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The Movie ‘Legally Blonde’ and the Muted Group Theory

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When it comes to the muted group theory, the concept is fairly simple. It states that those who hold the power in a room tend to have their ideas communicated better and those who do not have such strong language hold less power. When the more powerful groups are conversing, the other groups must find themselves changing their communication style in order to adapt to those of power.

In regards to the movie ‘Legally Blonde’, the entire plot of the movie surrounds Elle Woods and her dream of becoming a lawyer. Elle begins as a traditional blonde sorority girl. She is viewed as stupid and privileged and for the most part no one took her seriously when she expressed her desire to go to law school. The muted group theory was clearly present when Elle got to law school, she immediately discredited herself by showing up to class unprepared, following this incident another student, Vivian Kensington, asserted her dominance in communicating her disapproval of Elle’s lack of preparation. Following this incident, Elle found herself needing to change her form of communication in order to gain the respect of her fellow classmates. Elle carried this out by not only changing her physical looks to a more professional appearance, but by changing her language to a stronger tone and using more educated stances in order to gain respect and power from her pears.

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Another example of this theory took place when Elle was completing her internship and her advisor Professor Callahan continued to encourage her to pursue her dreams, but this encouragement came from a place of male dominance. Professor Callahan had no interest in Elle Woods being an actual lawyer, but had an interest in her looks essentially eliminating her professionalism and intelligence. This relates back to the muted group theory as Callahan demonstrated his male dominance and sees Elle as nothing more than ‘a pretty girl’.

The movie also demonstrated multiple times that the law should only be ensued by men. Elle Woods’ previous experience was with hair care which in many characters minds was fitting as she was a female and that was seen as female work.

In the end of the movie, Elle Woods overcomes this muted theory and asserts her dominance as a lawyer, proving those who doubted her ability wrong. In some forms this movie also applied to the expectancy violation, as Elle performed against the cultural norms and expectations of her perceived white sorority girl.

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The Movie ‘Legally Blonde’ and the Muted Group Theory. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
“The Movie ‘Legally Blonde’ and the Muted Group Theory.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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