5 Reasons Why Mulan is Still My Favorite Disney Princess

Throughout the years, Disney has brought us numerous princess movies, from films that became classics to brand new ones we tend to see everywhere in stores. Although I still love watching some of the classics, like Snow White or Cinderella, Fa Mulan remains my favorite (or Hua Mulan from the legend.) The movie Mulan broke some serious gender boundaries when it came to the stereotypical Disney princess film. Mulan was given a very strong female role. She did not wait to be saved, or fight for the attention of some random male. She challenged both social and cultural norms all in the name of honor. Yes, other Disney films have since came out that have also challenged female stereotypes in greater ways, but Mulan appears to have been the first princess movie to do so. Mulan was Disney’s first feminist princess, so let’s give her the spotlight she deserves.

She proved women could do whatever men could do

Throughout the movie, Mulan constantly proved that although she is a woman, she could keep up with the numerous male soldiers that surrounded her. Mulan kicked butt when it came to fighting the Huns and she proved she could become just as strong, if not stronger, than most of the male soldiers in her group. While going through training with her fellow soldiers, Mulan found herself constantly falling behind. Li Shang, her captain, eventually could not put up with this anymore and basically told her to go home. As Mulan was about the leave for home, disappointed and seemingly beaten, she decided to try and prove herself one more time. After hours of trying to get herself up a massively tall pole, with weights added, in the middle of the night, she sat upon the top and waited until her captain woke to get down. None of the male soldiers had completed this task, until she decided to give it a try. Another scene in the film depicted an important message to its audience yet again. In the scene, Mulan and her group realized they were dangerously outnumbered by Shan Yu and his Hun army. Although the Imperial army was ready to go down fighting, Mulan figured out a way to save them all. Mulan managed to light a firework and aimed it towards a snow-covered mountain that would ~hopefully~ cause a massive avalanche to occur behind the Hun army. Mulan did not need musicality on her side for this scene, as her wit was the thing that managed to save them all.

She stood up for what was right

Mulan’s father was not in the best condition to be sent out to war again considering he had aged significantly since he had last spent time on the battle ground. He had to walk with a cane by this point in his life and could barely hold his old sword without dropping it. Even though his mind was more than ready to take on another army of men, his body was surely not. Hearing her father’s name was among the list of men to be called to war, Mulan ultimately decided she needed to do something that would go completely again her families wishes, but would probably end up saving her father’s life in the end. Not only did Mulan go completely against her families wishes, but she defied numerous cultural norms at the time as well. All in the name to save her father’s life and to keep her family’s honor alive.

 

She never gave up, even when times got tough

Mulan struggled plenty of times throughout the movie. What normal girl wouldn't? From what we know, Mulan never went to the closest gym to get a few reps in before stealing her father’s Chinese armor. She made a mess at the matchmaker, which was supposed to be one of the most important events for her and her family. She spoke out too much for a woman who was supposed to be quiet and act submissive. Lastly, Mulan basically got kicked out of the training for soldiers, by Captain Li Shang, who gave her, her backpack while saying “pack up, go home, you’re through” during the famous song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Even though Mulan went through these dishonorable events, she never let one keep her from reaching her goal. Mulan proved that she was just as capable as the others, even after her secret was exposed. When Li Shang found out that Mulan was actually a woman, he could not bring himself to kill her with his own hands; in so, he decided to leave her alone in the snowy mountains. Mulan thought this was the end of her journey, her secret had been exposed and she was lucky to be alive. As Mulan began her long journey home, she noticed that the Huns had survived the avalanche and were still moving forward with their plans to attack the emperor. Mulan could have acted as though she never saw and continued her journey home, giving up altogether, but instead she went on to save the emperor and China by being a bada$$ and eventually defeating Shan Yu and his Hun army at the Royal Palace. If this does not give you even the smallest sense of empowerment, then I don’t know what will.

She stuck to her beliefs

Among the many women we see in the beginning of the match maker scene, you could tell that this cultural event was very important, not just to the participating women, but to their families as well. This scene somewhat resembled a way that women could bring honor to their family. Not by protecting a family member, or participating in a war, but by pleasing a matchmaker and finding a future husband. Mulan rebelled against societal norms as she stole her father’s Chinese armor and posed as a male ready for training. She showed that no matter what others thought, she would protect her family and bring honor to them again, maybe not through a traditional matchmaker but through war efforts instead. She challenged the status quo even when the odds were against her.    

Not your typical princess

Unlike multiple other Disney movies who always made the princess the damsel in distress, Mulan challenged this Disney norm by switching gender roles. Mulan was a breath of fresh air in my opinion. Mulan was not your stereotypical Disney princess. For once, Disney provided a strong female role to a character who normally would have been submissive, quiet, needy, and in need of saving constantly. Now I am not criticizing Disney or its other princess movies, I still love Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid, but as a female, I see Mulan’s character development as empowering. Not only did Mulan save her family, she saved her entire country. Mulan wasn't looking for love throughout the movie, love found her. Mulan did not need to be saved constantly, but executed the saving aspect herself.

As a young girl, and even now, Mulan encourages me to stand up for what is right. Let’s face it, Mulan was a bada$$. Mulan is the type of girl many of us strive to be like. Maybe not necessarily to sneak into an army or anything of that sort, but to challenge gender norms. Today, women have more power than they have ever had historically, at least in the United States, but it is still not enough. We are still oppressed in numerous ways, maybe not as openly as we use to be, but it is still occurring, and that’s enough to make us stand up and fight for what is right. Equality and respect, two things everyone deserves, no matter the gender, race, or sexuality. Mulan was inspiring and continues to be to this day. Mulan not only stands up for equality and diversity, but empowerment, justice, and most of all, women’s rights.