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Everyday Causal Feminism in Gilmore Girls

To launch Fall, watch Gilmore Girls! While Gilmore Girls is not blatantly feminist, it incorporates casual feminism into everyday life. In Gilmore Girls, the main characters Rory and Lorelai are strong, empowered, hardworking, intelligent women powered by junk food and coffee. Rory and Lorelai’s traits deconstruct female stereotypes.

Gilmore Girls is about Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory who she had at the age of sixteen. Lorelai breaks the stereotype of marrying the father of the baby and moves to a small town, Stars Hallow, in Connecticut. Lorelai builds a new life for herself and her daughter, working from being a maid to the manager of the hotel. Gilmore Girls focuses on Lorelai’s achievements in Stars Hallow rather than her struggles as a single mom. When Rory gives her valedictorian speech at her high school graduation in season three, she explains that she always wanted to be her mom. Lorelai was a strong role model for her who “filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith” (Gilmore Girls). Lorelai “never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be” (Gilmore Girls). Gilmore Girls includes strong female role models, such as Lorelai, and celebrates independent and successful women.

Other than Rory and Lorelai, many characters represent Gilmore Girl’s underlying feminism. Stars Hallow includes various characters that break gender stereotypes. Gypsy is a stubborn female car mechanic. Miss Patty is the sole owner of an art school she runs. Taylor is a sensitive and challenging businessman. Mrs. Kim is a headstrong and religious owner of an antique dealer. Jackson is an emotional man who sells produce. Gilmore Girls’ characters run from stereotypically feminine to masculine, despite their genders. The women of Stars Hallow own and run an equal amount of businesses as men, making gender equality a normalized everyday thing.

In every episode of Gilmore Girls, this mantra is always shown: you can do whatever you want when you work for it. Lane Kim, Rory’s best friend, comes from a strict and religious family. The Kims expect Lane to continue studying the Bible in college as well as marry a Korean doctor, then have and raise a large family. In secret from her family, Lane loves rock so much that she hides her CDs under her floodboard and learns to play drums in the music shop. She starts her own rock band, Hep Alien, with three boys and goes on tour. Lane falls in love with a not so smart white band-mate. Lane shows that it is okay to rebel and be yourself even if your family does not approve.

Breaking stereotypical slut shaming of women, Gilmore Girls recognizes that sex is treated as a thign women should want to do and enjoy. Rory and Lorelai have multiple boyfriends throughout the seasons. When Rory experiences heartbreak with Dean, Lorelai encourages her to grieve. Lorelai acknowledges that heartbreak should not be something that you should be ashamed of nor does it make you weak. Lorelai enshrines these two ideals into Rory’s life.

Usually female friendships are portrayed as bitchy and mean. Gilmore Girls avoids these stereotypes and shows inspiring, loving, multifaceted relationships. Lorelai and Sookie’s relationship transitions from friends to business partners of a hotel. While Sookie and Lorelai have ups and downs, their relationship flourishes into an unbreakable bond. Rory and Paris are both very intelligent and driven women. Originally rivals, they eventually develop a friendship based on the shared emphases of academic success, where they can count on each other.

Gilmore Girls’s genuine success was the ability to seamlessly intertwine feminism into everyday life. The series made a constant measure to subtly reference feminism. Whether it was the planned parenthood poster on Rory’s wall, the season one episode “That Damn Donna Reed” where they challenging the traditional 1950s housewife image, or Rory’s large reading list including feminist authros. Emily is an example of a feminist of her day, standing up for women’s rights but still believing in traditions such as marrying well and doing cotillion. The contrast between Rory and Emily highlights to a adolescent audience the progress in the feminist movement and the meaning of a woman in modern-day life


Allie Fisken


Little Rock Central High School


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