Gilmore Girls is nearly by title a feminist show — it follows the life, times, and decisions of two women, and these women mostly do what they want over the course of seven seasons. That’s not to say that their lives are always easy — Rory and Lorelai faced many bumps in the road and a lot of wrong turns — but to suggest that Lorelai and Rory were never the makers of their own destiny would be wrong. Luckily, the Gilmore Girls revival is just as feminist a show as the original. MAJOR, MAJOR NETFLIX SERIES SPOILERS AHEAD. DON'T KEEP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS.
When I was younger and watching Gilmore Girls, I didn’t necessarily think in terms of what I tuned into on Tuesdays was feminist or not. I was too young to realize how important it was that Rory and Lorelai passed the Bechdel test — that is, two female characters having a conversation that’s not about a man or romantic interest — most of the time. Both Lorelai and Rory dated, but neither was made to feel badly about their sexual or romantic decisions. Lorelai especially was far from perfect, but the show never viewed her sexual life has tawdry or shameful. From Max to Luke to Christopher, Lorelai was making her mistakes and figuring out her life, and while she didn’t always do the right thing, she always had a choice.
Rory had a few boyfriends over the course of Gilmore Girls, and everyone’s favorite Gilmore boyfriend is a matter of very personal preference. But no matter if you love Dean, Jess, or Logan, it cannot be denied that the fact that Rory chose herself and her career at the end of the regular series of Gilmore Girls was so very important. Too often do television shows and film base female character decisions on the men in her life — one could argue that Rory chose Barack Obama as her boyfriend, but in reality, she chose herself. What’s more feminist than that?
I got a little worried during the revival when I thought that Rory was making some bad moves in regards to her love life, but none of it, at its heart, was inherently not feminist. Sure, Rory and Logan cheating on their significant others with each other was not cool, but it’s Rory’s decision to make, and it’s all about being able to make your own decisions.
And speaking of making your own decisions, Rory will have to make a few big ones now, because she is pregnant, presumably by Logan. In the revival, Rory visited Christopher to talk to her father, and at the time, it seemed like a plot device to get Christopher actually in the revival. But what I see it now is that Rory knew she was pregnant, and she wanted to know why Christopher left Rory to be raised by Lorelai and Lorelai alone. Christopher (who I still think is a deadbeat, but that’s neither here nor there) told her that Lorelai and Rory were always meant to be — they had a bond that no one could penetrate, and Christopher was lucky to be included at the end of it.
I see Rory’s baby as her chance for the same thing — she is feeling rootless in her life, and perhaps the relationship she is looking to fulfill her isn’t a romantic one. The relationship that has fulfilled her all of her life has been the relationship with her mother, and now Rory has a chance to feel the same relationship — albeit it in a different way — with her own child.
The sense is, at least from where I’m sitting, that Rory will raise this child solo (but if she didn’t want to, that would be fine, also), making the same feminist decision that Lorelai made 32 years ago. Lorelai did it, and Rory can do it, and Gilmore Girls has always shown women that they can do what they choose.
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