Gilmore Girls: Sexism in Disguise

Editor’s Note: This was a piece published on April 1st, 2011. As such, the views expressed in this piece are entirely for satirical enjoyment’s sake, and do not necessarily reflect any views of the author or The ACP. Please enjoy, and try not to take them too seriously!

I could not stand idly by as my coworker Jonah Comstock wrote about Gilmore Girls passing the Bechdel Test. As he so elegantly put it, this does NOT mean that the show is not sexist. Sure, it’s easy to hide sexism in a show with two strong, ambitious female protagonists – but today, I would like to argue why the show is, in fact, one of the most misogynistic shows out there.

I started by just watching the first episode available on Hulu: Season 6, Episode 3, also known as “The Ungraduate.” And let me tell you, I only needed one episode to make my case. First of all, the main character Lorelai had four scenes in the episode. Four. And all four of them involved her, at some point, in a kitchen.

But that’s not all. Every conversation she had was either with or about Luke Danes, her love interest at the time. Oh, and did I mention that even when she is not in the kitchen or talking with/about Luke, she still is not allowed to cross the threshold of that which society considers manly?

Note how the manly men do construction, while Lorelai sits on the sidelines staring at her man.

Now let’s move on to the other Gilmore girl, who has been reduced to nothing more than a scandily clad domesticated woman, providing beverages for her man, recently satisfied in his every carnal need.

When she is not a slave at home whilst her boyfriend attends Yale, she works as a spy for the Daughters of the American Revolution. Now, anyone who has read the likes of Emma, or perhaps a Bronte book or two, should know that a female protagonist spying on others and manipulating the world in secret is a classic example of the archetypal oppressed woman finding power in a male-dominated world. While some may see symbolism and expression of womanly power as advocating of women’s rights as anything else, I choose to see things differently. To use this as a source of womanly power on such a modern show is like saying “Just as in old times, this is the only kind of power you will get.” Not only that, but working in the D.A.R. whilst all males are everywhere else is like saying “Here, have some power over other women. It’s the only kind of power you will get.” How shameless can these writers be?

But it’s not just the women that portray a world only hopeful for the men. Look at the promising and compelling male roles of the show, such as the wise and just ruler Taylor Doose, and the fiercely independent and successful Kirk Gleason. And how could we forget Luke?

Luke plays the role of a very sexist man, a spoiled brat getting his every way – because he’s a man. Note that Lorelai has to go to Luke’s mangy diner in order to be with him, yet not once in the episode does he venture to the Dragonfly Inn, where Lorelai works. In this particular episode, he also nearly kills Lorelai’s dog out of neglect for anything sacred to his girlfriend. Not wanting Lorelai to realize she is better off without a man’s influence over her, he desperately tries to save the dog in hopes that the status quo will remain. Lorelai, much like the untrainted audience, sees his efforts as nothing but noble – an act of love and concern.

I, for one, am glad this abomination of a show was taken off the air. We as a society cannot make the steps we need towards gender equality until shows like Gilmore Girls stop brainwashing the impressionable minds of today. I shudder to think at how many men watched this show, and just how many of them saw the Gilmore Girls world as a world that is acceptable in any way.

About The Author

Chalkey is out to prove that video games, as well as television and movies, can be just as literary as literature. As a journalist and editor, his work has also appeared in The Record (Detroit, MI), The Artful Dodge (Wooster, OH), The Westford Eagle (Westford, MA), Real Change (Seattle, WA), Die Jerusalёmmer (Germany), Day Old Stubble (the internet), Nugget Bridge (the internet), Overthinking It (the internet), Fear Of A Ghost Planet (the internet), Retroware TV (the internet), and Spare Change News (Boston, MA). He is a simple man that enjoys simple things, like morning jogs and fresh out of the dryer pajamas.
  • Kat

    You know, I used to love this show, but now I understand how sexist it is. Thank you for showing me the light, Chalkey. :P

  • David

    You know, I used to hate this show, but now I understand how sexist it is. Thank you for showing me the light, Chalkey.