Lorelai the libertarian
This article was originally published on the We Are Libertarians website on April 8, 2016.
Airing from 2000-2007, the comedy-drama television series, Gilmore Girls, followed the atypical (and sometimes enviable) mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the series developed a cult-following due to the witty writing, fast dialogue, and dynamic cast of characters in fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
A smart and sassy woman, Lorelai Gilmore is definitely a libertarian because of the way she upholds the principle of individual freedom and sets a positive example to others, especially her daughter.
Born to an affluent family Hartford, Connecticut, Lorelai grew up with the best of everything. Her parents, Emily and Richard, sent her to the best private schools. At 16, she found out that she was pregnant shortly before her “coming out ball” – a high society event for area debutantes.
The Gilmore’s and the Hayden’s (her boyfriend, Christopher’s parents), put their heads together and decided that the two teenagers would get married right away and that Christopher would go to work for Richard’s insurance firm. Embarrassed that her daughter was pregnant out of wedlock, flashbacks throughout the series show just how condescending and controlling Emily Gilmore was during and after Lorelai’s pregnancy.
Tired of being suffocated by her parents, Lorelai decides to control her own happiness. Leaving just a note behind, she takes her infant daughter, Rory, to the nearest town and asks an innkeeper for a part-time job and a place to stay.
Fast forward 16 years later, and Lorelai is now managing the chic inn where she used to work as a maid. She owns her own home, car, and has raised her daughter to put forth the effort in school to eventually attend an Ivy League university.
Lorelai makes it very clear that she won’t accept help from anyone, until she needs financial support from her parents to send Rory to a rigorous prep school. Her inner-struggle between wanting what’s best for her daughter and being independent from her parents makes for seven seasons of hilariously, dramatic television.
Even though there is constant tension between Lorelai and her controlling mother in almost every episode, Lorelai never ceases to teach Rory that it is best to live an authentic life.
For example, in Season 2, Episode 7, a guidance counselor approaches Rory during the first few weeks at her new, expensive school about being so shut off during lunch hours. Rory usually eats alone while reading and listening to her Walkman. The counselor explains that Rory isn’t fitting in very well and that she would probably make more friends if she socialized at lunch.
Rory tells her mom about this encounter and is self-conscious about how she spends her free hour as any shy, 16-year-old would be.
RORY: I don’t know. Maybe there is something wrong with me.
LORELAI: Oh, don’t say that.
RORY: Maybe I am a loner. I mean, you were mocking my backpack today. I might just be one step away from carrying a mysterious duffel bag.
LORELAI: Oh no, no you don’t. Don’t you go doubting who you are or how you should be. How dare that woman do this to you!
RORY: It wasn’t just her. The whole meeting was [Headmaster] Charleston’s suggestion.
LORELAI: Well, good. It’s time I called on old Schnickelfritz Charleston to tell him to stop messing with my kid’s mind.
LORELAI: No, I’m sorry. I don’t like this. Schools like Chilton try to stamp out every vestige of individuality and I’m not gonna let that happen.
Devastated that Rory is so upset, Lorelai calls a meeting with the Headmaster.
HEADMASTER: How nice. So why did you want to see me?
LORELAI: Well, I wanted to talk to you about Rory and uh, this ridiculous accusation about her being a loner and how that’s somehow something bad.
HEADMASTER: Well, it is bad.
LORELAI: No, it’s not bad, it’s just her. I raised Rory to do what she wants as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. And I don’t see how her reading a book or listening to a Walkman is hurting anyone.
Lorelai spends the rest of the episode (and truly the entire series) empowering Rory, who in turn stands up for herself even when it isn’t the popular thing to do.