A Brief Feminist Critique of Mulan

I've been getting a lot of shit lately for attacking Mulan, as if the movie is somehow "empowering" or "positive," which is probably the biggest farce I've heard in a while.

1. Mulan has to dress up like a man and pretend to be a man to be accepted as an equal among the men.
2. Mulan at no point in the film demonstrates her ability to succeed without a man. Even her little dragon mentor Mushuu is a man.
3. Mulan is never shown to be equal or superior to her male romantic interest. She is submissive to him at every turn, and returns to the typical accepted appearance and role at the conclusion of the film.

There. Fuck off, it's just as paternalistic and retrograde as The Little Mermaid, if not moreso for attempting to trick people into thinking it's somehow empowering to women.

1 comments:

Anonymous September 3, 2012 at 4:15 PM  

Well, here are my counter-arguments:
1. First, The Ballad of Hua Mulan is a story about a girl who- wait for it- dresses up as a man to save her father. Also, women weren't allowed in the army. How else was she supposed to join?
2. Where was the man helping her when she was climbing the pole in training, created the avalanche, saved Shang's life (he wasn't exactly helping her, was he?) or came up with the plan to rescue the emporer? On another note, Mushu is usually more of a hinderence than a help.
3. Of course she is submissive to Shang, for the same reason all of the men are- he is the captain, she is a soldier in his unit. Insubordination results in punishment. Punishment is not desired. So, soldiers do what Shang says. Also, she is shown as his equal- she beat him in hand-to-hand combat in training, outran him when they were carrying the bamboo branches with the weights, and saved his life- twice.

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