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Gender Roles in Disney's Mulan
Transcript of Gender Roles in Disney's Mulan
"Bring Honor to Us All"
"I'll Make a Man Out of You"
"You must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon."
"A Girl Worth Fighting For"
"I want her paler than the moon with eyes that shine like stars.
My girl will marvel at my strength, adore my battle scars.
I couldn't care less what she'll wear or what she looks like It all depends on what she cooks like."
"We all must serve our emperor, who guards us from the Huns. A man by bearing arms, a girl by bearing sons."
This clearly defines the gender roles of the society in this period: the men are warriors who defend their country, and the women are solely mothers and wives who raise capable sons.
The song especially focuses on the expectations of women: "Men want girls with good taste, calm, obedient, who work fast-paced, with good breeding and a tiny waist"
The honor being referred to is being chosen as a wife
"How could any fellow say "no sale" You'll bring honor to us all"
Potential Brides lining up to be chosen
The song once again reiterates the role of a man: he must be a strong, fierce warrior with battle skill and agility.
Great irony is shown by the end of the song because Mulan, a woman, ends up exceeding all of the men, including Li Shang who is supposedly the "manliest".
Mulan being a "man"
This song describes male expectations of the ideal woman: beautiful, in awe of her man's strength, and an excellent cook. These are stereotypical expectations of women throughout history.
When Mulan suggests that a woman should "have a brain...always speak her mind", the men immediately dismiss the idea.
Ling's ideal woman
very largely makes fun of the
assigned gender roles of society, making them seem ridiculous and backwards, which is a refreshing point of view for Disney. Unlike previous Disney princesses, finding love is not Mulan's main focus; she saves all of China from the attacking Huns and finds herself throughout the story. Even though falling in love is a prominent aspect of the movie, it is not the main one, and I applaud that.
The Character Mulan
Mulan's progressive nature is limited.
Mulan costumes are almost always a variation of this dress. Not only is it stereotypically feminine, but it is the dress she wore to be chosen as a bride.
The women are compared to many traditionally feminine objects such as:
The diction is extremely dainty:
primped & polished
soft & pale
serenity, balance, & beauty
Once Upon a Time
On ABC's Once Upon a Time, Mulan is a lesbian: the only person who's sexuality is even questioned on the show.
This reinforces a stereotype that any woman depicted in traditionally masculine roles or clothing must be gay.
The men are compared to very forceful objects, such as:
When Shang insults the men, he calls them (among other things):