poster227x227Mulan is a Disney movie which was released in 1998 and tells the story of Fa Mulan – a woman who impersonates her father in order to take his place when a general conscription is brought in by the Han Dynasty to battle against the Hun invasion. This movie is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan who was a warrior from the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 – 589) who was trained in martial arts and took her father’s place in the army. She ended up fighting for 12 years.

Mulan was a different type of Disney movie – instead of the female being rescued by the male hero she was the hero doing the saving. Mulan was portrayed as a strong, confident woman who trained hard and became a powerful warrior. When her army abandons her once they find out she is a woman she doesn’t harbour anger or bitterness – when she sees the Huns have survived the avalanche her first thought is to warn the army and to help them defend themselves. With Disney movies being aimed at young girls Mulan was a great role model for them – she didn’t wait to be rescued, she rescued herself. She was a woman who was willing to do anything to save her father’s life. She was a woman that showed everyone that regardless of gender if you have enough drive and determination you can achieve your goals.

The movie also told a story that often times gets overlooked – women dressing up as men to fight in the army. This has been a common practice for many, many years starting in Ancient Greece and continuing to the 20th century. This topic, and the work being done to prevent future child soldiers, will be covered next week.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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