It’s been over ten years since Stars Hollow’s favorite daughter graduated from Yale and left town to pursue a career in journalism, and five years since she returned to Stars Hollow, having spectacularly failed at her career in journalism. We have been quiet—in the background, really—for more than two decades, as the denizens of our hamlet have revered the pretty and freakishly smart Rory Gilmore. We now feel enough time has passed that we can point out that we, the other girls who lived in Stars Hollow, deserve some recognition too.
Listen, it’s not a case of sour grapes. We get it. Rory is inexplicably skinny despite surviving mainly on Mallomars and takeout Indian food, with those bright blue eyes. She read Proust and Gore Vidal at age sixteen while listening to Björk, MC5, Sparks, and a bunch of bands we admit we’ve never heard of. All we’re saying is that there were other worthy girls in Stars Hollow too. Like, did you know that during the same summer Rory volunteered for Rebuilding Together so she’d have something to put on her transcript, Melinda Jakowski and her dad rode their bikes across America—the whole fucking country—to raise awareness about climate change? Melinda was interviewed by CNN, USA Today, and Teen Vogue, but did anyone in Stars Hollow notice? No. She didn’t even get a free sundae at Taylor’s Old Fashioned Soda Shoppe.
Felicia Perez was the valedictorian of Stars Hollow High, with a 4.4 GPA, the same year Rory was valedictorian at Chilton. Felicia received a standing ovation for her inspiring speech that wove together Platonic idealism, the unpublished manuscripts of Zelda Fitzgerald, and the lyrics to “Go Head” by Queen Latifah. An editor from Little Brown reached out and asked Felicia whether she’d be interested in publishing it as a chapbook, accompanied by original artwork by Julio Reyes. She said yes, as long as the profits all went to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. And you know what? Andrew has only one copy at his bookstore, and it’s not even on the staff favorites table.
Shayla Washburn earned a full academic scholarship to Howard University. Now, we realize that Howard isn’t as revered as the ivy-covered cobblestone of Yale, but it’s still pretty fucking good. Especially since Shayla’s tuition was funded based on her own merit, not on the wealth of her grandparents.
And OMG, did you hear about Rachel Bolshon? She works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and played a critical role in the capture and kill of Osama bin Laden. It’s not as if her name was in the newspaper—everyone’s job in these covert operations is very hush-hush—but she told her mom, who told Babette, who told Miss Patty, and so, you know.
Listen, we can’t say that all of us had extraordinary academic or professional lives. Avika Khatri dropped out of state college after two years, and works at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Boston. Danielle Two Eagle married her college sweetheart and became a stay-at-home mom to three kids. Julia Tanaka and her wife are happily child free (unless you count their whippet, Frank), and run an organic bee farm in Vermont. Linda Schaler got pregnant when she was sixteen—just like Rory’s mom—and said, Fuck that, and marched over to the Planned Parenthood behind Al’s Pancake World for an abortion. (It might surprise outsiders to know that there’s an abortion clinic in Stars Hollow, since Lane had twins from an unplanned pregnancy—even though she and Zach admitted they weren’t ready to be parents—and even though Sookie kept the child, Jackson impregnated her after pretending he’d had a vasectomy.)
Sadly, decades of witnessing the unvarnished adoration of Rory Gilmore did have an adverse effect on some of us. Megan Tollera figured that if Rory Gilmore could sleep with a married man and still have people throw her elaborate parties and buy her a $32,000 Birkin bag, then how bad could it be? She slept with Yesina Vasquez’s husband. And Caitlin Morgan’s husband. And Fiona Shuni’s fiancé. Long story short, we all ended up considering Megan a pariah, and she fled to California. I guess it worked out okay for her, though, because she’s on one of those Real Housewives shows.
Monique Fogarty assumed if she could just lose a little more weight, then maybe she’d attract the attention of a tall new kid in town, a dangerous bad boy (new to town), and/or an extremely rich, handsome playboy at college. She ended up in eating-disorder treatment twice. When you get right down to it, a lot of us have struggled with food and weight issues. At least Monique was able to emerge with a best-selling memoir called All the Cheeseburgers in the World (with Luke’s menu as the cover art) about her struggle to reach some unattainable ideal of thinness. She’s now a body-positivity influencer with 445,000 followers on Instagram.
What we are saying, good people of Stars Hollow, is not that we are uniformly better or worse than Rory Gilmore, but that we exist. And your continued dismissal of our very existence, of our own gifts and dreams and failures and desires, has had a long-term effect on us. We do hope that you will keep this in mind for how you treat future generations of girls in Stars Hollow—especially if Rory Gilmore decides to keep that baby.