One could argue that, even in these modern times, both men and women are either misrepresented or underrepresented on television. When a show airs, nitpickers can comb through it and pull up examples of sexism or prejudice no matter how hard it tries to avoid them, and ultimately I think it’s impossible to please everyone. Recently, whilst searching for a TV show, I settled on Gilmore Girls, a show I’d heard of but had never seen.
As is typical of my personality, when I watch a show or even read a book I have to know everything about it. That includes reviews and fan opinions on various websites, all of which seem to have a problem with the writing, the representation of men on the show, the fast-paced dialogue and most prominently of all, the two female leads themselves. The mother and daughter team, Lorelai and Rory, have a lot of expectations to live up to, and there are a whole host of critics out there ready to pull them to pieces. But more than any other show I’ve watched, especially the ones geared towards women, Gilmore Girls is possibly the most accurate and satisfying in terms of its portrayal of both sexes.
Firstly, the two lead female characters are beautifully flawed in a realistic way. Comment boards are full of people complaining that they hate Lorelai for her selfishness or Rory for the same, but these are not two superheroines or paragons of virtue who can always be favourably compared against the men in the show. Personally, I found myself amused and frustrated by the both of them, and if a show absorbs you into the characters’ lives so successfully then it’s done its job right. If you’re looking at female representation on television and feeling rather disheartened, then I recommend this show. I’m not sure how a man would view the show, as far as I can tell the male characters are as diverse and humanly flawed as the women, and most importantly the female empowerment doesn’t come from putting the men down.
What annoys me most is when feminism comes out with a hatred of men. Female characters are so often superior in both common sense and physical prowess; they put men in their place or leave the men behind in their dust, and whilst this is a step up from the damsels in distress of old, it seems to me that it’s gone a little too far in the other direction. The men closest to me, namely my father and brother, feel personally threatened and attacked by how men are represented in films, television shows or even adverts.
So this may be a little late in the day, but as Gilmore Girls recently had a four episode long special I feel safe in recommending it to both men and women as a funny, engaging and satisfying show to watch. Relationships between mothers and daughters are so often shown as contentious, as are relationships between men and women, but here they’re shown as the rich and complicated aspects of life that they truly are.