 

The movie breathes and grows and bends and snaps with Elle as she succeeds and overcomes extreme stereotyping, and takes itself seriously when it needs to. Even if it wasn’t for all the power the monologue holds, how could you not have it memorized?! It has style, is of the time, and is, dare I say… c*nty. 

Kaitlyn Couto is a writer for Her Campus UCF and is majoring in Journalism. She loves writing, cooking, listening to music, getting dressed up, and watching movies and TV shows. She wants to join a band or act in a movie before her career just so she can say she did.