Elle Woods spent so much of her life playing by the rules that had been laid out for her, bending under the weight of what society wanted her to be. Until finally, she snapped and became who she wanted herself to be. For generations, women have been bending under societal pressures and conforming to the rules men have laid out for them, until they all finally snap and start walking their own path in life, and that’s when we all truly shine. Because if there’s one thing that we all learned from “Legally Blonde,” it’s that the “Bend and Snap” works every time.
When men participate, it’s an event. When women participate, it’s a show. In video games, male characters wear full suits of armor; female characters wear metal bikinis. In comic books and superhero movies, men wear tactical suits and are featured in fight scenes; women wear outfits designed to show off their breasts and are featured posing in impossible yoga positions. In sports, boys play the game; girls play the game too but they have to do it while wearing a skirt and looking pretty. It doesn’t seem to matter what the actual activity is—there seems to always be a double standard when it comes to men’s and women’s activities.
Both willingly and unwillingly, Yance and so many others have done so much emotional labor to tell us their stories and relive their trauma, all to reveal to us the racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, and overall hatred that still exists and causes unfathomable pain, and it’s our job and responsibility to pay attention.
General Okoye, Spy Nakia, Princess Shuri. The film might be “Black Panther” (2018), but without these women, there would be no T’Challa, no Black Panther, no Wakanda, no Earth. While T’Challa was coping with his new role and doubting everything he knew, the women of Wakanda were by his side, showing him who they already knew him to be.
It took the rest of the Lisbon girls a little while longer to learn, but not much longer. Lux mostly got the lesson from Trip. Waking up to find you’ve been abandoned in the middle of a football field is a harsh way to wake up, in more ways than one, but her excursions to the roof solidified the knowledge. In the iconic shot of her with her cigarette, staring into nothing, there’s a coldness in her eyes that we hadn’t seen before, that only shows up in a girl’s face after she’s learned that she’s on her own.