Beauty / October 14, 2019

Where Does The Stereotype Of The Dumb Blonde Come From?

Do you remember watching (then rewatching) Legally Blonde back in the early 2000s? It was a completely ridiculous film that was as pink as bubble gum but you have to admit that it was quietly feminist.

Elle Woods, a woman so obsessed with being engaged to her ex-boyfriend enrolls in Harvard Law School to win him back. Along the way, she learns she’s underestimated herself and been underestimated by others and loves the law.

It’s a feminist tale about a woman coming into her own, foregoing the pursuit of a man and making the world around her reckon with her intelligence. There is also another dynamic that is fairly easy to sweep under the rug that the movie subjugates. The time-honored pop culture war between brunettes and blondes.

For years, the film industry and American culture at large have portrayed blond women as sexy, attractive, and beautiful but empty-headed. These stereotypes go back to before Marilyn Monroe made Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

The problem with these false notions is that it inherently affects how women, blond and alike are treated. If blond women are seen as most attractive but also fitting of the”dumb blonde” stereotype, this means that American culture doesn’t leave room for women to be attractive and intelligent.

What it does is propagate the inane question created to reduce women to hapless seekers of masculine approval–”beauty or brains?”

Who began this terrible rumor that women are either traditionally beautiful or intelligent and why did the same school of thought conclude that blondes are dumb? Here is the answer.

Linnea Moran

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