This 'Gilmore Girls' Breastfeeding Scene Exemplifies The Stigma Moms Face All The Time
Any fan of Gilmore Girls knows all about Luke and his penchant for flannel shirts, backwards baseball caps, and scowling about any given thing. I mean, even if you're just a casual fan, you know how much of a lovable grump the diner owner can be. But the Gilmore Girls breastfeeding scene in Season 3 will make you look at Luke in a completely different way — and not in a hateful way, but in a way that shows he exemplifies the stigma surrounding breastfeeding. With Luke's involuntary grumpy old man syndrome, he tends to let things get to him when really they shouldn't be affecting him at all, and this was one battle he had no right fighting, and unfortunately, it's something new moms everywhere might experience every single day.
So let's talk about this scene I'm referring to. A mom sitting at one of the tables in Luke's Diner unbuttons her top to feed her baby, among a table of parents that Luke was already complaining about due to their loud volume and lingering presence. He proceeded to tell Lorelai and Rory how wrong and inappropriate he thought the woman was being for breastfeeding in public. In fact, he proceeded to go as far as shaming the woman (thankfully, not to her face) during his conversation with Lorelai and Rory. And I'm not going to lie, it was more than a little disappointing. "Why, why do they do this? This is a public place. People are eating here... this cannot be sanitary," Luke grumbled, while adding:
When did that become acceptable? In the old days, a woman would never consider doing that in public. They'd go find a barn or a cave or something. I mean, this is indecent. This is a diner, not a peep show.
You can see the uncomfortable scene for yourself in the clip below...
In the past few years, moms have taken huge steps in standing up for their right to breastfeed in public, as it is one of the most natural things a mother can do with her baby, so going back and rewatching this episode with that knowledge in mind, really brought to light how common it was (and, unfortunately, sometimes still is) for a woman to get shamed about breastfeeding in public. Don't get me wrong, Luke is a great guy a majority of the time, but when it comes to this, he is completely uninformed and has no right to act like an expert about what women should or shouldn't be doing with their bodies in regards to taking care of their child.
I love you Luke, and you have always had a place in my heart. I've always rooted for you, but you are completely in the wrong with this. But I'm sure that may very well have been the show's intention — to highlight such a hot button issue and use Luke as a vessel for how ridiculous men sound when they ridicule a natural act of motherhood.
I'd like to think that, if they were to recreate a scene like that today, Luke would be more accepting of the act in today's society. After all, he's been dating Lorelai for the past nine years, so he had to have learned something, right?