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.