'Gilmore Girls' Star Shares the #1 Lesson the Show Teaches Our Daughters

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There's maybe more debate than we wish there needed to be about whether or not Gilmore Girls was a feminist show. On one hand, it was, at its core, a show about women and the ups and downs of their daily lives, no matter how mundane those lives were or were not in any given season. On the other hand, in a 2016 frame of mind, a small slice of the jokes -- like those in which things were called "gay," "retarded," or "whorish" -- are painfully outdated. But in her interview with Cosmopolitan.com, Liza Weil, the actress who plays Paris Geller, reminded us of one key thing we should focus on: No matter what else, Gilmore Girls taught young girls that it was cool to be smart.


You could argue that there's something unfeminist about even that -- we should, after all, be teaching girls that there's not just one quality that'll make you cooler or better than anyone else -- but there's still enormous value in it. Here's Rory Gilmore, a self-confessed nerd with books up to her eyeballs and an undergraduate degree from Yale, who values her own smartness more than anything else. She would rather leverage her intelligence than her beauty or her connections, though any will do in a pinch.

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And then next to her is Paris Geller, a wholly unlikable character who is pushy and cocksure, overbearing and driven to an annoying degree. But above all else, Paris is smart. And that, Weil says, is why she was lucky to get to play Paris on a show like Gilmore Girls when she was young. As Weil told Cosmo:

[Gilmore Girls] made it really cool for girls to be smart. I really don't think there were any other shows like that at that time that were portraying young girls like that. There were a lot of beauty shows, teen soaps, a lot of attention on looking pretty and being sexualized. It was really a gift for me to not have to do that and to really be able to explore the real issues of what it is to grow up. 

That's kind of it: The fact that we got to spend so much time with these women while we watched them grow up means they never had the chance to claim perfection. We could see them make mistakes, deal with the consequences, then come to terms with the resolutions in real time. Gilmore Girls made it cool to be smart, yes -- but it also made it cool to be flawed.

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It also, for the record, made it cool to be single. Weil pointed out that while the obsession over Rory's love life has led to major bonding among the millions of Gilmore Girls fans across the world, it also somewhat obscures the fact that some of Lorelai's and Rory's best and strongest moments often came when they were single. Weil explained:

... [T]hese are very strong women who don't need men to go through life with or have them be a part of their identity; they're very capable of standing on their own. [Amy Sherman-Palladino] kind of deals with that beautifully in the revival .... There's a lot to be learned from that, to watch Rory navigate, and watch her figure it out and be a little older.

Cryptic as they may be, Weil's comments give us hope for the revival. No, we may not see Lorelai and Rory (and Paris and everyone else) ride off into the sunset in pickup trucks or Porsches or whatever else the men in the show drive. But, as Weil reminds us, the Gilmore girls don't need that. And neither do we.

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