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Transcript of Disney's Mulan
Feminism in Mulan
Cutting of the hair
Mulan slices off her long hair in order to pose as a man in the army.
In Chinese society, to cut long hair is a symbol for banishment.
Mulan takes the risk of being banished from her home so that her father will not be a part of the army.
She goes to that extent, even with the knowledge that she may not be accepted when she comes back.
by Janet Luu
"Look at me; I will never pass for a perfect bride or a perfect daughter. Can it be, I'm not meant to play this part?"
Mulan goes to the matchmaker in the hopes of being arranged to marry a man that she does not know.
She only goes as an obligation to her family.
In the Chinese patriarchal society, it is expected to have the girl of the household married off to a stranger. This
quote displays the standards of how a wife should be. The fact that she female is the one married off and there are expectations for the female shows how subordinated and how they are seen in society.
Chi Fu, an officer of the town, scolds Mulan's father about Mulan for voicing her opinion.
He does not believe that women can amount to men.
" Silence! You would do well to teach your daughter to hold her tongue in a man's presence."
There are distinct lines drawn about the society's gender roles. As soon as Mulan steps out of line, Chi Fu makes the point that she is not following the expected code of manner.
"I'll Make a Man Out of You"
Distinctions are being made about what it means to be a man or to be a woman, which shows that women and men are not treated as equals in Chinese society at this time.
The song is sung as the troops are being trained to defend China as warriors.
China's princesses are on their way to the palace of their future husbands.
They have never met their husbands yet.
These are arranged marriages.
The princesses have their marriages arranged as a way for the emperor to establish more connections with other kingdoms. This displays the extent of which women are used-- merely as pretty figureheads, with no other functions.
"I Want To Be Like Other Girls"
The princesses express their hatred for what it means to be a princess. They sing about wanting to be like "other girls," whose lives seem more flexible.
The song suggests that there are certain definitions for what it means to be a girl. The princesses see it as wearers of "pinchy shoes". This further proves that there are set expectations for females.
Mushu represents Mulan's family. He is in touch with her ancestors, who appoint him with the job of being her guardian.
In many cultures, the cricket represents luck. The cricket tags along during Mulan's journey to keep situations in her favor.
The blossoms in Mulan's backyard represent her arrival to womanhood. Flowers are often associated with women and as Mulan matures and grows into a fitting "lady", her father places a blossom in her hair, showing that she is now accepted as a woman.
The paper fans are carried by the females in the film. They often hold the opened fans up to cover at least half of their face. The fans act as a mask of the identities of the girls as it is held up to cover what lays behind the unfolded paper.
Joseph Cambell's Monomyth
Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
The emperor requests a man from each household to join his troops, and Mulan sees the opportunity for her to pose as a man as a replacement for her father.
Mulan attempts to convince her father to stay at home, rather than joining the troops. It is not Mulan refusing the call, but trying to convince her father to refuse. He becomes angry as he states that it is his duty.
Mushu is Mulan's aid in her journey, as he was appointed by her ancestors to accompany her and look after her well-being through all the obstacles encountered.
Crossing First Threshold
Road of Trials
Atonement with the Father
Mulan is first exposed to the life as a man and has to try to fit in with all the other men in the army.
Mulan encounters a series of tests through the army's training grounds, where she prevails and proves to be an able soldier.
China's warriors finally run into the Huns, where Mulan creates an avalanche to crush many of them.
Mulan did not die a physical death, but her fake identity as a man died when she was discovered to actually be a girl.
The Ultimate Boon
Master of 2 Worlds
Crossing the Return Threshold
Mulan officially saves the emperor and China itself from the threat of the Huns under her true identity as a girl.
Mulan arrives home to face her father as she carries her sword and medal, unsure about her father's judgement.
As Mulan is accepted by her father, she is able to live with both identities: the hero of China but also as Fa Mulan, the girl from a quiet household.