Sunday, April 07, 2019

Watching Legally Blonde

So I was watching Legally Blonde on Netflix last night, partly because I had vicious insomnia and partly because so many people were talking about it Twitter, and there's this one scene where Elle is talking to wossname, the guy she's in love with (or thinks she's in love with) and thinks she wants to marry.

He says law school is a lot of work, and she agrees and wow, it'll be hard to handle the workload and this prestigious internship they're all competing for in the fall. Wossname smile patronizingly and says, "Oh, Elle."

She asks what he means, and he says well, come on. It's not like you really have a chance at getting that internship.

It's an epiphany for her -- that even though she's always made straight A's, even though she scored higher than he did on the LSAT, even though she got into Harvard Law on her own, while he had to use his father's influence to get in -- even so, he still thinks he's smarter than she is.

That made me go hah, because I remember so many of those exact moments, with my older brother; and my younger brother (not with my youngest brother); and guys I dated, and guys in my classes -- all of whom I was regularly outscoring on exams, all of whom I was surpassing academically in every way, all of whom I could outwit in arguments, all of whom I knew more than in many fields. Yet every one of them was sure they were smarter than me. I remember pointing out to one of these guys that cars were so dangerous because of the high speed, how the mass of objects within the car impacted at immense force when the car stopped unexpected in an accident. This is simply physics. "That's what does the damage," I told him. "That impact. That's why you should wear your seatbelt."

"Oh, bullshit," he said to me -- certain I was wrong. Why? Because he was male and I was female and obviously that meant I was wrong.

Then there was the guy in Greek class, a student of around my age who kept arguing with me about translations, this despite the fact that I was always right and that I always got higher grades on the exams than he did. (He finally got so pissed off he dropped the class.)

And my brother, who took took the same math class I did in college (finite math*) the year after I did, who was sure that if I could make an A in the class, obviously he didn't even need to study. (He flunked the class, do I need to add? Finite math ain't calculus, but you do need to pay some attention.)

And so many male students in my classes, who don't bother to read the texts, since if it's something a girl is teaching, pssh, how hard can it be?

And so on.

At this point, it doesn't bother me. Hard heads don't learn. Their loss. But it does make me roll my eyes when people worry about the poor men and how hard life is for them these days. As if.

*I love finite math.

1 comment:

nicoleandmaggie said...

Such a great movie (except the LGBT stereotypes which I'd completely forgotten about until I saw a clip from the musical).

In 8th grade I was constantly terrorized by two of the boys who also went to the high school for Geometry (the third was medium-functioning ASD and only rarely tried to join in), telling me how stupid I was, again, even though I was making higher grades. Sadly for me the worst guy ended up going to the same fancy boarding school I did and told people *I'd had a crush on him* even though I used him in my admissions essay about the troubles women in science had to go through (it heavily featured Rosalind Franklin). UGH.

Mostly these days I'm able to quell any such behavior in person (I'm told my left eyebrow is chilling, and I'm also extremely good at name-dropping, which is currency in my field), but I definitely still get it in print. Almost all women economists do--as recent research shows! And, of course, I have to play the little, "no I can correctly pronounce the first names of important people with penises" game, which most men don't have to do because they don't have to prove themselves.