Gilmore “Girlhood”

What does it mean to be a girl? The television series, “Gilmore Girls”, premiered in 2000, presenting the complex yet simple relationship between a teen mother, Lorelai Gilmore, and her now-teenage daughter, Rory. The series defines both Lorelai and Rory as girls, despite their 16-year age difference. Often, Rory is portrayed as the more responsible and sensible of the two. Throughout it’s eight seasons, the mother and daughter duo truly grow up simultaneously, primarily because Lorelai was definitely still considered to be a girl when she got pregnant. Is Lorelai still considered to be in her girlhood? Is Rory? If they aren’t considered to be girls anymore, when did that change occur?

In Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s essay, “Girlhood”, in Keywords for Children’s Literature, chronological age is brought into the definition. The oldest age that the essay cites as being a girl is eighteen years of age, which is the age of consent in most countries, including the U.S. For most of the series, neither Lorelai or Rory can fit this legal criterion. However, in the sequel series, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”, Rory even writes a novel about their lives titled “Gilmore Girls”. Girlhood cannot be concretely defined by chronological age, but instead age at heart. Lorelai, despite her apparent lack of maturity, was able to be very successful in her career, the raising of her daughter, and in her friendships, despite her strict childhood and her teenage pregnancy, so I would consider her to still be in her girlhood in some aspects of her life and women-hood in others. The same can be said for Rory, who truly blazed her own path in life. Girlhood cannot be defined by a number; it’s truly a state of mind.

5 thoughts on “Gilmore “Girlhood””

  1. I absolutely love the show Gilmore Girls and I too have questioned what it means to fall into the parameters of so-called “Girlhood.” I previously read an article by Nancy Lesko that discusses denaturalizing the discourse of youth and adolescence. In her articles she states “Youth is considered a liminal, “coming of age” period, in which individuals are wedged between two statuses, childhood and adulthood” (Lesko, 1996). Typically, we would associate girlhood with youthfulness, so that questions the status in which girlhood actually falls. We consider Lorelai an adult, but much like you said, she portrays many signs of still being in the girlhood stage. So, how do we classify her in the terms of age? Is she actually an adult or is there are line that blurs between childhood, girlhood and adulthood?

  2. I think it’s really interesting that you picked Girlmore Girls to talk about. I also have always wondered which of the female characters are considered the Gilmore “Girls”. Are Rory and Lorelei the only two? Does Lorelei’s mother Emily count as a Gilmore girl? I agree that girlhood can’t be concretely defined by chronological age and I find it interesting how the shows calls this into question.

  3. I enjoyed your perspective on chronological age versus the age in which an individual feels or acts. The title also brings up a lot of these questions. You showed a great way in which popular culture can both help us understand and question the ways we think about girlhood in modern society today and at the time in which the show initially aired.

  4. I always considered both Lorelai and Rory to be girls. The playful relationship they had with each other was something reminiscent of two thirteen year olds gossiping and talking about boys…something a “girl” would do. Age does not really matter, it’s all about how the person views life and themselves.

  5. When the question was first asked at the beginning of the semester of when does girlhood end, I thought it never really does. Like mentioned above, for some things I consider myself a woman and during other times I call myself a girl. I really think it depends on what we are doing. When it comes to work and big decisions the woman comes out. During other times the young girl comes out in me. May it be laughing with friends or a significant other, or playing with children. I don’t think we can ever get rid of the girl in us. I think that is true for males too. The boy will always be there somewhere. We can’t stop the girl or boy in us from coming out from time to time because it is who we once where. It may be a good thing that a piece of our innocence and “young mind set” will always be there when we need it.

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