Gilmore Girls Wasn’t Perfect… But It Certainly Did a Few Things Right…

I love Gilmore Girls.  I started watching it in 2000, when it first came out, and I was a devoted follower until the very end.

Ask my Dad.  He always had to leave the room when it was on. He couldn’t stand their fast, “ditzy”, talk.

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But, Dad, this blog post is going to prove you wrong.  You’re going to like those Girls by the end of it.

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The Gilmore Girls taught me about being a woman.  More importantly, Gilmore Girls taught me that it was okay, nay critical, to be a smart, informed, opinionated woman with a high concept of her own worth.  This was tough to find in the media.  You had Buffy, Willow, Rory, Lane, Paris… And?

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I think that seeing oneself reflected in the media is important as a girl.  As a white, blonde girl I saw myself all the time.  But I saw a brighter, shinier, zit-free, boy magnet, fashion plate version of myself.  The version of myself who would rather read a book than go on a date (not that many were asking) wasn’t represented and even if she was she wasn’t often portrayed as okay.

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It’s important to note here that Gilmore Girls has been criticised, and rightly so, for being oh-so-white and middle-(to-upper)-class.  The show could have done so much more to be diverse, to be LGBTQ friendly.  The show was smart enough that it could have done these things well… And they didn’t.  And that is disappointing.  This show has the feel of Friends in that it is about one particular type of person and pretends that no other exists.

That being said, and maybe you’ll move on here because you no longer have an interest in it, I’m going to tell you why Gilmore Girls was, and is, important to me.

Gilmore Girls was a show about a young girl and her Mother.  Its setting was a town so vibrantly created that Stars Hollow was a main cast member itself.  It had quirky characters, it showcased the importance of home, and the heartbreak of growing up and away from that home.da5dfb964ddfc2ee9d87622120f0e9da

It showed two women looking for love in a way that was natural and necessary (finding someone to love is one of the most natural and universal experiences in life, is it not?).  It never showed them as desperate for, manipulative of, or pandering to, men; as TV so often does.

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The Gilmore Girls knew their worth and expected to be treated well by men.  In the first episode Dean picks up Rory’s box of books and they wander down the street without any comment or offer by her to carry them herself.  (This scene has always bothered me, I have a rather visceral reaction to it, a feeling that Rory should carry her own books.  I need to learn to let men do for me).  Dean is expected to do those “manly” tasks: to change the water bottle, kill the spiders, and help around the house.  There is no small degree of irony in these expectation, southern bell impressions aren’t infrequent, but they don’t apologize for expecting this.  They can do it themselves.  Dean was going to do it for them.

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These women know that they are the prize and that men should treat them as such.  They expect anniversary dinners, doors to be opened, flowers to be given.  They give back what they are given in full measure.  The men are equal to the challenge.  These men are smart, confident, strong.  They stand up to the Gilmore Girls, they challenge them, they are equals.  These men are interested in the Gilmore Girls because the girls are smart, because they are confident, because they are perfectly whole human beings, with or without a man.

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(Can I be honest here and say that I can barely even handle this quote? Like, it makes me freaking giddy and nauseous. I remember the first time I saw this episode and I literally had to walk around the house for a minute to calm down after he said this, it was that good).

Gilmore Girls taught me that it’s okay to be without a man.

...But that it's also okay to feel the pain...
…But that it’s also okay to feel the pain…

Gilmore Girls taught me about family.  That it’s okay to spend a night fighting with each other, room to room, arguing.  That family f*cks up.  That feelings change.

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Even this, a rare moment of support from Emily, is so beautifully and simply done.

Watching Richard grow to love and respect Rory throughout that first season is such a wonderful experience.  He goes from being a rather indifferent Grandfather to a man who worships this girl and sees all the potential in the world in her.  We should all be so lucky to have a man like this, even if he comes into our lives at 16, or 40, rather than birth.

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(Can we all just take a moment here to mourn the loss of Edward Herrmann?)

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Gilmore Girls had women and men of all shapes and sizes on the show without comment.  Without apology.  Without making fun.  Melissa McCarthy was in Gilmore Girls long before she was a Bridesmaid and she was pretty, she was well dressed, she was funny.  She was able to do physical comedy without needing to be made ugly, without her weight being the point.  She was just a woman doing her best.  She was loveable regardless of extra pounds.  I don’t remember even noticing her weight when I was first watching the show – I just loved Sookie.

Gilmore Girls taught me that life will change us. Through the story line surrounding Emily we saw a woman of a certain generation and class question her life and her contributions.  We see her grow beyond what she always thought, and was told, she was, to be a more rounded person.  She doesn’t grow as far as we might like.  She encourages Rory to marry Logan, she can’t quite get past Luke being “just” a diner owner to see the gem of a man beneath his plaid shirted self.  But she does grow.  She does believe that Rory can do anything.  She believes that a woman should be educated, smart and independent.  She questions her life as “the woman behind that man” and that is enough.

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Gilmore Girls taught me that my heart would be broken, that I would make mistakes.  It told me that I would be okay.

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Gilmore Girls didn’t do everything right.

But it really helped me to be okay with me.

And I’m grateful for that.

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Who I’m Supposed To Be Today…

I love clothing.

I love fabric.

I love well-cut lines, the swish of a good skirt, the shimmer of silk.

I love a classic black pump and a funky bootie.

I love black leather and brown leather and every other colour they can make it.

I love diamonds, topaz, pearls and yellow gold.

I believe that clothing is an opportunity.  An opportunity to express oneself, their mood, their respect (or lack thereof).

Fashion is art: a vintage gown circa 1930, an art deco Harry Winston ring.  I don’t aspire to own these things, I don’t lust after having them.  I admire them as I would a painting in an art gallery.

Fashion says something about our society, about the world that we live in.  The end of corsets or the boyish cut of the flappers, these things were important statements about times in our history.

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Truer words were never spoken…

Some days I channel Buffy circa 1997 with a short skirt, long sweater and clunky boots.  I try to avoid the choker when I`m in this mood.

Some days I go country – brown leather, jeans, plaid.

Or Audrey with a LBD, classic pumps and giant sunglasses.

I like my hair long but I also like it short.

I hate to apply make-up but I feel pretty when I have it on.

I get attached to clothing.  Picking up a dress from a decade ago brings back the memories of where I wore it, what I was doing, how much fun I had.

The problem is…

Clothing, accessories, hair, make-up.

They’re all kind of a crutch for me.  When I get frustrated, when I get anxious, when I simply get tired of me and being me I want a new dress, new skirt, new jewelry, new shoes.  I want something that will transform me into someone that I like better, or that I respect more.  Someone prettier, someone smarter, someone thinner.

Most of the time shopping is just shopping.  A need for new pants, or shoes, or bra.

But there are other days when I’m just sick of myself.  And I shop because it makes me feel like I can change that which I do not like.

There are also days when I’m bored and craving a new reality.  I shop because it makes me feel like I can shift something and get out of my rut.

It’s the same as TV, or an engrossing bad book, or a bucket of ice cream.

It’s all about numbing whatever it is that we need to numb.

There are days when I feel worse about myself because I looked through a Vogue, or fell in love with a dress not carried in my size, or couldn’t look the way I wanted to look.

It isn’t the fault of the clothing.  Please don’t blame them.

I’m doing it less.

That’s the best I can ask for right now.

31 (Of My) Truths About Being A Woman…

I’ve been working on compiling this list for awhile.  These are my truths and may not reflect yours.  I hope that there is some thread for most of us throughout…

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  1. Pantyhose are basically a disposable product.  They are also expensive.
  2. The whole pantyhose and panties thing is confusing.
  3. Speaking of panties… If you buy a fancy pair they will cause your period to arrive.  This cannot be avoided.  Don’t even bother.
  4. Tampons get expensive.
  5. Basically all forms of birth control rely on you compromising your body in one way or another.  Condoms also suck.
  6. No matter what your Grade 8 PE teacher told you: cramps really do hurt.
  7. Dress codes will inevitably place almost all restrictions on the girls for fear that they “show too much”.  Society starts slut-shaming early.
  8. Wine at home with a girlfriend is the most fun ever.
  9. Your sister is the best friend you will ever have.
  10. So is your Mom.
  11. You will call your Dad for household and car advice regardless of age.
  12. “You’re not getting any younger” is a statement that people actually make.
  13. It doesn’t matter how many comfy sweaters you buy… Your boyfriends plaid shirt is better than all of them.  You will steal it.  He won’t be impressed.  (Sorry J!!!  I promise I’ll give it back…).
  14. You wear the same bra, over and over, to a point that you really don’t want to admit.
  15. At least once in your life you will feel threatened by, and frightened of, a man.
  16. Sometimes you will feel like an invincible Goddess.
  17. Sometimes you will feel like a little girl who wants to hide back under the covers.
  18. You will probably be paid less than a man.
  19. People will judge you based on your decision whether or not to have a child.
  20. Some of your self-worth will become entwined with how you look.
  21. People with and without uterus’s (mostly without) will endlessly debate your right for choice.
  22. A pap is one of the least dignified moments of your year.
  23. There are days when your rights, as a woman, will feel fragile and threatened.
  24. The messages you receive about sexuality will be confusing and contradictory.  (Assertive means you’re dirty, submissive means you’re weak, liking sex makes you a slut, and not wanting sex makes you frigid).
  25. Women who hate other women do exist and they will try to shame you.  Cut them out of your life without remorse.
  26. If you want to stay at home… you will be judged.  If you want to go to work… you will be judged.
  27. You will be “too nice”.
  28. There will be men in your life who will see you, not your sex.  Each and every one of them is a blessing.
  29. You will love fiercely, and quickly, and deeply.
  30. Choice is the thing – your right to choose your path.  Protect this with all you have.  Don’t let it be taken.  It belongs to no one else.
  31. You will hope for a daughter one day and you will pray to have the strength that your own Mother did to teach her how to navigate this confusing, contrary, wonderful world.