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Thank You Mulan

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I was just browsing Pinterest today and found this pin in the humor section. I thought I would share since it really allowed me to look at the princesses I loved in childhood through a different lens. I always knew that the princesses waited for someone to save them but I didn’t look at it in such a sexist way. It sort of shaped my ideas of having a prince charming save me, maybe not directly from cruelty but more of a romanticized notion of a man coming to me, as many little girls grew up to think too. As the pictures depict above, princesses weren’t always saved by a prince. They were however depicted as being kind, understanding, all good qualities I know. Mulan however, stands out. She was the only princess to do something a man usually does; she deviated from Ancient China’s norms and served in the army. Cinderella showed deviance as well but she just defied a restriction that most girls want to experience: dancing with a prince at a ball. Mulan showed altruism in registering for the army for her dad’s sake and then even after being exposed as a woman, defeated the Hun army and saved China. So for this I say, thank you Mulan (or Mulan’s creators) for showing little girls that they can be much more than the stereotypical princess. My little sister is 5 years old and not many new princesses have been created since her birth. There are however new Barbie stories that I read to her every now and then and I am glad to say that many of these stories show examples of strong, independent women, who can still be princesses too.


8 Comments

  1. sahachem says:

    I totally agree with you! I always loved Mulan because she was different. She did not want to be saved, and she never had a male as her dream. Instead, the man she loved abundant her and she still managed to pick up her self and follow her dream, which was honoring her family.
    Disney princess movies not only depict female as a weak and fragile human being, that will need a man figure in her life to continue it happy, but also the princesses all have the perfect figure. Maybe Disney did not intend that, but little girls who watch that will grow up into having that figure as an idol, and they turn to Hollywood celebrities when they are older to also find them comparing themselves to these figures.

  2. henrysaadi says:

    I found this as i wanted to learn more about Disney films and how they depict women and I found this. http://feministdisney.tumblr.com/ It was funny because exactly what I wanted to find, I found it all on one source. That never happens. Anyways I did browse through some of the blogs and I found that many women and men feel the same way as you guys do and I learned a new term which is feminist lens. The feminist lens will help you realize things that you were never meant to know.

    • zhassan2013 says:

      Hmm, that’s a nice way of putting it. After this class I do kind of see things in a feminist lens that I have overlooked before. Thanks for sharing/

  3. mpietila says:

    I agree that Mulan had a completely different outlook than other Disney movies. She took more of an active role, rather than sitting around singing, “One Day My Prince Will Come.” (That gave no hope for young girls). However, Disney still isn’t as groundbreaking with Mulan. If you notice, she technically isn’t a princess, but her family is highly respected. Also, I would love the movie even more if she didn’t end up with a man in the end. It sort of defeated the purpose of her being an independent, adventurous role.

  4. neshaw2013 says:

    Your post reminded me of my favorite Disney movie, Hercules. Similarly to Mulan, the main female character was not a princess, she was not even stated to be a form of nobility. Prior to the events of the adult Hercules section of the movie, Megara sacrificed herself to save her boyfriend of the time; I found this to be interesting as sacrificing oneself is a trait often reserved for Disney heroes. However, Megara like many of the Disney princesses ends up needing rescuing by a hero, so she is not totally unique in this regard.

  5. fatimafak313 says:

    I agree with you. She was not the damsel in distress unlike the others. She didn’t need saving but she did the saving. One of my favorite Disney movies growing up. I also the liked the photo how it compares them all, so true.

  6. rae says:

    Although Tiana didn’t take on a manly role, she was very independent, I think she deserves credit too. Mulan started working because she couldn’t honor her family by being married off, so she had to look for another way to bring her family honor. And I don’t think Tiana never chose to be a frog, she was worried about getting back to normal almost the whole time, she only started to accept it when she thought it was too late to change. All of the decisions that she made were for the sake of her own dreams. So, I think that both Tiana and Mulan are the two characters that Disney made that are actually inspirational. Mulan did save China, but she was put in this direction only when she had to make choices under pressure to force into becoming a brave woman and making strong bonds with the warriors since she did originally want to be paired by the matchmaker. Also, i know it is new, but the girl Meredith from Brave was also very independent by refusing to marry to get money for her family.

  7. Reverie says:

    Because committing to an interracial relationship in the 1600s doesn’t stand out at all.

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