Is “Annie” Encouraging Rape Culture?

While watching the 2014 movie Annie, I noticed a common theme present in our culture. As Annie made her rounds in New York City, the man who ran the convenience store, Lou, kept asking Annie about her foster mother Ms. Hannigan. From Annie’s responses to him, and later Ms. Hannigan’s response to his advances, it was clear that Ms. Hannigan was not interested in him romantically. Even though this is a small detail, I find it frustrating. Often times I run into a story of a man who was congratulated, celebrated, and even rewarded for his persistence in pursuing a woman.

For instance in the Notebook, Ryan Gosling is turned down by Rachel McAdams, so he hangs by one hand on the ferris wheel until she says yes. Or sometimes I hear men recounting the story of how they met their wife, and they will say “I wouldn’t take no for an answer.” In both of these cases, the men are rewarded for their behavior. In the Notebook, the couple ends up falling madly in love and this movie is thought of as one of the greatest love stories of our time. And the men who ignored their future wife’s dismissal are eventually congratulated for sticking with it, and getting a wife. To me though, these stories present a deeper message. The message I get is that a woman doesn’t know what is best for her. A message that the man gets is that they get to decide if they are going to be a couple and the woman’s opinion doesn’t matter.

This relates to the recent incidences on our campus of sexual assault. As boys grow up, they are receiving messages like this one all the time. Messages encouraging male dominance and masculinity. And because of this, often times they feel that they have the right to sexually assault a girl, disregarding the fact that she does not want it to happen. In the keywords essay, Body, the author talks about how the body is defined, and how we learn about it through our lives. We are taught that our body protects us from disease and enables us to do all the things we do in a regular day, and yet girls are not always taught that their body is theirs and they can decide what happens to it. Boys are not always taught to respect a woman’s “No.”

In the end of Annie, Ms. Hannigan ends up showing affection towards Lou. This part of the movie frustrates me because I feel like it reinforced the idea that if a man is persistent enough, he can get the girl.

Leave a Reply