Blonde Ambition This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 14, 2010
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Dingy, dumb, ditsy, and busty are words that are typically attached to the word blonde. Movies such as House Bunny and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes add to these stereotypical assumptions by matching characters to these definitions. The dictionary defines Blonde simply as light colored hair, yet blonde in our society has somehow been redefined to mean bimbo. Why? Do men need woman to act dumb to make themselves feel important? To me blonde is nothing more than a hair color, yet society expects blondes to be dingy, spacey, and easy, which keeps some women from being who they really are.

Marilyn Monroe, who changed her appearance to succeed in Hollywood, is one of the most memorable blondes in history. In her biography it was said she dyed her pretty brown hair to light blonde because she thought society would be more interested in her if she was blonde. Apparently she was right. Marilyn became famous as a blonde acting seductively and playing up her sexuality. Even though she died in the 1960s we are still fascinated with pictures of her from Playboy and the famous photograph of her standing over a steam grate with steam blowing up her dress. What strikes me most, however, was that Marilyn committed suicide, so maybe playing the stereotypical definition of blonde was too much for her. Maybe she couldn’t live with the fact that she wasn’t being her true self.

Madonna is another example of a woman who dyed her natural hair color blonde and played up her sexuality to make it as a performer. When Madonna moved to New York City from Michigan when she was 18 she was discovered by a record company and her songs such as “Like a Virgin,” “Like a Prayer,” and “Papa Don’t Preach,” easily became hits. Would she have been such a hit if she wouldn’t have dyed her hair? I don’t know for sure, but she did it for a reason, and there is evidence that Marilyn Monroe influenced her. Madonna wrote a song called “Material Girl” and did a music video mimicking Marilyn’s dancing style, facial expressions, body movements, and especially her hair color. Madonna is yet another example of a woman who changed her hair color and personality to fit the expected stereotype of what it means to be blonde.

Although Marilyn Monroe and Madonna are examples of women who changed to fit the modern definition of blonde, Reese Witherspoon, in the movie Legally Blonde, actually attempts to disprove the blonde stereotype. In the beginning of the movie Elle (Reese Witherspoon) is portrayed as a total dingbat who’s had it easy in California and decides to go to Harvard Law School to win back her boyfriend who dumped her. She ends up getting into Harvard because of her good looks, blonde hair, and big boobs. When she arrives at Harvard and enters her first class, she is unprepared and is publicly humiliated by her professor who kicks her out because, like a stereotypical blonde, she didn’t know she had an assignment. From that point on, Elle focuses on winning her boyfriend, Warner, back from his fiancé who also is at Harvard. Elle tries to draw attention to herself to make Warner love her again, but then she realizes that she will never be good enough for him no matter how hard she tries. She therefore decides to start paying attention in class at Harvard and to start doing the assignments. Elle, however, finds it difficult to overcome the blonde stereotypes and to prove she actually has a brain. One male professor makes a pass at her, at which point Elle realizes he has no interest in her skills as a lawyer. For a moment Elle thinks that her sex appeal is the only reason she got into Harvard, but then she realizes that she’s better than what most people think of her and decides not to let her months of hard work go to waste. She not only ends up winning her case, but proves she’s much more than a stereotypical blonde.

Being a blonde myself, I see and hear the stereotypical definitions of blonde all the time, but I have no interest in becoming a bimbo, or easy, or ditsy. My sister’s friend commented to me on my hair wishing that she had natural blonde hair like I do. I think she thought she would get more attention if she changed her hair color. While I was at a party, a boy asked the crowd of people I was standing near if anyone wanted to hear any blonde jokes. He looked at me and changed his mind, saying that we have a blonde in here and that it would be offensive to tell any blonde jokes. I don’t understand the fascination that our culture has with blondes because to me being blonde is just being a normal girl, trying to find where I belong in the world. When I look in the mirror I don’t I care if I’m a blonde or brunette. I don’t have to put on an act to try to get attention.

The dictionary defines blonde as light colored hair, but for many people the word blonde means acting fake and ditsy. Throughout history, we have seen people who have embraced the stereotypical mold and we’ve seen people who have tried to prove it wrong. As a blonde, I don’t want to try to fit into the category of stereotypical blondes nor do I want to try to change who I really am. Blonde to me means hair color, and I’m happy just being me.

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micshea99 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 23, 2014 at 10:43 am
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