Over the course this term I have learned a great deal from researching some of my identities such as young blonde female in the media. I wasn’t surprised by my research because it was a stereotype that I was already familiar with, the “ditzy blonde”. Not only have I learned how my identity is portrayed in the media and how others with the same identity feel about that, I have also learned excellent ways to find sources. Through watching young blonde females in media then reading studies and reviews on the media revealed the stereotypes that follow those identities.
Learning how to navigate the Portland State University library was helpful and where to go within the site to look for a specific type of source. An assignment that we completed in mentor session that I actually found extremely helpful was the Search for Resources Library Tutorial. It walked through each type of source you may need for a research paper and how to find it through the libraries site. This was helpful because before I would just search some key words and then what type of source I was looking for, for example “Blonde Stereotypes Peer reviewed journal”. Through taking the tutorial I also learned that there is a more effective way to search and use key words for example capitalizing AND to separate two key words, and placing parenthesis around words that should be searched together.
Another important concept that I learned was primary and secondary sources and why they are both important. A primary source would be data such as a chart and then a secondary source would be analysis of the chart. A secondary source for my identities would be this article analyzing a primary source, which was an IQ test.
The article is going over the results of an IQ test that was done on people of every hair color the primary source (the IQ test) stated that blondes averaged an IQ of 103.2, brunettes a 102.7, redheads with 101.2 and people with black hair come in last with a 100.5. The article goes on to analyze the first source as to explaining that this is possibly why blondes are the chosen identity to play the “ditzy” person. It hypothesizes that the reason that blonde wear the chosen hair color to play the ditzy character was because they were truly the smartest hair color. This is a secondary source because it is making assumptions based off the evidence that the primary source had presented.
The next source that I looked at was one that was actually recommended to me in a comment and that was legally blonde. In case you have not seen this movie it is about a young blonde that fits perfectly with the typical stereotypes of that hair color, superficial, ditzy, doesn’t’ work for what they have. But after her boyfriend Owen breaks up with her before leaving for grad school for being too dumb, she defies the stereotype and goes to law school while using her social butterfly personality to her advantage in school. This was a fun source to look at because it is one that addresses the typical stereotypes for someone with the identities of a young blonde female but then also shows that same female rising above and accomplishing great things.
This movie spoke volumes because it magnified some sterotypes but used them in a positive way. Elle woods, the star of Legally Blonde wears pink glitter everything, and even carries her chiuaha in her purse, she loves to have fun and can come across as materialistic and dumb. After being told that’s not enough she shows young women that you can be pretty and be smart.
This image is a clip from the movie and it is an excellent example of the stereotype that blondes are into pink and glitter and heels. At the same time it is deifying the stereotype of the ditzy blonde as she is standing in a power pose as the lawyer in the courtroom in a case, which she won in the movie based on her knowledge of makeup and beauty.
After Elle wins big and proves that you can be smart blonde and pretty
I found a review of the movie by someone that blogs by the name of “the rogue feminist”. http://theroguefeminist.tumblr.com/post/113358128353/legally-blonde-feminist-review-and-analysis She discusses how Elle Woods the lead in the movie is a role model to young women. After being dumped for being “too blonde” she rose up and proved him wrong. She goes on to review how this movie puts many aspects in a positive light such as female friendship; Elle supports her friend and encourages her to leave her abusive husband. The first time watching this movie I did not notice this until I had read the review and it got me thinking about it. When looking at the two females they seem opposite in appearance, but regardless Elle encourages and helps another female, even though women are typically known for being caddy.
Another film that sends a similar message to legally blonde would be House Bunny. When a playboy bunny gets kicked out of the mansion some sorority girls allow her to stay there so she will help them become more sociable to create more pledges to the home. The message is again that extensive knowledge of makeup and beauty can be used to either win a case or in this instance help some young girls save their sorority home.
The concept of the dumb blonde also has a negative effect on the way men think of women. Dara Greenwood and Linda Isbell wrote a journal on a study of Men and Women’s reactions to dumb blonde jokes. They revealed that after listening to dumb blonde jokes men the men found them more funny and less offensive than women and this also correlated with them being higher in hostile sexism. Presenting the stereotype of the dumb blonde as funny and a joke teaches men that it is okay and humorous to be offensive. This journal demonstrates why it is a bad idea to place negative stereotypes around an identity; it teaches society that these people are less because of their appearances.
Overall I noticed that my identities of a young blonde female are not represented very positively in popular culture. Blondes are typically played out as the ditzy materialistic character and their the only hair color with e category of jokes dedicated to it. Through movies such as legally blonde teaching girls that you can love to be beautiful and pamper yourself but also go to school and be success at the same time.
Legally blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. N.p., n.d. Web.
Theroguefeminist. “Legally Blonde – Feminist Review and Analysis.” The rogue feminist. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
Waghorn, Mark. “Ever used a ‘dumb blonde’ cliche? Science has something to say about them.” Mirror. N.p., 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.