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Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in gilmore girls
Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in gilmore girls
Saeed Adyani/Netflix
Culture > Entertainment

In Defense of Rory Gilmore

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

Rory Gilmore is known as one of the most iconic teenagers on television of all time. An audience of millions watched her grow up, fall in love, find herself and even lose herself. However, years after her reign as TV’s queen, she’s become a rather controversial character. I find myself to be one of the few members of the “Rory Gilmore defense squad” and hope to convert others to join me. 

I agree with some criticisms about Rory. She shouldn’t have gotten into Harvard over Paris, she was awful to Dean, she had her moments where she was genuinely a bad person… but I think some of them are justified. She grew up with an immature mother (although I love Lorelai), a father she never saw (who was generally a bad person, also) and she had tons of pressure on her at all times. Rory is the burnt-out gifted kid and despite her flaws, I love her.

A lot of people say she’s entitled… she’s a white millennial from Connecticut so, yeah, she is. I don’t think that’s enough to hate her character. Compared to the criticism she gets versus some of the other characters it seems unfair. Logan is extremely entitled and spoiled yet gets only a fraction of the backlash that Rory does. Jess also has a sense of entitlement. He thinks he can get Rory to run away with him and earlier on in the series is horrible to Luke, the man who agreed to take him in and care for him. This doesn’t make any of them bad characters or bad people, I just find it interesting that people seem to go a lot easier on the male characters of the show. 

Early on in the series, Rory watched as Lorelai sacrificed her mental health to ensure that Rory would get into Harvard by agreeing to the Friday night dinners with her parents for her Chilton tuition. Emily and Richard did nothing but manipulate and belittle Lorelai and she tolerated it because if she didn’t, Rory wouldn’t be able to achieve her goals in life. 

This was something that put a lot of pressure on Rory. She was the epitome of a people pleaser growing up. In her defense, everyone loved her. Any sort of negativity or criticism earned a justified response. No one taught her anything but praise. It made sense that when she went to Chilton and met people who didn’t like her, she couldn’t understand why. 

This idea of living off of praise is more prominent when she went to Yale and dropped out for a semester. While many people get mad at Rory for dropping out, saying it just showed her entitlement more, I think it was a perfect choice for her character. Rory Gilmore was defined by the opinions of others her whole life. When Mr. Huntzberger told Rory that the one thing she’d been working for her whole life was unattainable no matter how hard she tried, of course it would cause her to break down and question everything. 

I think her other faults can be boiled down to her being a teenager. The show spans from when she’s fifteen to twenty-one and no one is perfect in these years. She is confused and lost and struggling the whole series, not just when she drops out of school. She just can’t show this side of her because of the expectation of perfection everyone has about her. 

People also say that the revival A Year in the Life is what really killed her character, but I disagree. It goes along very well with the pressure she felt as a teenager and young adult. Being in the real world and feeling so lost only made sense. She was never taught any sort of healthy or productive ways to cope with her feelings of disappointment or anxiety.

When I watched Gilmore Girls, I knew Rory was a hated character. So, I vowed to go into it with as least bias as possible. Yes, she’s annoying. But I was more interested in figuring out why she was acting why she was rather than nitpicking her flaws. 

To any GG loving Swifties, take a listen to “Nothing New” with Rory in mind, maybe you’ll see things differently.

I really love flawed and unlikable characters. Rory is realistic and human and even relatable at times. I think watchers of Gilmore Girls need to go a little easier on her.

Fiona Loudon

Kent State '23

Fiona Loudon (Senior Editor) is a senior at Kent State University studying English with a minor in Creative Writing. She's a Pittsburgh native who enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her cat, Link. This is her fifth semester in Her Campus and third semester as Senior Editor.