Back in 2012, Alexandria Ryahl wrote a piece for Portable.TV (now defunct, but preserved by the Wayback Machine) blasting Gilmore Girls for their portrayal of teenage life and academia through the Rory character. I originally wrote a (rather lengthy) comment on the site, which did not go through, and decided to expand on my thoughts on an old blog of mine. Inspired by my recent dive into the Gilmore Guys podcast and my continuing obsession with the show, I’d like to revisit some of my previous comments on both Rory and the themes ingrained in Gilmore Girls‘ seven season run.
Recently, my boyfriend and I decided to revisit a childhood classic: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the film that jump-started what would prove to be an extremely lucrative and much beloved franchise for Disney. I first watched it not long after its 2003 release, making me 8 or 9 at the time, and enjoyed it, like most other children at the time. It brims with swashbuckling adventure and humor while maintaining Disney’s family-friendly directive. Unfortunately, with my older, more world-weary eyes saw through the dust of nostalgia, dismayed as the film makes no effort to pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test, which stands as an absolute bare minimum requirement for a creative endeavor’s portrayal of women.
Let’s start by making something perfectly clear: I love Star Wars. I live and breathe Star Wars. They’re some of my favorite movies, games, and comics; I’ve read more than my fair share of Star Wars fanfiction and have, over the years, spent a ludicrous amount of money on merchandise and other paraphernalia.
When someone, tasked with buying me a gift, asks for ideas, I give them one instruction: if it has Star Wars on it, I’ll like it.
But even if you’re not as Star Wars obsessed as me (it’s hard, I know) — even if you’ve never seen the films — it’s inescapable, as one of the most popular and beloved film franchises of all time. Even Star Wars Luddites possess an awareness of the major characters, concepts, and plots; Star Wars is a cornerstone of our modern, media-obsessed culture. Yet despite this popularity and its trailblazing approaches to special effects and filming, the Star Wars franchise offers a mixed bag when it comes to the representation of female characters’ visibility and autonomy.