The Whistle Stop Café and Luke’s Diner
The Village Café as Utopian Space for Women in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Gilmore Girls
This paper compares the Whistle Stop Café in Fanny Flagg’s 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café to Luke’s Diner in the pilot episode of the TV show Gilmore Girls (2000). I argue that the two cafes are similar in that both offer up a utopian space where women can be themselves, enact their desires and speak their minds without fear of judgement or violence. Through a comparison of the two, I also show the ways in which gendered power dynamics have changed over time: while the Whistle Stop Café provides a refuge from male violence, Luke's Diner functions as a space in which women can exert their own agency through speech, thus keeping the threat of male violence at bay. My analysis shows that the culinary space of the café or diner contains traditionally feminine elements through its association with food and cooking as well as traditionally masculine elements through its presence in the public sphere.