Why Lorelai Gilmore is a perfect role model for millennial women
Now that we know Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix, I’m bursting with excitement. While I’m looking forward to the return of the entire cast, what excites me the most the idea of seeing Lorelai again. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the characters, but Lorelai is the wise-cracking and fun-loving friend I’d love to have. I’m closer in age to Rory, but there was always something intimidating about her. She’s lovable, but also freakishly perfect, whereas Lorelai always seemed more nuanced and relatable. In the outpouring of excitement following the announcement of the show’s return, I learned I’m not alone in my adoration for Lorelai, so I thought I’d share some of the reasons she resonates so much with millennial women.
She carved her own path and succeeded.
Ever the rebel, Lorelai opted not to marry Christopher when she was 16 just because it was the “right thing to do.” She left home and ended up at the Independence Inn with baby Rory and worked her way up to general manager, eventually earning a degree in business and opening her own inn. Millennial women in particular can relate — even if we weren’t 16 and pregnant — to starting from the bottom and figuring it out as we go and so to see her succeed is a nice reminder it can be done (even if it entails truckloads of caffeine).
She’s opinionated and witty.
I’ve never been one to mince my words, but Lorelai must be afflicted with the same problem Phoebe Buffet had — too many thoughts and not enough time to stop and think before saying something, and thus we’re blessed with lovely and quotable morsels. But seriously, we are the generation that’s been taught to Lean In and not be afraid to say how we really feel so to see her tell it like it is makes her one of us. Whether she’s being brutally honest (like when she reminds Rory that Dean is a married man after she’d slept with him) or voicing her opinion (“Culs-de-sac? That doesn’t even sound like English”) her openness makes her that much more interesting and a capable conversationalist, to boot.
She’s not perfect.
Lorelai is a lot of awesome things, but she’s also immature and selfish and despite this we still love her and her perfect imperfections. Her flaws make her a full-fledged character and all the more real to us. She’s made mistakes (her engagement to Max, for one) and she’s bratty with her parents at times, but who hasn’t made mistakes or acted up? As millennial women, we’re not afraid to own up to our flaws and we’re not striving to be unattainable, perfect beings, we also just want our own Luke and Sookie to love us — warts and all.
Lorelai is in her thirties, single, and couldn’t be happier (as long as she’s had her coffee, natch). She clearly wanted a connection and a stable relationship, but she didn’t waste her time pining for one. Lorelai’s need for coffee exceeded her need for a man in her life and even when she finally got together with Luke, she never lost sight of her goals and who she was. Even after getting pregnant, she made it a point to make it on her own despite having parents who could’ve provided her with a very comfortable lifestyle and that fierce independent nature carried on into adulthood.
She always had just enough to be comfortable and when her dad gave her loads of money from stocks he’d put in her name, she paid her debt to them for Rory’s schooling. While most of us probably would love to have rich family members there to swoop in when need be, Lorelai’s decision to not partake in their posh lifestyle resonated with those of us who would also be happy with a nice house, a cool Jeep, and enough to pay for take-out regularly.
She’s a cool mom.
Studies have shown that millennial women are waiting to have kids but when they do they’ll do it their way. Lorelai isn’t perfect but she sure did a good job raising Rory and I think most of us would want to have a mother-daughter relationship like theirs. She’s 98 percent friend and two percent mom (as she likes to put it), and she easily falls right into mom mode when need be — like when Rory took a break from Yale — because ultimately she really does know what’s best.
Lorelai’s appeal is twofold: She is us and she’s who we want to be like. She’s everywoman but she’s also doing her own thing, she’s funny but breathlessly witty, a spitfire that we can all hope to keep up with if not emulate. Gilmore Girls succeeded because it showed us a mother-daughter relationship that we’d never seen before on television but it mostly succeeded because it gave us a mother who was more than a mom, she was uniquely herself, defined by her own words instead of other people’s expectations.
(Image via Warner Bros. Television.)