'Gilmore Girls' And Third-Wave Feminism

'Gilmore Girls' And Third-Wave Feminism

Where feminism lead, the Gilmores did not follow.
Candice
Candice
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Throughout its seven-season run and for years afterward, fans of "Gilmore Girls" have praised the show and its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, for its feminist ideas and strong female characters.

With the Netflix revival of "Gilmore Girls" on the horizon, I have seen a myriad of articles, tweets and Facebook posts concerning the show. I have researched through books, scholarly journals and re-watched every single episode ever aired, only to conclude that I completely disagree with the idea that "Gilmore Girls" is a contemporary feminist television show, and any third-wave feminist probably should, too.

An article titled “10 reasons Gilmore Girls was the ultimate feminist TV show” credits Lorelai Gilmore for her sense of independence and her rejection of traditional gender roles and the wealth of her family to raise Rory as a single mom. What articles like this ignore are issues of the show’s heteronormativity, lack of intersectionality and use of therapeutic rhetoric to praise women for working hard without speaking of the social injustices women face. After all, Lorelai Gilmore is portrayed as a thin, white woman who, despite her rejection of her parent’s money, still uses it as a last resort to pay for her daughter’s private preparatory school, leaving the truth and hardship of being a single mother in the dust.

I'll start from the beginning.

“Please, Luke. Please. Please. Please.”

The iconic first line of the WB’s 2000’s dramedy is Lorelai Gilmore’s plea for a man to allow her a sixth cup of coffee for the morning, as the diner owner named Luke Danes chastises her for her coffee addiction.

In a behind-the-scenes documentary titled “Welcome to the Gilmore Girls,” Sherman-Palladino reveals that Luke Danes, Lorelai’s eventual love interest, was originally a woman.

“One of the notes that I got was ‘There’s a lot of chicks running around here. Can we just have some more testosterone,'” Sherman recounts with a giggle.

Hearing this immediately made me wonder how the show would have changed had the character of Lorelai been a lesbian, as Sookie St. James was originally intended to be. The Huffington Post quotes Sherman-Pallaidino, stating:

“Things were different back then. The networks were very different in how permissive they would allow you to be. So, Sookie was originally supposed to be gay, but that was a non-starter at that time,” showing both heteronormativity and a lack of intersectionality forced upon “family friendly” television shows of the time.

Another way in which "Gilmore Girls" lacked intersectionality was on the topic of race. In a scholarly article entitled “It Takes a Classless, Heteronormative Utopian Village: Gilmore Girls and the Problem of Postfeminism,” Danielle M Stern writes:

“Throughout the 7 seasons, Gilmore Girls featured only five non-white primary and recurring characters.”

The two non-white primary female characters were Lane Kim, Rory’s best friend, and Lane's mother, Mrs. Kim, a Korean immigrant.

Stern goes on to state:

“The tensions between the Kims play out as a generational divide of new and old worlds, with small-town America clearly being the mythical ideal to which to aspire. Lane is simply a rebellious teenager striving to be a successful musical artist, unchained from her overbearing, no-frills mother. More relevant to race politics is Lane’s efforts to pass as White, or at least, not Asian. Lane’s choices rest comfortably in the postfeminist landscape of Stars Hollow, where individuality and personal choices eclipse actual institutional discrimination or geopolitical tensions.”

Finally, in a graduate thesis paper for the University of Akron, Lisa A. Davis writes on Therapeutic rhetoric:

“Rather than encourage women to channel their social frustrations into social activism, popular shows emphasize that women should take responsibility for their own problems.”

This is the ideal world that "Gilmore Girls" creates for both Lorelai Gilmore and Lane Kim.

“Thus, not only do television’s single female characters appear isolated and individualist, but their race, economic status and sexuality are unrepresentative of women in general… Indeed, the show is the ultimate presentation of the American dream, single mom style, even as it elides the class and race realities that make Lorelai’s success possible in the first place,” Davis writes in her thesis.

As a young teenager, "Gilmore Girls" gave me role models to look up to that weren’t Britney Spears or Avril Lavigne, to which I will be eternally grateful, but the show followed a script of unrealistically thin, privileged white women following their dreams through hard work and family money—ignoring social context, race relations, the reality of single motherhood, even the reality of how much they ate, making Gilmore Girl’s idyllic portrayal of women in the 21st century hypocritically feminist.

"Gilmore Girls" was feminist in the way of Elizabeth Cady Stanton—enough to inspire white women of privilege while ignoring, even degrading, various other social injustices and minorities for personal gain. It was certainly exemplary of white feminism, but not the third wave feminism the world needs examples of today.

Perhaps Netflix can change that. "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" is set to release in late 2016.

Cover Image Credit: youtube

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Hannah B. Named The Next Bachelorette: Get Excited!!

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On the season finale of the hit reality TV show 'The Bachelor' Chris Harrison announced the new Bachelorette to be Hannah Brown, affectionately referred to as "Hannah Beast." Hannah made it far in Colton's season of the Bachelor, but hit some bumps along the way. She was involved in serious drama with costar and fellow pageant competitor Caelynn. Not only is Hannah B. known for drama and tears, she is also known for her awkward and often uncomfortable behavior around the cameras. And let's not forget the most awkward first date and toast of all time...Roll Tide!

Despite her awkward and quirky personality, I think the Alabama native is truly a sweetheart. She cannot be judged based on the controversy that took place between her and Caelynn because no one knows the full truth of the story. In my opinion, no one was completely innocent in their "cat fight" but the way in which each girl handled themselves in the resolution of this drama was mature and, quite frankly, impressive. I think Hannah B's season will be full of more tears and could potentially be very uncomfortable to watch at some moments, but at the end of the say, Hannah B. deserves to find love just like any other 'Bachelor' hopeful. It will definitely be an interesting season to watch, so get excited!!

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