I mean, if feminism was equivalent to a fast food chain, a feminist would be a fast food worker. But a fast food worker would only be considered a real worker if she was taking orders and fixing the food, taking money, mopping floors. If you just sat on a stool and watched while everybody else worked, you would not be a worker. You would be fired.
I sit on the stool in the feminist fast food chain. I read blog posts sometimes, I pay attention to the Bechdel test in movies I watch, and I tend to pay attention to the gender roles in the books I read (thanks, AP Lit!). But I do not do anything.
That being said, I do pay attention to feminist perspectives, and despite the fact that I had many problems with the new Annie movie (the “romance” went overboard), I found I really appreciated many other aspects of Annie.
Ms. Hannigan’s character got deeper. I didn’t like the changes at first, but in the end I kind of like that she wasn’t portrayed as an evil woman who hated children, but a broken woman who fell off the path and never found her way back again.
In the end it’s Ms. Hannigan whose choice saves Annie—and it’s mainly through the help of the other foster girls that Mr. Stacks is able to track her down.
But my favorite part—my FAVORITE PART—is “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” when Annie is introduced to her new home.
First of all, it’s an all-girl’s song that is not about guys or something stupid. This is the first time Annie’s really been in a privileged place and so it is about exploration, opportunity, and hope for the future.
This is also the first time Annie has really had maternal figures in her life—Ms. Hannigan “cared” for her, but she was also drunk and regarded her charges as a paycheck. Grace, Mr. Stacks’ assistant, and Mrs. Kovacevic, her social worker, are both there to support her as she learns everything about her new home. These women dance with her, they support her, they’re enthusiastic about her prospects, and they care. (Admittedly, Mrs. Kovacevic was really more interested in Mr. Stacks but she was there for Annie, too.)
Both the adult women are professionals, too. One works for the government, another for Stacks himself, but their own successes starkly contrast the pit where Miss Hannigan lives. They are decidedly not sitting around being mad and drunk about not being a rock star.
They’re messing around, having fun. Dancing, enjoying life.
At 2:42 in the video above, Annie isn’t even in the shot—Mrs. Kovacevic and Grace are simply dancing together and having fun. By themselves.
(May I also just say that Mrs. Kovacevic is just hilarious. She does an awesome one-handed cartwheel and my favorite line in the whole movie may very well be, “This sink is bigger than my whole country!”)
The big thing that I notice is simply that there is female bonding. There are women, and they are having fun and enjoying each other and Annie’s new life. There’s no guy drama. They’re not having petty fights. There’s a genuine relationship between the three, because they are genuinely invested in Annie’s life.
Which maybe seems silly, but while I don’t generally break into song when I’m excited, I have enjoyed the support and kindness of adult women in my life before. They’ve cared for me, encouraged me, and inspired me.
And that is a lot. I’ve felt mildly annoyed all year in my Lit class, because it is hard to relate to the gender roles present in those books. Because, no matter how important the characters, about 90% of the time the ladies are prostitutes and while that can be interesting the first time it is fortunately not something I personally struggle with.
We could talk more about that, but we won’t.
I’ll have to watch Annie again before I decide how I feel about it, but I’ll say this—good or bad I did enjoy it, and I thought it better suited the world today than a few of the other versions out there.
*runs off dancing to “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here”*