Mulan: Just Another Princess This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 11, 2011
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In the May, 2011, issue of Teen Ink, an opinion article called "Mulan: Just Another Princess" was featured. Michelle Koh wrote about how Disney's classic "princess" film was racist and a mar on feminism. "According to Disney, all Asians look the same," writes Michelle. Unfortunately, what Michelle missed is this one small fact: Mulan is a cartoon.

Cartoons are completely different than live-action film; details must be added to a cartoon that may be left out of a live-action movie. In a movie, an Asian actor need not appear with the characteristic slanted eyes, jet-black hair and olive skin (or "short limbs and a flat nose" as Michelle describes them) for the audience to grasp the fact that they are Asian; in a cartoon, however, drawing or animating characters with dark hair and light skin does not allow the audience to distinguish their race, which may be pertinent to the stories plot-line. Disney's animation in their wonderful, racially diverse film is not meant as racist or stereotypical; Mulan's slanted eyes and olive skin are meant to associate the fact that she is Chinese to young viewers who may not otherwise grasp that fact.

Another point Michelle made was that the movie portrayed Mulan's biggest accomplishment not to be leading an entire nation to victory against the Huns, but that of her engagement to Shang. She claims that the film--whose whole focus was said to be women's independence--gave the wrong message. "At the end of the film, the audience is reminded that Mulan is really just another woman looking for a man," she continues. "Mulan's real victory isn't saving her country from invasion. No, it's marrying Shang." Michelle's statement here is wrong. Mulan's engagement to Shang is only mentioned in the brief few moments at the end of the film. Her victory over the Huns is given the majority of screen-time. And the whole message behind the sequel to Mulan is that you should never be forced into marriage and that you should marry for love.

Besides that, what else can be said except Mulan is a princess movie. What is every little girl's dream? Marrying Prince Charming, or Shang? And, really, what is wrong with that?

Both Mulan and Mulan 2 teach young girls wonderful life lessons. While Michelle may no longer see Mulan as a hero, young girls everywhere should. Mulan teaches fighting for what you believe in, women's rights and choosing to love; hence the word choose.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

HopefulWolf This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I read her article in the mag, and while I was impressed with her writing, the message appalled me.

Success is more important than love? Really?

freeflow23 said...
Jul. 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm
Very well said.
TheJust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm
Thank you! :)
flyingpinkgiraffes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm



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