Instead of watching Mulan grow up with her friends, letting us know that women are as capable as men, the recent content of this film suggests that only a chosen few, blessed by the gods, have the privilege of living up to the men.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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The original Mulan doesn't look like any other Disney female protagonist at the time. She was not born to royalty or nobility and she does not marry a prince. She is a warrior. For a traditionally highly patriarchal country, Mulan is a vital icon that not only provides girls in China with vigorous representation, but also a sense of empowerment.
When Mulan defeats Shan Yu at the top of the palace, the entire children's theater applauded. The movie inspired something special for them. Fast forward 20 years later, a new live-action Disney Mulan came out, and even though it came at the perfect time to talk about feminism, it left a lot to be desired, according to fans.
Feminism is a hot topic in China and around the world. The news about domestic violence and gender discrimination were increasingly prominent. The preference for sons over daughters remains a current problem. Those who were empowered by Mulan during her youth now fight for their equality. It is the perfect time for a new generation of Mulan to inspire people, although the recent film did not live up to these expectations.
To understand how Mulan's live action doesn't portray feminism, we need to see where the earlier version from 1998 succeeds. Mulan's story takes place in ancient China, a time when the most incredible honor a woman can bring it is getting married and having children, something that for Mulan is inconceivable.
During this time, the Huns begin to attack China. To counter the offensive, China recruits one son from each family. Having no children in the house, Mulan's father is the only one who can go. Too involved in social order, Mulan's father refuses to consider otherwise. With his age and health conditions, it is very likely that he will die on the battlefield.
To save him, Mulan decides to disguise herself as a man and join the army. 1998 Mulan's journey empowers in two ways: first, by showing her ability to defend herself from men. Mulan starts out as a rookie hobbyist, but so does everyone else. In any relevant respect, Mulan can perform like any other soldier.
Here the film made a statement that women, in any practical situation, can be as capable as men. She is able to harness strength and power. Traits that are traditionally attributed to men.
The second way the 1998 film empowers women by valuing the sense of femininity. In a sense, Mulan's journey is embracing her gender expression. You can meet your challenge by using innovative solutions multiple times.
Mulan 2020 basically follows the same basic plot: she's not motivated by being a girlfriend, China summons her troops, her father is too old to fight, and lives in her father's place. But with some critical differences: Mulan is now a gifted fighter by nature.
In animation, Mulan is a problem solver. She finds her way to the top using her wits rather than brute strength. Mulan's success is a statement that there is value outside of hyper-masculine thinking, which disappears in the new adaptation.
The only lesson she learns in the movie is not to hide her true identity and her naturally gifted power. The problem with the 2020 adaptation is that Mulan is inherently better than anyone else. The original message of the Mulan story is this: Men and women may look different, but when they live with each other, when they fight side by side, what difference do the differences make?
Mulan's new film failed to portray the feminism of the original film. This adaptation teaches the audience the wrong message: Only those who are special can succeed.