Gilmore Girls and the Politics of Identity

Essays on Family and Feminism in the Television Series


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About the Book

This work examines the Gilmore Girls from a post-feminist perspective, evaluating how the show’s main female characters and supporting cast fit into the classic portrayal of feminine identity on popular television. The book begins by placing Gilmore Girls in the context of the history of feminism and feminist television shows such as Mary Tyler Moore and One Day at a Time. The remainder of the essays look at series’ portrayal of traditional and non-traditional gender identities and familial relationships.
Topics include the hyper-real utopia represented by Gilmore Girls’ fictional Stars Hollow; the faux-feminist perspective offered by Rory Gilmore’s unfulfilling (and often masochistic) romantic relationships; the ways in which “mean girl” Paris Geller both adheres to and departs from the traditional archetype of female power and aggression; and the role of Lorelai Gilmore’s oft-criticized marriage in destroying the show’s central theme of single motherhood during its seventh season. The work also studies the role of food and its consumption as a narrative device throughout the show’s development, evaluating the ways in which food negotiates, defines, and upholds the characters’ gendered and class performances. The work also includes a complete episode guide listing the air date, title, writer, and director of every episode in the series.

About the Author(s)

Ritch Calvin teaches in the women’s studies program at SUNY Stony Brook in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ritch Calvin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliographies, indexes
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3727-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5494-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Introduction—“Where You Lead”:Gilmore Girls and the Politics of Identity

Ritch Calvin      1

1. Welcome to Stars Hollow: Gilmore Girls, Utopia, and the Hyperreal

Erin K. Johns and Kristin L. Smith      23

2. Rory Gilmore and Faux Feminism: An Ivy League Education and Intellectual Banter Does Not a Feminist Make

Molly McCaffrey      35

3. Reinventing the Bitch: The Dynamicism of Paris Geller

Angela Ridinger-Dotterman      50

4. Drats! Foiled Again: A Contrast in Definitions

Anne K. Burke Erickson      63

5. Good Girls, Bad Girls, and Motorcycles: Negotiating Feminism

Alicia Skipper      80

6. Got MILF? Losing Lorelai in Season Seven

Tiffany Aldrich MacBain and Mita Mahato      96

7. Wheat Balls, Gravlax, Pop Tarts: Mothering and Power

Melanie Haupt      114

8. Generation Gap? Mothers, Daughters, and Music

Faye Woods      127

9. Like Mother-Daughter, Like Daughter-Mother: Constructs of Motherhood in Three Generations

Stacia M. Fleegal      143

10. Gender Lies in Stars Hollow

Brenda Boyle and Olivia Combe      159

11. Food Fights: Food and Its Consumption as a Narrative Device

Lindsay Coleman      175

12. Still More Gilmore: How Internet Fan Communities Remediate Gilmore Girls

Daniel Smith-Rowsey      193

Appendix: Episode Guide      205

Notes on Contributors      213

Character Index      217

General Index      219