I’m going to go right out and say it: Mulan is the best, and most unappreciated Disney “Princess” ever. I know she might not be an official Prin, but girl saved China, she can be a damn Queen if she wants to! She’s a kickass babe, relatably clumsy, hilarious and all round amazing – So why have I never met a little girl who says she’s their favourite?!
How can Anna and Elsa and Belle and Aurora be role models but Mulan, (who, let me say it again for those who didn’t hear it the first time, saved China,) isn’t? All her family were like ‘conform to this and be pretty and quiet and obedient to get a man” and Mulan was like “Na mate, I’m good. Brb, gonna go defend China with nothing but a lucky cricket and a lizard dragon”.
Mulan kicks the patriarchy in the face by proving she can do anything a man can do, in a society where she would never have been given a chance because of her gender. She is strong but not sexualised and most of all, she is realistic. I too wake up disorientated with messy hair. She is not full of poise and grace and y’know what? Neither am I! (That said, I have enough trouble saving money, let alone a country!)
The whole film mocks gender roles, beginning with ‘Please Bring Honour to us’ which parodies the idea that all woman need to do is be pretty and get married to bring ‘honour’ to their family. Mulan is told she’ll never bring honour to her family but oops, then she goes and saves China so y’know.
Then in a ‘Girl Worth Fighting For’, she sings the best line: ‘What about a girl who’s got a brain and always speaks her mind’, highlighting how shallow the whole thing is. I could get deep here and talk about ‘performing gender’, but I’m two glasses of wine deep and still have flashbacks of a particularly stressful module about that exact thing from Uni, so I’ll let you look at that yourself.
Far from the usual Damsel in Distress trope, Mulan gets to save her bae twice! She also doesn’t rub it in his face, which is something I would totally do. Shang doesn’t just fancy her cos she’s a pretty Princess, he loves her cos she’s smart and funny and dorky and badass – plus, once a girl saves your life twice, it’s hard not to love her!
So please excuse me if I get angry that Disneyland Paris doesn’t have any Mulan items in any of it’s million shops yet you can get anything available with Elsa’s frosty face on it. Did she save China? No. She got in a strop and froze the world. Good job Elsa.
Mulan > Everyone.