Dear Elle Woods,

Whenever I have a bad day, I can always rely on you. There’s something comforting about watching a rom-com after a long day. You always know that the protagonist gets what they want, that the love interest confesses their feelings, which usually involves some grand scene where they kiss in the rain. Or in the case of Legally Blonde, Elle solves the case and saves the day. I can tell you that I’ve watched the movie enough times to quote the lines yet never seem to tire of it. From When Harry Met Sally to Mean Girls, the predictability of rom-coms makes them feel . 

As a young girl, I’ve always wanted a movie moment such as having someone look at me all dressed up and tell me I look beautiful or writing secret letters to the people I’ve loved. But growing up, I’ve realized that I don’t need moments like that in order to feel powerful and worthy. I used to crave approval in a self-sacrificing, people-pleasing way, unable to say no and basking in male validation—or any validation. Recently, when I found the DVD of Legally Blonde, I curled up with a blanket and warmed my hands with a cup of tea as I rewatched the iconic and familiar first scene. 

The thing with you, Elle, is that you went from a girl who had mascara running down your face after your breakup to a girl who turned down the man who suddenly wanted you back despite having broken your heart. I think there’s something to be said about power in moments like those. Watching the consistently underestimated girl solve a case, stand up to the man who harassed her, and turn down her ex changed my view of romantic comedies. Of course, there’s the love between the main character and the love interest—the cheesy, hand-holding kind that sells in the box office. However, when I saw your movie for the first time as an eight year old, I saw the other kind of love, one with greater value: self love. As you put it, “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must have faith in yourself.” 

I’ve learned a lot this year, but the most important thing I’ve discovered is how to put myself first and to stop caring so much about the opinions of others. At a young age, I was sat down and told to cross my legs properly, close my mouth, and smile politely at strangers when they stared. I learned that if a boy pulled my hair, I should be flattered that he even noticed me at all. And later on, I learned that if a boy touched me in a way I didn’t want, it must have been my fault for not covering up or leading him on. The way that society teaches girls and young women to behave and view themselves has plagued many of us and become toxic for our own well being. So Elle, while some may view you as cliché, I am grateful to you for reminding me over time that I am allowed to say no and that no matter what, I have power over myself and my decisions. 


Audrey Wu ’25