by Sharhon Washington
Up until the 1900s, we had always seen the “typical” Disney princess movies such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc., until we were introduced to Mulan in 1998. Mulan wasn’t your typical Disney princess. Mulan was different. She didn’t care about looking for her Prince Charming or simply just looking pretty. In the beginning of the movie, Mulan is preparing (being forced) to find a husband, which is supposed to bring her family honor some type of way. IDK. Then, the movie takes a spin; Mulan’s father is being drafted into the military. She knows that she must do something because he father is older now and not as strong as he used to be. Mulan decides to take her father’s place (yes, she disguises herself as a man). For this very reason, this movie holds a very special place in my heart. This is because the movie demonstrates that women are very capable of doing the same things as men. Shit, women may even do some things better than a man can.
Mulan was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook and based on Hua Mulan, a Chinese, woman warrior who also took her father’s place in the army. The movie uses the Chinese culture and history to tell Hua Mulan’s story. Disney had originally wanted the movie to be about a young, Chinese woman being oppressed who then elopes to Europe to be with a British prince. But Tony Bancroft didn’t want his movie to be like the other typical Disney princess movies: he wanted his character to be different. And show his daughters that they don’t need to depend upon a male.
Growing up as a child in the 2000s, Mulan taught me that it was okay to be myself. What I mean by this is, I also wasn’t your typical girl. I didn’t care to wear make-up every day or dress up and wear heels (still to this day I don’t). I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and doing things that may seem like only boys should do (much like Mulan). She was ready to disguise herself as a man for her father. Any other typical, ditsy girl would have never done that. So, for myself Mulan had a significant impact on my life. This movie made me feel like the person that I was growing up to be and still am today is normal. That there is nothing wrong with being different.
For the most part I feel like the movies purpose was to teach young girls that it is okay to be different and that you should always be comfortable in your own skin. Yes, there are always going to be those people that will have something to say, but f them. For example, after Mulan meets the matchmaker, she realizes that who she’s being forced to be is not who she is. The moral of the story is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being who you are. That if you are a typical, Disney princess that that’s okay and that if you aren’t that’s okay as well.