white girls

December 20th, 2016

As a white girl, who watches a lot of white television, I wanted to say something about the Gilmore Girls set that just came out. (((Spoiler alert)))I loved that show and watching it while growing up, so to watch it again, anew, it was so fun to reenter that world. Just like Fuller House is a nostalgic return with a new twist, so was this show for everyone who loved watching those spoiled white girls in this small town America. It was great seeing these three generations navigate through societal expectations and their dreams. Rory grew up in a single parent home but was fully loved and supported for who she was. Lorelai grew up with parents that loved each other but didn’t know how to communicate that love any other way than the stiff way they were taught, thus Lorelai decided to do it completely differently. It just so happens, that her daughter wanted to be somewhat in that world that she herself had left, that of Emily and Richard. So she had to then go back to her parents for help, back to high society for dinner every week, and cater to her daughter’s desire to at least be successful within that world. If that was something that Rory wanted, then Lorelai would support her, because at the very least, she wanted something different for her daughter than what she had; complete support in her child’s dreams even if they differed from hers.

This is a common trope for parents and their children, if not to be equally successful as them, to make sure their children have all the opportunity to be even more so. I know my mom wanted a different life for me than what she had, as she never felt supported intellectually, so she wanted to support me and her other children in going after whatever we wanted for our lives, and make sure that we felt fully capable. ┬áMy mom didn’t graduate college immediately and ultimately really wanted to get married and have babies, because that’s something she knew she wanted to do and could do. And just like Lorelai, my mom raised her kid(s) and then went after her own career goals.

Maybe having kids wasn’t something Lorelai always wanted, but it was something she could do, and did do, and figured it out, with the help of this lovely little town, that was quite quirky. And then to see Rory work so hard and be so smart and put her school and career goals over her relationships was really cool, even though she was distracted by boys and had trouble finding someone that appreciated her, as even the most successful women are apt to do.

And then now to see Rory still struggling years later, after she was supposed to have figured it all out, was very reassuring to watch. That even though she went to Yale and has all the emotional and financial support she could ever want or need, she’s still kind of floundering and doesn’t know what will happen next and is trying her best. That is exactly what a lot of our generation is going through. We were told that we could do whatever we wanted with our lives, to go after our dreams, and then you do, and you’re not exactly where society expects you to be. So then, you’re like, now what?

It’s empowering to see neither Lorelai or Rory succumb to societal pressure to get married, but both of them struggle with that. Even as Rory is kind of a ‘bad person’ now with her relationships, forgetting about her longterm boyfriend, and continuing to see her ex even though he’s engaged, it makes her more relatable; she’s not perfect and wants love but doesn’t know what kind of love she wants exactly. She wants to be her own woman but enjoys the attention and assistance of a man she at least admires. Which is something else a lot of women are trying to figure out. Lorelai wants to be with Luke but has trouble losing the independence she’s worked so hard to have, symbolised by getting married. She is tempted to the Pacific Crest Trail and is about go ‘Wild,’ until she realizes she doesn’t need to. She can allow herself to be happy with a man who loves her and she doesn’t need to prove anything to herself. She can be on her own but she can be happy with a man and make a commitment to him.

And to see these three generations of women interact, and approach the world in different ways, with completely different expectations and ways of life, is applicable to a lot of our lives. Our mother’s had it very different than we did, as did their mothers. But we all appreciate each other and face the changes that come with living in this crazy world. Emily finds her own path after Richard’s death, and although the ambiguous ethnicity of her house keeping staff may seem racist, I think it also could be saying that its not important, she doesn’t mind where their from or who they are, but they help her and she helps them and they become a family to her. Maybe its a little culturally careless, but that’s Emily, and the world she was in for so many years, she’s adapted a lot, and basically rejects that world, so we give her kudos for that.

It’s not a show thats trying to be politically provocative, its commenting on a world that exists, that not everybody is privy to, and that is what television ultimately is. If anything, it raises the point of the disparity between the city and the country and how isolated small towns can be, which is exactly one of the problems that our country ignores.

Spoiler Alert. What I didn’t completely enjoy was that the show ended with Rory being pregnant. I understand that its part of the point show, successful single moms, but isn’t it contradictory also? Isn’t it kind of saying, “Well, if nothing else, you can be a great mother.” Is it not enough to end with that she wrote a book about their story and that there’s a lot to be said about being proud of that story? I think it’s trending to write a book, a lot of women are lately, especially young female celebrity personalities, and its not a bad thing to put your voice out there about your perspective and try to inspire others based on what you’ve learned thus far. Isn’t that what blogging is? Isn’t that what I’m doing now?

I don’t know what I want to happen for Rory, but I don’t know what I want to happen for myself, either. Honestly though, I don’t really want to see Rory raising a child. If that what she wants, then fine, children are great, have fun. And hopefully she can continue to go after her dreams of writing while raising a child. I guess it makes sense for the show to continue along that line, as Lorelai said, full circle, but I would rather see Rory break away from that. Continue to travel and write and sure, be able to come back home, but feel good about being gone and going after what you want while you’re young. Rory is still very young, and like her, we shouldn’t feel rushed to settle down. Maybe she’ll be happy raising a kid and running a paper in small town USA, but because I want something different than that for myself, I think I wanted to see something different for Rory, too.

The conjecture among my friends seems to be that the show was more progressive when it originally aired and today with everything going on, is now more conservative. It may not be able to be as self aware as Fuller House, but regardless, it was great to reenter that world of Stars Hollow, and to have Carol King reprise her role as part of the town was also very cool.