My childhood was brought up with Disney movies. It was one of the perks of being born in the 90’s; your parents would throw on The Little Mermaid or Lion King and you were glued to the TV for the next 90 minutes. However, that much exposure to Disney films became a learning tool for many kids who are now adults. And my favorite Disney movie definitely taught me a great deal about what it means to be a woman, it just took me 20 years of life to figure it out. But what movie is this? Little Mermaid? Beauty and the Beast? Pocahontas?
It was Mulan. I was not the princess type, even as a 5 year old. And Mulan taught me so much about what it means to be a woman, and here is what I learned.
Family Comes First
Mulan is very protective of her family, and obviously loves her father enough to go to war in his place so he won’t have to fight in his already weak condition. Having such unconditional love for family is incredible important for everyone, not just women.
You Have To Find Yourself
Knowing who you are inside and out is very difficult, and can take years of figuring things out. When some people have certain expectations of you, such as bringing honor to your family by being the perfect bride, it can cloud what you really want to be and who you really are. You have to figure yourself out, and hopefully your reflection will show who you are inside.
It’s Okay To Not Have It All Together
Being a woman is hard. For some reason, there is an expectation to be the most poised and put together creature when you’re a woman. Mulan clearly demonstrates that that is not the case. She’s clumsy, not very punctual and not meant to fit in, and that is perfect for her, which means it is perfect for me.
Be a Warrior
To get what you want or to do what’s right, you’re going to have to fight for it. Things don’t come easily in life, so to be a woman, you’re also going to have to be a warrior for what you deserve.
Your Family Will Always Love You
Yes, you’re family will have certain expectations of you and what you to do and be certain things. But, they will also unconditionally love you no matter what you choose to do. You can bring them the world’s greatest treasures, or a sword and an Emperor’s crest, and they know that you’re the most important thing there. That’s true love.
You Have A Voice, So Don’t Stop Using It
Time and time again, you will be ignored and told that your voice doesn’t matter. Same thing happened to Mulan, particularly because she was a woman. But she knew she had something important to say, and so do you. So don’t stop using your voice and saying what you think and feel.
Women Can Do Everything A Man Can
Although ancient China had very strict gender roles, they obviously could still be broken. Mulan proves that woman, as long as they have ambition and will power, can do everything a man can do. Also, men can do everything a woman can (I’m talking to you Yao, Ling and Chien-Po)
Never Give Up
Life is hard, especially for women. And when the going get’s tough, what are you going to do? Mulan keeps going, whether it is climbing the pole for the arrow or riding into town to save all of China. Real women do not give up.
So in a world full of Ariel’s, Cinderella’s and Belle’s, I’m going to be a Mulan.