Lacan’s Mirror Stage in Relation to “Take it Like a Man” and “Just a Girl”

In the play version of Legally Blonde, the scene in the department store accompanied by the song “Take it like a Man” greatly supports Lacan’s argument. The chorus of the song is

Here you’ll become what your suppose to be
You think you can’t but you can.
Think of the guy you want most to be.
Here’s your chance to make it
So take it like a man.

As they sing, they are in the department store and Emmett is trying on a clothes to make him “look” more like a lawyer. The scene ends with Emmett and Elle both looking in the mirror at Emmett’s “transformation”. This falls directly in line with Lacan’s example of the infant in front of the mirror seeing himself for the first time. There is a transformation that takes place because of the infants assumption of the image or in this case Emmett’s assumption of the image through his attire. What is interesting about this is that Emmett is already a lawyer. Emmett has not seen himself in “lawyer’s dress” and assumed the image of the lawyer but rather he chose to become a lawyer inwardly and is finally looking the part. According to the lyrics, this change of attire will permit him to be a better lawyer or rather “the guy [he] most wants to be”. In this case, ‘the clothes make the man’ and Emmett’s assumption of that image allows him to be successful. Even though the Mirror Stage is supported to it’s fullest in Legally Blonde (the musical), I wanted to contrast it’s function in the song, “Just a Girl” by Gwen Stefani. 

The most relevant lyrics in “Just a Girl” are 

I’m just a girl
I’m just a girl in the world…
That’s all that you’ll let me be!

 

I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Make me worry some
I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to
Is making me numb
I’m just a girl. my apologies
What I’ve becocme is burdensome
I’m just a girl. lucky me
Twiddle-dum there’s no camparison

 

Oh…i’ve had it up to!
Oh…i’ve had it up to!!
Oh…i’ve had it up to here.

I think these lyrics are relevant because they take into account how the complex of the image is dominated by social factors. Gwen Stefani is rejecting the image portrayed through her reflection rather than assuming that image as Emmett did in Legally Blonde and as the infant does in Lacan’s argument. In this case, Gwen Stefani does exactly the opposite of Lacan’s mirror stage. But even as Gwen Stefani rejects her image, she is still very much involved in the mirror stage in my opinion. She rebels against her image but her image still leads to a behavioral pattern that reflects social structures within which those images first emerged. Instead of the image of the girl, Gwen Stefani assumes the image of the rebel or the tomboy. She still undergoes a transformation because there is an image that she identifies. Despite her efforts to go beyond her assigned image, Gwen Stefani rebelliousness still supports Lacan’s Mirror Stage argument. This brings up the discussion of ideology we had in class and whether anyone can actually be outside of ideology.

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One thought on “Lacan’s Mirror Stage in Relation to “Take it Like a Man” and “Just a Girl”

  1. Pingback: Daddy and Me Documentary | Girlpower

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