And the more I think about it, the more real it becomes. Mulan spends virtually the whole movie concealing her sex, but projecting her physical and mental prowess all while having to listen to locker-room talk that depicts women as subservient and passive (most prevalent in all the musical numbers) – and for the audience, this is a great source of humor and dramatic irony. What resolves this irony in the end is that Mulan leads the effort that defeats the Huns and saves the emperor and China; therefore, she overcomes gender stereotypes and proves the worth of women in a society that demeans their existence to nothing more than child-bearing and domestic servitude.
Or rather, this might resolve the irony if she accepted the importance and validity of her actions. But instead, Mulan declines the emperor’s offer for her to live in the palace and consult with him in making significant military decisions; she opts to return to her domestic lifestyle because she’s “been away from home long enough.” She’s had her fill of adventure and showing her capabilities, now it’s time to go home where she can return to normalcy and forget her vocational hiatus. When Mulan sees her father at home, he lovingly welcomes her back into the family; she gives him the only tokens she has of her deeds as if to say, “Here, daddy, take my sword and medal – I don’t need them anymore considering the fact that I’m done playing dress-up and am ready to take my rightful place in society. And, after all, you’re the patriarch; it’s only right that I hand over my symbols of dominance to you!”
“When Mulan sees her father at home, he lovingly welcomes her back into the family; she gives him the only tokens she has of her deeds as if to say, “
Here, daddy, take my sword and medal – I don’t need them anymore considering the fact that I’m done playing dress-up and am ready to take my rightful place in society. And, after all, you’re the patriarch; it’s only right that I hand over my symbols of dominance to you!””
Aaaand this is what you get when you view asian myths and characters from a western perspective. Filial piety and respect becomes submission and deference. Throwing us under the bus and saying we’re weak because they don’t understand our culture. Smh.
Don’t make our stories about something they’re not. Mulan was never meant to be your girl power, stickin’ it to the world, white feminist hero and I don’t appreciate such liberties being taken with her.
#hah remember when white feminists were all over mako mori because they didn’t get the concept of filial piety?#yeah
Ugh yeah I get pissed off by that. And the thing is, that this kind of display of filial piety is SO FAR REMOVED from ‘submissive femininity’, because it’s usually the son’s role.
white feminism is so annoying uggggggh
Um?? Mulan does accept the validity of her actions: she takes back the tokens — the sword and the medal — home to bring honor and glory to the family name. Which is something that someone mentioned above, typically the duty of a son.
Also, like, it would actually be out of character if she stayed with the emperor at the end because that’s not filial piety. And Mulan is nothing if not the ultimate story of filial piety, and filial piety does not mean deference and submissiveness. It’s love, respect, and honor to the parents. It’s appreciating them for bringing you into this world and raising you and respecting them.
Like, in the beginning, she wants to be a good bride because she doesn’t want to disappoint her parents and family. She goes to war because she wants to save her father’s life. She declines the emperor’s offer and goes home because she misses her parents and doesn’t want to worry and upset them more. You’re completely misreading the ending scene if you think it’s her being submissive: it’s not ‘daughter giving symbols of her deeds of valor and worth to patriarch’. It’s ‘daughter gives symbols of her filial piety to father’. Also it’s her father acknowledging her deeds and saying that he’s so proud of her and loves her. And he doesn’t really care that she saved China. He’s touched that she risked her life to save his.
In essence —- FUCK WHITE FEMINISM AND THEIR WESTERN LENSES ON ASIAN CULTURE. Stop shitting on Mulan and saying it isn’t feminist or revolutionary just because you don’t understand it.
Also, my fellow Asian feminists should watch the opera version of Mulan because it’s riddled with a bunch of awesome symbols and it’s super feminist and revolutionary and beautiful and I 10/10 recommend. You can find it on Youtube I think. I remember looking up Mulan Ge Zai Xi when I was 13 and watching it in its entirety and being in complete awe.
I need all white feminists who want to judge Mulan for not being feminist enough to stop giving a shit about the Disney version and actually look to the source.
Look for other takes on Mulan, BY CHINESE PEOPLE. Look at Lady General Hua Mulan. She goes home to her family and takes up being a woman again. Look at Hua Mulan from Jingle Ma. She goes home to her father and takes up being a woman again.
Guess what for some of us family is more important than bureaucratic / military power.
traditional chinese is an actual written language used by millions of people, not symbols to be thrown around at the whim of set designers because they look cool and idk, serves to create a menacing asian atmosphere. this is so disrespectful, and made even worse by the fact that this film in set it taipei, taiwan where the official written language is traditional chinese.
it doesn’t matter that this film caters to a primarily “white” audience who won’t be able to read it, the language and culture of taiwan isn’t something for you to twist and use as you deem fit because it’s “exotic.”
lucy shoots a guy for not being able to speak english.
she l i t e r a l l y shoots this taiwanese taxi driver, in taiwan for not being able to speak english. she’s in taipei and she’s shooting people as they are of no use to her because they don’t speak english.
just think about the sort of message that’s sending out. she’s not being “bad-ass strong female character who takes no shit,” she’s saying that english is useful and better. this is the type of harmful ideology that stretches all the way back from when western countries were colonising and forcing their language and customs on other countries.
let me explain with a real life example. i was born in new zealand to two taiwanese parents. i am fluent in english, but mandarin is conversational at best. my friends in taiwan say that i am “so lucky” to speak fluent english, when they are fluent in mandarin and their english level is no worse than my mandarin. they tell me that they want to perfect their english but in the same breath tell me that mandarin isn’t worth perfecting because i have english and that’s “enough”. they also tell me how pretty my white friends are when they see pictures.
this is the type of neo imperialism ideology that they’ve grown up buying into. it honestly hurts and frustrates me that they belittle their own culture like this, honestly believing that the western world is superior. this is the type of neo imperialism ideology that this film (hopefully unintentionally) promotes: white people are better and will save the day.
if they wanted to film a movie about a white women getting back at those who had violated her, why not film it in a western country? if they wanted to film it in taiwan, why not find an asian lead actress?
i do agree that we need more women protagonists in action/superhero movies, but not like this. its not okay that the female lead needs to be kidnapped and have her body cut open without her consent in order to gain her powers, and those said those powers do not make any of this racist bullshit okay.
i am just so tired and angry of poc always being brushed off to the side as either props or villains in mainstream media.
as a poc, it’s so frustrating to see that the of the standard of beauty still white women when we live in multi-cultural societies and a diverse world.
feminism is about equality. a film in which poc are presented as evil and inferior before being killed off by a superior white woman does not promote equality.
Save this one for a night when all you want is for your brain to let you rest. Too often I go to bed, my body exhausted, my mind unable to stop moving. Luckily, there’s this masterful version of “Once Upon a December” from the (highly underrated) animated movie Anastasia. It’s a perfect piece to guide you to a peaceful slumber, because this music? It’s the stuff of dreams.
and it actually got good again! because they took my advice and gave us more of tenzin’s family and less romance bs!! yay im so happy. now maybe we can have an episode focused around how great asami is because i still love her.