Analyzing the Political Leanings of Elle Woods

Red, White, and Blonde!


Elle Woods is a dynamic character and inspiration for every aspiring young girl. After being dumped by Warner Huntington III, a future Harvard law school student, because she wasn’t “serious” enough for him, Elle made up her mind to win him back by also attending Harvard. While her school counselor and parents doubted that she, a Fashion Merchandising major, could ever attend Harvard, nothing could stop her. Enter a classic movie montage where Elle, with the help of her Delta Nu sorority sisters, crams nonstop for the LSAT and creates an interesting application video. Ultimately, Harvard admits her, and she begins graduate school in Cambridge.

However, Elle is quickly stumped when Warner arrives with a fiancé in tow. After a rough start to her first few classes, Elle once again becomes empowered to prove to everyone that she isn’t just a dumb blonde. Her hard work is paid off when she is one of four first year students selected to help with her professor’s large court case. The court case, revolving around the alleged murderer Brooke Taylor-Windham, piques Elle’s interest as Brooke is a famed Delta Nu sister. Ultimately, after her professor hits on her, Elle returns to take over Brooke’s court case and wins with her bizarre beauty knowledge. By the end of the movie, Elle and Warner’s ex-fiancé have become friends, she is engaged to a stand-up guy, and she graduated Harvard with full honors and job offers.

Elle Woods proves that you can be feminine and still a force to be reckoned with. Still, Elle did have a powerful transition from dependent girlfriend to prominent lawyer, and later lobbyist in the second film. As many fan theories have risen from the film, such as the notion that Elle is autistic, I chose to question the political leanings of the iconic character.

Conservative Reasons:

1) The University of Iowa researched political leanings on college campuses, and discovered that members of fraternities and sororities typically enter college with conservative leanings, and remain in this mindset while other peers become more liberal. Elle Woods is very well known for being president of her sorority Delta Nu. She frequently mentions various mixers, sisters, and alumni. While there is much more to Elle than simply being a member of a sorority, this aspect of her character is very important to her and these connections are beneficial in the second movie.

2) Elle is also well known for her signature color pink. In the first movie, Elle wore a variety of pink outfits with a few red pieces mixed in, and only wore the color blue three times, one of which being a bathrobe. In elections, the major conservative party, the Republican party, represents states in red and Democratic states are represented in blue. While Elle’s wearing redder tones does not absolutely mark her as holding conservative ideals, all films have hidden symbols, which is inclusive to costumes.

Look how happy she is in pink.

3) The next two reasons are about Elle’s connections. First, Elle was ready to be engaged to Warner Huntington III, played by Matthew Davis. Davis admitted that he based his portrayal of the character on George W. Bush. Bush, a president coming from a well-to-do family, fraternity, and Harvard graduate is the perfect candidate to base this character off of. Additionally, Bush was endorsed by the Republican party and used a conservative platform, so one could infer that Huntington III and his dependent girlfriend subscribed to this belief as well.

Warner and Elle minutes before the infamous breakup.

4) Finally, Elle comes from a wealthy family. While there is much debate whether wealthy Americans have liberal or conservative leanings, one study examined lottery winners. After a big win, lottery players would typically drift more to the right. As the study explained, while there is the common saying that the wealthy are socially liberal and economically conservative, “economic policy preferences are more important than moral policy preferences in accounting for voting behavior and party identification.” Thus, one can infer that Elle, a woman that was easily shaped by those around her, most likely identified with her parents’ political leanings, which based upon the wealth they give off could be conservative.

Liberal Reasons

1) Within the first thirty minutes of the movie, Elle gets accepted into and arrives at Harvard University. While Harvard is stereotypically an incredibly liberal school, their own website states that their student body is 36% liberal and 37% Democratic, compared to 33% conservative and 25% Republican. If Elle were to fall in with the majority of students, she would be more liberal.

2) One pastime I share with Elle Woods is reading Cosmopolitan. Throughout the movie, Elle references or blatantly reads the magazine. She even referred to Cosmopolitan as “the bible,” and after winning a court case told reporters that “The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known.” Obviously, this magazine is of utmost importance to Elle, and Media Bias/Fact Check asserted that the magazine typically leans left through the editorials they write and certain word choice within. If Elle feels so strongly about this magazine, she is bound to be influenced by the politics within.

3) Elle lived in two states during the movie, California and Massachusetts. Massachusetts, World Population Review’s most liberal rated state, has a population of about 35% liberal. California is also more liberal than average, as it is about 29% liberal. While these percentages are less than 51%, remember that large portions of each state identify as moderate, and both states have consistently voted for a liberal platform in many of the past elections. Choosing to live in one of these states could give an inkling of Elle’s pre-existing beliefs, or living in these states could possibly alter one’s beliefs to be more liberal.

4) Finally, in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde,” the sequel to the acclaimed movie, Elle discovers that her dog Bruiser is gay. Elle’s unwavering support of her dog is a liberal trait, as conservatives typically support the traditional marriage between a man and woman. Elle even goes as far as to name her bill to outlaw animal testing after her dog, further showing her commitment to supporting her dog and others in America.

Bruiser and his boyfriend, Leslie.

Elle’s actions and connections reveal that she could be liberal or conservative, so it is up to you on which side you would like to believe. Still, liberals or conservatives can agree that this movie is a classic that empowers women. While I recommend skipping the sequel, if the gaudy name didn’t hint that to you already, a third movie is supposed to come out soon, and I have always been a fan of Legally Blondes, a spin-off about Elle’s younger twin cousins.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5.