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10 Times The Female Characters Were Slut-Shamed


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Gilmore Girls may have been ahead of its time in many ways, but it wasn’t above some inappropriate slut-shaming and body-shaming, too.

Was Gilmore Girls ahead of its time? Amy Sherman-Palladino’s small town New England story about the relationship between a single mother and her daughter is certainly a cultural touchstone for many. However, in recent years, its feminism has been under fire.

RELATED: Gilmore Girls: 10 Major Relationships, Ranked Least To Most Successful

Perhaps the series was not as progressive as initially believed. For one, there are myriad instances of slut-shaming scattered across the show. Each of them position the show in a much more unsavory light than it has otherwise been remembered. Its merits still outweigh its flaws, but these moments of slut-shaming on the show are certainly hard to ignore.

10 Lorelai Disowned

lorelai and emily gilmore

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When Alexis Bledel’s Rory was born, Lauren Graham’s Lorelai and David Sutcliffe’s Christopher were not the most popular people in the visions of their respective parents. A teenage pregnancy hardly goes over well.

But the reaction from Emily Gilmore at Lorelai’s altered life path was one of undeniable slut-shaming. She thought such an act was beneath the Gilmore prestige and she lorded it over Lorelai for her entire life.

9 Shame On Lane?

The same is true of Lane, who ends up building a life for herself away from her mother with Zach and their eventual kids. Mrs. Kim, however, was hardly keen on the idea of Lane moving away, never mind the idea of Lane having sex.

Just like Lorelai, Lane ended up being shamed by her mother for her actions and it took multiple seasons to build back their relationship. It seemed dire for a while, especially considering the subtle slut-shaming at every turned-up-nose look Mrs. Kim gave her daughter.

8 Sacrifice Life For Dean?

Gilmore Girls - Lorelai and Rory

When Rory ends up infatuated with her first ever crush, Jared Padalecki’s Dean, Lorelai is hardly smitten with him, as if she’s intent on dooming herself to the same cycle perpetuated by Emily.

At even the slightest inkling that Rory fancies Dean, Lorelai becomes immediately fatalistic. She assumes that Rory is ready to sacrifice her life just to be with Dean, internalizing the feeling within Rory that any act of romance is an act of betrayal to her initial buttoned-up nature.

7 Rory’s Fault?

This isn’t the only time Rory ends up slut-shamed over the course of Gilmore Girls. When her relationship with Milo Ventimiglia’s Jess comes to a head, he ends up blaming her for it.

RELATED: Gilmore Girls: 5 Times Jess Was A “Nice Guy” (& 5 Times He Was Actually A Good Person)

Of course, it was Jess who tried to pressure Rory into sex when she wasn’t ready. Immediately after, a fight breaks out between Jess and Dean, but all the while, Rory is left feeling ashamed when Jess ends the relationship over a perfectly reasonable act on Rory’s part. It’s a rare bit of sex-less slut-shaming.

6 Rory’s Affair

Gilmore Girls Rory and Dean

Not to mention, however, that Rory did occasionally have some terrible ideas in love. For one, she engages in a later affair with Dean, despite the fact that he was married by the time it was initiated.

RELATED: Gilmore Girls: 5 Times We Felt Bad For Rory (& 5 Times We Hated Her)

While it was the wrong decision, it was also not solely hers. Lorelai’s reaction is to deliberately pin the blame on Rory, while failing to acknowledge Dean’s culpability. The slut-shaming only went one way in that instance.

5 Insults, Insults, Insults

Lorelai and Rory in Gilmore Girls

From the very first episode of Gilmore Girls, the slut-shaming flew around the show. One could construe the instances of slut-shaming as the writers reclaiming vicious insults, but for the most part, they have only aged poorly.

Terms like “whore” and “tramp” and “slut” are used with relative frequency on the series. There are too many specific times to name! It’s a wonder no one was ever called a strumpet!

4 Do Something Slutty?

lorelai gilmore mad

One of these aforementioned instances of slut-shaming insults comes directly in the first episode of Gilmore Girls. When Rory returns home to find Lorelai in a sunny mood, she asks, “Did you do something slutty?”

RELATED: Gilmore Girls: 10 Things From The Pilot That Would Never Fly Today

Putting aside that this is an insane thing for a child to ask her mother, it’s also said in an accusatory tone. Rory doesn’t necessarily mean ill-will by asking it, but she is certainly of the mindset that Lorelai is only happy when she’s sexual.

3 “The Good Kid”

“The Big One” is an infamous episode of Gilmore Girls, largely because it contains one of the most prominent examples of slut-shaming in the history of the show. And it comes from the series’ best character, no less.

When Lorelai Gilmore learns that Paris is no longer a virgin, but Rory still is, she squeals, “I’ve got the good kid.” Of all the cringe-worthy moments on the show, this one remains the most difficult to watch.

2 Body Shaming, Too

rory gilmore

In Gilmore Girls‘ “Afterboom” episode, Rory begins to resent the personal relationships other students have with the professor. This resentment reaches the point where Rory suspects her classmate to be flirting with the professor.

It’s not enough that she engages in this sort of slut-shaming thinking and frame of mind. She also resorts to body-shaming on top of it all, describing the student as having “fat thighs.” This was definitely one of Gilmore Girls‘ cardinal sins.

1 Public Breastfeeding

gilmore girls luke

Luke’s discomfort and uneasiness at a woman breastfeeding in his diner is not an outward moment of slut-shaming. It is more of an anti-feminist statement from Luke.

However, the place he comes from when condemning the behavior is one that still internalizes breasts in a sexual manner, meaning Luke was content to feel abhorrently towards a woman who was only taking care of her baby because he considered her act to be heinous and promiscuous, despite it being nothing of the sort.

NEXT: Gilmore Girls: Main Characters Ranked From Most To Least Likely To Die In A Horror Movie


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Updated: November 14, 2020 — 11:00 pm

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