Let’s face it: Gilmore Girls is one of the most iconic shows to come out of the 2000s. As well as the original seven spectacular series, we were blessed with the brief Netflix revival, A Year in the Life, back in 2016 and our lives have never been the same.
Rory and Lorelai Gilmore were basically every young woman’s role model back when the show aired – actually, they kinda still are for a lot of us. They were a badass mother-and-daughter duo surrounded by equally badass friends and family. What’s not to love? Oh, and they dated some cute guys too. Not that it matters, of course: the show was about the girls, not the men who happened to be in their lives.
Watching Rory grow up and Lorelai continue to learn about adulthood provided us with a whole load of important life lessons throughout Gilmore Girls’ run. We were taught about self-respect, confidence, and the acceptability of eating pizza for almost every meal. Here are just a few of the crucial life tips we took from this amazing show.
A pretty large group of the world’s young women can probably credit Lorelai Gilmore with kick-starting their coffee addiction. A cup of Joe is her solution to pretty much every problem out there! Are things not going so well in your love life? Let’s talk it through over coffee! Is work a bit of a struggle today? It’s time for a shot of espresso! Need some liquid courage? Screw alcohol – it’s caffeine time! While Lorelai’s coffee habit is probably linked to the fact her crush, Luke, is the one serving it, we still respect her commitment to the caffeinated cause.
Throughout Gilmore Girls, the scrapes that the characters get into prove that while honesty isn’t always the easiest policy, it’s definitely the best one. Both Rory and Lorelai see relationships end after failing to be honest about their feelings. Just look at Rory and Dean! Rory tries to hide her feelings for Jess from Dean to no avail, and their relationship ends much more acrimoniously than it needed to.
Likewise, it’s abundantly clear that Luke and Lorelai should have been honest about their feelings for each other literally YEARS before they finally get together! It would have saved them both a lot of heartaches. Whether you’re hiding something from a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend, Gilmore Girls encourages us all to stop the pretenses and just tell the truth.
We all know from experience that embracing something that makes you happy can actually be pretty scary – especially if it’s something you or your loved ones didn’t expect you to do. Again, I’m thinking of Luke and Lorelai here. One of the biggest obstacles to them actually getting together was their mutual fear of admitting their feelings for one another. They were scared things wouldn’t work out and it’d ruin their friendship. Equally, they were scared that things would work out and that they’d have to sacrifice their independence. They both knew deep down that they were meant to be together, but their mutual fear held them back from attaining happiness for WAY too long. Feel the fear, but do it anyway. You’re never going to grow as a person if you don’t.
Both of the Gilmore girls are no strangers to unexpected surprises and plans going awry. Hell — Lorelai was 16 years old and pregnant! From the get-go, it’s clear that Lorelai didn’t plan to have a daughter in her teen years but it ends up being the best thing that ever happened to her. She becomes fiercely independent, an amazing mom, and successful in her career of choice.
Then, later on, Rory initially feels crushed when she doesn’t get her dream job at The New York Times post-grad. It’s all she’s wanted for a long time, and she can’t imagine being successful or happy without achieving this goal. However, this rejection opens the door to an incredible career opportunity. Rory is left free to accept an amazing journalistic job, following then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Even if your preferred door closes, an equally brilliant one can open to take its place.
Speaking of Lorelai’s teenage motherhood, another life lesson that Gilmore Girls taught us was to never judge a book by its cover. There are a lot of negative stereotypes surrounding young, single mothers. Some people seriously judge them, believing that they struggle with parenting and that they’re somehow morally ‘inferior’ to other (married) mothers. Lorelai blows all of those unfair assumptions out of the water. Yes, she had Rory in her teens. Yes, she predominantly raises her alone. But she does a pretty stellar job of it, all things considered! She works to provide a loving and stable home for her daughter. She doesn’t let the circumstances of her daughter's birth negatively impact her in any way.
Both Rory and Lorelai have their fair share of dating experiences throughout Gilmore Girls’ run. Some experiences end better than others, and some don’t end at all (LUKE AND LORELAI FOREVER). However, it’s always made clear that neither mother nor daughter needs a romantic relationship to be happy. Their boyfriends don’t complete their lives; they’re already fulfilled and happy. Having a boyfriend is just an added bonus. Neither girl lingers for too long in a relationship that makes her unhappy simply for the sake of having one. They recognize that having no boyfriend is far preferable to having a bad one. While it sometimes takes them a while to make that realization, they always get there in the end. Having a romantic relationship can be great, but it’s not compulsory.
The town of Stars Hollow is full to the brim with strong feminist role models. None of these women take any kind of crap from guys, misogyny and mansplaining included. Yes, the show does often focus on women’s relationships with men, but guys aren’t the be-all and end-all of their lives. These women talk about their careers, their hopes and dreams, their friendships, and their strength. Let’s not forget feminist icon Paris Geller’s incredible clap-back to Chilton headmaster Hanlin Charleston when he assumes she and Rory are arguing over a boy. "We're girls, so we could only be arguing about a boy, right?" It was icy as hell and the perfect put-down. These girls care about so much more than simply pleasing men – as they should!
Rory Gilmore was basically the ultimate role model for bookworms everywhere. Being an avid reader hasn’t always exactly been the ‘cool’ thing for a teenage girl to do. A young girl? Reading? Focusing on books rather than boys? It’s a revolutionary concept to more traditional thinkers. However, Rory didn’t give a damn about what other people thought. She loved her books – especially of the feminist kind – and made no secret of it. The show references no less than 339 books throughout its run and an actual Gilmore Girls reading list is available online. If you’re looking for a long project based on your favorite show, you might want to check it out! Rory had good taste.
Throughout Gilmore Girls, the importance of getting a good education is constantly stressed. Even in the very first episode, Rory is shown choosing a better high school over a cute boy at her old one so that she can get the best start in life possible. Education enables Rory to achieve her goals and grow hugely as a person. However, the show also acknowledges that not everyone can follow the traditional high school – college – job route. Lorelai certainly couldn’t – as a teenage mom, she had to focus fully on her young daughter and couldn't go to college after high school like her peers could. However, she goes back to college as an adult, proving that it’s never too late to achieve your educational goals.
One of the best things about Gilmore Girls is just how supportive the Stars Hollow community is. Each character can always count on their friends having their back, no matter what the situation is. While there are times when various characters are uncertain whether they should ask for help, the show makes it clear that you should always seek help when you’re struggling. It doesn’t make you weak or compromise your status as a badass independent woman. It just shows that you’re human. We all need a hand from time to time! As Rory once famously quipped, “I cannot do this alone. I need my mommy and I don’t care who knows it.” She had nothing to be ashamed of, and neither should you.
The characters of Gilmore Girls may be freaking incredible, but they’re not perfect. They all make mistakes at some point in the series, and you know what? That’s fine. The world doesn’t end because they mess up; they simply find a way to fix things then move on. For example, Lorelai quickly realizes she’s made a mistake basically every time she reignites her relationship with Christopher. Instead of wallowing in self-pity or pretending everything is okay, she ultimately admits she’s made bad choices and moves on, leaving her free to spend the rest of her life with Luke. It doesn’t make her any less of a good person; just one who, like all of us, isn’t infallible. We should all learn from Lorelai’s example.
I know, I know – not comparing yourself to others is a LOT easier said than done. However, it’s only going to end badly if you do it too much. Just because your friends are doing better career or education-wise than you doesn’t mean you’re a ‘lesser’ person. Being the only single one in a group of friends doesn’t mean that you’re unattractive. Paris is constantly comparing herself to others and it never turns out for the best — especially in the early seasons. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to have value and doing something different can often be the best path. Be yourself.
Family is at the center of everything in Gilmore Girls. Rory and Lorelai are more like best friends than mother and daughter. They love each other unconditionally and always have each other’s backs. Sure, they have their fallings out, but what family doesn’t? They’re ultimately always there to support one another through thick and thin.
The same can be said for Lorelai and her parents, Richard and Emily, though their unconditional love is often a bit harder to spot. While they were estranged for years in the aftermath of Lorelai’s pregnancy, the family eventually reunites. Things did remain a bit tense for a while, but Lorelai ultimately realized that her parents really do love and support her. Have you called your mom recently? GO DO IT NOW!
For Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, staying quiet about their views simply isn’t an option. These two strong-willed women constantly stand up for what they believe in, whether it’s in domestic life or in more far-reaching circumstances. Rory is something of a young activist if her Yale days are anything to go by! Her dorm room is plastered with posters for Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, and she’s pretty vocal around campus regarding the issue of human rights. Lorelai does nothing but encourages her outspokenness, which is exactly how it should be. Too many parents get embarrassed about their children speaking out and ‘making a scene,’ but not Lorelai. She’ll start the scene herself and encourage Rory to join in.
The women of Gilmore Girls are pretty clear about the fact that their sex lives are their business, and their business only. If anyone even tries to slut-shame them, they shut it down before the sentence is even out of their adversary’s mouth. Not that it happens very often – Star Hollow is generally a very sex-positive and open place! Sex isn’t a taboo topic and nobody questions how many relationships or ~nights of passion~ a woman has. That even includes older women like Lorelai and Sookie – if they want to sleep with people, then that’s their right! Nobody even bats an eyelid.
According to Lorelai and Rory, pizza is both a lifestyle and a religion. Frankly, we’re inclined to agree. One of the reasons Gilmore Girls is so incredible is that it doesn’t try to push unrealistic diets or eating habits on girls. Instead, it basically invented the principle of “treat yo self.” The show takes the shame out of eating and instead makes it something that you most definitely can do out of comfort or pleasure. If you’ve had a bad day and want to collapse in your PJs with a takeaway pizza, you go for it. Nobody in Star Hollow is going to judge you – and neither will we.
One of the most important messages to take from Gilmore Girls is that women are freaking amazing. You probably already knew that, let’s be honest, but the show only confirms it. Its female characters are strong, smart, and sassy. They don’t let men define them but also know how to have healthy romantic relationships. They know their worth and they follow their dreams without worrying about what others will think. They basically keep the town of Star Hollow running smoothly. Here’s to women – we’re incredible, and we should own our badassery. Now, who wants to have a Gilmore Girls marathon?
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