What Rory Gilmore Taught Me About Being a Know-it-All
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve seen Gilmore girls more than once. When I say more than once, I actually mean I’ve probably watched the entire series at least fifteen times. It’s a running joke between my friends and I that I’m basically a walking Gilmore encyclopedia.
I remember coming home from school every day and, without fail, putting on ABC Family at 5 p.m. to spend time with Stars Hollows’ locals for an hour.
Amy Sherman-Palladino created a world I wanted to be a part of. The show provided me with a sense of comfort that, in my personal experience, television rarely accomplishes — a unique, singular universe filled with coffee, pizza, pop culture references, and dynamic women characters.
As a fourth grader, I didn’t realize how radically important stories like these are. I simply knew the banter was witty and Rory Gilmore performed well in school like I did.
Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to watch the show more closely and critically. As a 22-year-old college student studying journalism and women’s studies, I love analyzing the ways in which media represents women. After re-watching Gilmore girls as an adult, I have now begun to understand its feminist undertones. Particularly, how Rory had a profound, positive influence on my identity as a woman.
Our lives have always paralleled, minus a few characteristics, such as Rory’s wealthy family, for example.
Rory is an academically gifted, voracious reader who carried a book with her everywhere she went, just like me. She had a small, tight-knit group of friends and consistently maintained razor sharp focus on her goals: attending a prestigious university and becoming a journalist, just like me. Rory is incredibly close with her mother throughout the duration of the series, just like me. She and I also share a serious coffee addiction.
In television and movies, intelligent female characters often fall into the “geek girl” trope. They’re one-dimensional characters considered unlikable and uncool, typically branded as “know-it-all’s” or “weird”. Consequently, young girls internalize these harmful messages, which impact their self-esteem. In fact, according to The Representation Project, depression among girls and women has doubled over the past ten years, a disturbing statistic attributed to media representation focused on beauty and youth, not intelligence or capacity to lead.
During a time in which you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you like, and your place in the world, feeling ostracized because you’re smart can often lead to pressure to dumb yourself down.
Rory subverts this stereotype, though. She’s a complex character who never falls into the “geek” category simply because she’s read The Iliad and gets straight A’s. She’s funny, smart, creative and friendly. She also makes mistakes and sometimes loses her way. She’s multifaceted, like all girls and women.
Women and girls should be encouraged to follow their personal interests, including studying and reading. We shouldn’t be shamed for enriching and expanding their minds. I’m grateful to have grown up watching a smart girl who was praised and revered for her intellect. Characters like Rory show us why knowing-it-all should be a goal — as long as you’re drinking coffee while doing it.
Originally published at obviweretheladies.com on February 16, 2017.