Dean might have kept his mouth shut in front of Lorelai, but now he and Rory are alone they end up arguing about The Donna Reed Show. He basically can’t see anything wrong with a woman cooking dinner for her husband and family, and points out that’s exactly what his mother did for years, and now that she works, she still does it on the weekends.
Their different family backgrounds have helped shape their differing values, and Rory cannot really find a way to respect Dean’s experiences and views without feeling that she is betraying Lorelai, and the way she was raised. In fact, she sounds as if she’s beginning to have doubts about whether Lorelai is completely in the right.
Her argument that it’s okay for Dean’s mother to cook if she wants to because women have choices now doesn’t really make sense. If women (like Mrs. Forester) are free to do as they wish now, then why is Rory getting upset about how things were in a previous era? Why is it even an issue? And how exactly does it affect her?
Rory’s read books on feminism, but isn’t able to explain her feminist ideals to Dean. Perhaps she’s afraid that if she did so, the difference in their opinions and values would become too starkly obvious. Or maybe she wonders if Simone de Beauvoir can really help in this situation.
When Dean says that Rory only thinks the way she does because of her mother, it raises the question, yet again, as to whether Rory even has an identity of her own apart from Lorelai. Perhaps because of this comment, she doesn’t confide in Lorelai as to what’s bothering her, or what she plans to do.