For the first time in a while I watched Mary Poppins all the way through. I write this post about Mrs. Banks (the mother).
It took me over ten years of watching this movie to realize what an ironic character she is. She tramples about singing about women’s rights…and then behaves like a domesticated animal at her husband’s command. I do believe my favourite line is
Mrs. Banks: I’ll try to do better next time.
Mr. Banks: Next time? My dear, you’ve engaged six nannies in the last four months. And they’ve all been unqualified disasters.
She takes that like nothing – her husband treating her that way and then goes on to sing
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us and they’ll sing in grateful chorus, “Well done, sister suffragettes.”
Now that I think about it Mrs. Banks ALSO proudly flits around with her sash and ribbons for the cause until she hears Mr. Banks coming. At which time she removes all support for the cause and hurries the maid away with her things, saying “You know how Mr. Banks feels about the cause”. Obviously we know, because he’s a RAGING CHAUVINIST.
In a way, watching this as an adult is amusing for me because of the irony in her actions versus her words. It’s incredibly fascinating. It’s also very interesting to juxtapose Mrs. Banks against Mary Poppins and ask who’s more of a feminist – the woman who gallivants around singing about it or the woman who doesn’t address it at all? I really have changed since going to a women’s college.
STEP IN TIME.