The Graduate Review


College experiences often involve challenges that can provide the impetus for personal and professional growth. Likewise, Elle Woods of the film Legally Blonde undergoes multiple significant changes in her sense of identity, morality, and ability to take charge of her own life after she is forced to radically change her perspective and priorities. This paper covers her development as a law student and individual according to the student development theories of Chickering’s Seven Vectors of Identity Development, Gilligan’s Theory of Women’s Moral Development, and Baxter Magolda’s Self-Authorship Theory. As a result of her growth, Elle Woods flourishes into a confident, secure role model for professional young women, integrating her intellectual ability with her feminine interests to showcase a practical femininity that allows her to perform as a compassionate lawyer.

Note on the Author

Elizabeth S. Rodericks is a current graduate student in Bridgewater State University’s Student Affairs Counseling M.Ed. program. Her paper was completed in the fall of 2021 for Dr. Katherine Bender’s College Student Development Theory course. Her future goals include working in higher education academic advising and developing student success initiatives for first-generation low-income (FGLI) college students.