The other day, I re-watched “Legally Blonde” for something like the hundredth time and one of the movie’s main themes that hit me harder than ever before was the power of — and high regard for — sisterhood.
Even when Elle Woods was angry that Vivian Woods stole Warner from her, she forgave her and the two became best friends. When Paulette needed confidence, Elle was there to teach her the “bend and snap” and to help Paulette believe in herself. When Brooke Wyndham begged Elle to keep her alibi a secret, Elle kept her word even when her superiors and peers tried to convince her otherwise.
The way Elle respects and uplifts other women is truly admirable and I believe it is a powerful reminder — especially for International Women’s Day.
Elle was placed in very difficult situations where respecting the women around her was no easy task. How easy would it have been to sell Brooke out, or to hold an undying grudge for Vivian who had the audacity to get engaged to her man? But Elle possesses a unique maturity that I admire and aspire to achieve. Women like Elle who support and lift other women are truly the best kinds of women, and I’ve been lucky enough to know many of them.
On the night I was crowned Miss Utah, some of my best friends did not make it to finals with me. Even though I was so excited and grateful to make the finals, I was also sad because I wanted to share the experience with them. Although they could have easily — and understandably — kept to themselves following the results, they made an effort to be there for me.
They helped me into my different costumes, prepared my violin, encouraged me, prayed with me, offered words of encouragement, helped tease my hair, and helped me carry my dress up the steep flights of stairs. One of these women was my amazing roommate, Laken Hemsley, who has become one of my closest friends. Laken helped me all night long, and even after the competition had finished and I was onstage taking pictures, she packed up my things so that my family wouldn’t have to worry about them.
One of my favorite moments was when my name was announced as Miss Utah and my sister ran to hug me. She was genuinely happy for me and has been so supportive throughout my year. She could have been bitter or disappointed, but she has been nothing but proud of me and it has meant the world.
What these women did went largely unnoticed; the judges weren’t scoring them on backstage behavior but they still helped me and genuinely wanted me to succeed. Even though they may have been disappointed, you never would have known it because they treated me and everyone around them with kindness even when the outcome may have not been ideal.
These types of women are the best kind and are the best examples of what a queen should be.
Women supporting women is powerful and I believe it’s even more powerful and inspiring when we do it when it’s not easy. It’s not always easy to be kind to women who aren’t kind in return. Keeping a friend’s secrets locked and vaulted can be difficult. Forgiveness can be extremely hard. Respecting women even when they hold opposing political views is not always easy. But when we can let go of our pride and remain kind, that is one of the bravest and best actions we can take — it is the definition of “women supporting women.”
I believe we are reaching a point in society where women supporting women is becoming the reverberating theme. Dress size, political views, sexual orientation, career goals, and more are part of our identities. We won’t always agree or understand each other’s differences and it may be difficult when another woman succeeds where we do not. But learning to love one another even when it’s hard truly defines strong women. I hope we can all, myself definitely included, can master that Elle Woods type of love and respect.