“ Mulan ” is an life film that was released by Walt Disney Pictures on 5th June 1998 in USA, while in Indonesia it was released on 23 October 1998[ 1 ]. Since so the film was good received and became popular all over the universe. Similar to old Disney ‘s life production, Mulan, which based on a China Legend, Ballad of Mulan, has an interesting narrative with morale message and it is enriched with music and vocals. Mulan besides has won several awards such Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Score and many other.

With its simple, entertaining narrative and strong morale lesson, “ Mulan ” is truly appropriate for kids. I was 9 old ages old when I watched this film for the first clip and I have watched it several times since that clip. As a small miss, the simple morale lesson I can take from “ Mulan ” is that a adult female besides have the power and can be appreciated merely like work forces. Therefore, I thought this film can be considered as feminist film. However, after I truly acquire to some inside informations in this film such as the duologue, the secret plan and the vocals, I realized that really there is a contradiction between the morale lesson that is promoted by this film and the inside informations in the film, which are supposed to back up the morale lesson.

At foremost, “ Mulan ” seems to authorising adult female by the public presentation of the female chief character, which is Mulan herself. However, the inside informations in this film demo the strong patriarchal system in that society alternatively of advancing the feminist side. Therefore, the inside informations in this film will be analyzed by utilizing textual analysis in order to happen the contradiction between the large morale lesson and the inside informations. The intent of this paper is besides want to see how the maleness building really has a powerful authorization over the adult female in a society.

The Feminist Side of “ Mulan ”

Mulan is one of the Disney princess characters ; nevertheless she has different characters compare to the other princesses[ 2 ]. She did things that were unusual for a adult female, particularly a princess. She was non woolgathering of happening the right prince that she would get married in the terminal. On the other custodies, she showed that, really, adult female can make something for the society, alternatively of merely waiting for her prince. She shows some feminist qualities that were barely found at her society.

First, Mulan is an independent adult female. She did everything by herself and did non trust on others, particularly work forces. This quality can be clearly seen when she was in the preparation cantonment. This movie exposed Mulan as “ an single pursuing and turn outing her ego ”[ 3 ].She tried to turn out herself that she could last through the preparation cantonment by her ain attempt. She succeeded to demo that until the terminal, she even surpasses the other work forces in the cantonment. She could travel on through every obstruction by her ain. Womans tend to depend themselves to others, particularly work forces, either they realized that or non. When a adult female is non married, she relies on her household or, in other word, her male parent. Then, after she married, she will depend to her hubby. It seems like a patriarchal circle of life. As a consequence, adult female will ever depend on person else. However, Mulan wanted to demo something different. She looked for her ain individuality by her ain manner and it shows that adult female besides can populate independently.

The following feminist quality of Mulan is her courage. She was non afraid of making something that was against the ideal norm at that patriarchal society. She stole her male parent armour and dressed as a adult male to replace her male parent in the war.

Mulan, herself, really had tried to believe as a women’s rightist. She wanted to interrupt the common societal building in her society. It was obvious in the vocal, entitled “ A Girl Worth Contending For ” . When the work forces asked how was the ideal adult female for Mulan as Pinging at that clip, she answered, “ How about a miss who ‘s got a encephalon. Who ever speaks her head? ” ( A Girl Worth Contending For – Mulan ; 1998 ) After that the work forces show a disapproving look for Mulan ‘s reply. Actually, what Mulan said shows her true feeling about how a adult female should be. She was against the thought of ideal adult females in that society. Woman was merely working in place and most of them did non truly acquire good instruction. Furthermore, ‘speaks her head ‘ was besides a forbidden thing to make in that old Chinese society. A adult female had to be quiet and merely followed what the work forces were stating. However, Mulan had thought something different as a adult female which showed her feminist side.

This film is opened by a scene where the Huns succeeded to go through the northern boundary line which is the Great Wall and surprised everybody included the emperor himself. Then, he told his helper, Chi Fu, to garner as many work forces as he can. At first, his General insisted that his ground forces can manage this job, but the emperor did non desire to take any hazards and said “ A individual grain of rice can tip the graduated table. One adult male may be the difference between triumph and licking. ” ( The Emperor – Mulan ; 1998 ) . Therefore, in the beginning, the state was merely numbering on work forces to contend and support China. They would hold ne’er expected that a adult female would salvage the state in the terminal.

Then, the narrative displacement to Mulan, the chief character, was fixing herself to run into the matcher. She had to confront a matcher in order to acquire a all right hubby and do her household proud. However, in the terminal, she was non succeeded and the matcher said, “ You may look like a bride, but you will ne’er convey your household award! ” ( The Matchmaker – Mulan ; 1998 ) . In this portion, Mulan seemed like a failure both as a girl and besides as a adult female. As a adult female, she could non carry through ideal norm of the society, which was to happen a good adult male, marry him and acquire some kids. Because of that, she besides could non carry through her occupation as a girl, which was to convey award to her household. Actually, this sort of perceptual experience is a typical of patriarchy building.

Something surprising happened when the helper of the emperor asked one adult male from each household to come and function the state as an ground forces. Because Mulan ‘s male parent was the lone adult male in the Fa household, it meant that merely he could make that occupation. However, Mulan realized that her male parent was non fit plenty to make that occupation, so she decided to replace him. Then, she cut her long hair, which was a feminity mark of a miss, and stole his male parent armour and blade. She dressed as a adult male and ran off from her house to the preparation cantonment. In that preparation cantonment, she became a adult male, named Ping.

After that, Mulan tried to last in the preparation cantonment. At first, it was really difficult for her to accommodate with the masculine environment. Alternatively of doing friends with the work forces, she made some jobs that troubled her until she was about sent away by her captain, Li Shang. However, because of her strong will and bravery, she managed to remain at the cantonment until the terminal and even excel his male couples at the cantonment. She could make the things that were supposed to make by work forces such as battle, ascent and run with heavy load and besides shoot the pointer and cannon. It shows that adult female besides can make adult male things if she has the will and weather plenty.

After the preparation cantonment, the soldiers that had been trained had to confront the existent war field. They were shocked when they arrived in the General Camp because everything were on fire and they could non happen anybody who were still alive. So, they continued their journey. In the journey, Mushu, Mulan ‘s firedrake, shoot a cannon by chance and made the enemy knew their place. After that, in the snowy mountains, they fought the Huns that had more people compared to them, while they merely had one cannon left. Suddenly, Mulan got a good thought and she did a really courageous and effectual action. Because of that action, Mulan was hurt by Shan Yu, the Huns ‘ leader. However, she had the bravery to take a hazard and managed to bury all the Huns at one time ; even she could salvage her captain who was about died. This scene shows a really courageous action that was done by Pinging, who was really a adult female. After that, her captain praised her and said “ From now on, you have my trust. ” ( Shang Yu – Mulan ; 1998 ) . Then, all of her friends besides praised and cheers for her.

Then, the narrative goes to the cardinal of the metropolis. In fact, Shan Yu and several of his people were non died and they got to the metropolis to make their program. Mulan who happened to be a adult female once more knew it and seek to convert her captain and besides the other about it. However, there was no 1 believing her. In the terminal, Mulan, with her adult female visual aspect, succeeded to salvage the emperor and besides the state, China. She proved that she could make such heroic things, which were indistinguishable to manfully things at that clip, and, really, succeeded to salvage the people. Woman who was used to see as a weak animal, had shown a great and strong physical power.

After all she had done, the Emperor even bowed to her and after that all the people besides did the same thing. This scene was a really dramatic adult female. Everybody bowed toward Mulan, who was merely an ordinary adult female in the beginning even had been considered fail as a adult female, and she seemed non truly believed what had happened. She was given several cherished things such as the Shan Yu ‘s blade and the crest of the emperor for all the good things she had done. The emperor even offered her a place in the council member, which was dominated by work forces at that clip. However, she refused it because she wanted to see her male parent foremost.

Following, she got back to place and met her male parent. She showed the awards to his male parent. Alternatively of appreciating the awards, he threw those things, hugged Mulan and said “ The greatest gift and award is holding you for a girl. ” ( Mulan ‘s Father – Mulan ; 1998 ) . This line truly shows how Mulan, at last, appreciated as a adult female. Her male parent admitted that Mulan had done the right thing. As a adult female, she had proved that she can convey her household award without making an ideal adult female things such as found a right adult male and so married him.

The Patriarchal Side of “ Mulan ”

Besides seeking to authorising adult female, this film really besides has a batch of ideal adult female pigeonholing at that clip. Before Mulan met the matcher, she was memorising some words such as “ Quiet and demure. Graceful. Polite. Delicate. Refined. Poised. Punctual. ” ( Mulan – Mulan ; 1998 ) Actually, those words implicitly show the typical of ideal adult female in Chinese dynasty clip. Although ‘quiet and demure ‘ gives positive intension, those words had bad effects for adult females at that clip. Woman had to maintain her head and she did non hold the right to show her sentiment, particularly in forepart of work forces. It can be a cogent evidence of how a strong patriarchate system made a adult female can non hold of import function in the society.

Furthermore, in the vocal “ Honor to Us All ” and “ A Girl Worth Contending For ” , there are besides some features mentioned in the vocals. Again, it shows typical adult female that the work forces were looking for. In the vocal “ Honor to Us All ” , which was American ginseng when Mulan was acquiring ready to run into the Mach shaper, “ work forces want misss with good gustatory sensation, composure, obedient, who works fast-paced, with good genteelness, and a bantam waist. ” Those characters were another consequence of the patriarchate system. So, when a adult female did non suit that making, she could be considered as a fail adult female. That chief point was brought up once more in the vocal “ A Girl Worth Contending For ” , which was Sung when the soldiers finished their preparation and got ready to confront the existent war. In this vocal, these ideal features were even acquiring clearer because this clip the work forces who were adverting it. One adult male said “ I want her paler than the Moon with eyes that shine like stars. My miss will wonder at my strength, adore my conflict cicatrixs. ” This emphasizes more to the physical visual aspect of a adult female, that she should look beautiful. Besides that, this vocal besides emphasizes the pigeonholing beside adult male and adult female. While Po, the biggest and unagitated soldier, said that “ I could n’t care less what she ‘ll have on or what she look like it all depends on what she cooks like beef, porc, poulet. ” It resembles that adult female ‘s undertaking related to house servants occupations such as taking attention families, kitchen things and others.

These ideal adult female features, which were being repeated from the beginning until the terminal of the film, seem wanted to stress the existent message for adult female. The films do demo some feminist qualities, but it still keeps the patriarchal thought. Almost all of the ideal features describe a adult female ‘s physical qualities Therefore, it wants to state that you can be a women’s rightist, but still you can non abandon the patriarchal norms that have already alive.

Mulan, as the lone girl of Fa household, had a great responsible which were “ to non deracinate my household tree. Keep my male parent standing tall. ” ( Honor To Us All – Mulan ; 1998 ) This responsible was another consequence of patriarchal system. In a patriarchal system, male parent or adult male is the centre of the household. In this vocal, alternatively of merely stating “ doing my household proud ” as general, she emphasized more to her male parent. Her concern was merely about his male parent because when she made her household ashamed, it would be considered as her male parent duty.

Therefore, her purpose to replace her male parent can besides be related to the consequence of patriarchal system. Mulan decided to dress as a adult male and came to the preparation cantonment because she felt responsible to her male parent, which was besides the consequence of patriarchal system. After all the failure she did as a adult female, she wanted to cover it by making these things. She considered that did those things were the right things for her. Just like she said when everybody knew her existent individuality, “ Possibly I did n’t travel for my male parent. Possibly what I truly wanted was to turn out I could make things right. “ ( Mulan – Mulan ; 1998 ) .

The lesion that she got from her courageous action in the snowy mountains had revealed her existent individuality as a adult female. After all the congratulations she got, everything seemed to be the other manner around. The Emperor adviser, Chi Fu, who had leery to her, dragged her out harshly from the tend and said “ a adult female ” with a shocking and gross outing tone. He showed Mulan to the soldiers and besides stating rough things such as, “ Treacherous serpent! “ , “ High lese majesty! “ , “ Ultimate dishonour! ” . All of Mulan ‘s good things were forgotten merely because she was a adult female. It truly shows that adult female had lower position compared to work forces. Although it was a really epic action and helpful to other, it will non endure if the 1 that did it was a adult female.

If we see once more from all the things that had happened to Mulan, she was appreciated after she was dressed as adult male. Peoples gave some regard to her after she was “ trained ” to be a adult male at the preparation cantonment. That adult male characters still stick to Mulan until the terminal of the narrative. When she was a adult female, at first, she was thankless because she could non convey award to her household as a good girl. Even, after she appreciated as a adult male and back as a adult female, she got back to the world that adult females are non appreciated and still underestimated by the society. As a decision, in “ Mulan ” , adult females, really, are appreciated by the society when they became and act like work forces.


“ Mulan ” shows that the map of feminism is merely to the strong maleness building in the society. If we merely take a glimpse, so it seems that adult male and adult female already have an equal place and function. However, it turns out that the winning of feminism happened because of the maleness building. In other words, maleness has an of import function behind the success that Mulan got in the terminal. Therefore, feminism is non truly an easy thing to acquire and a strong patriarchate building will non be easy broken.

In one side, this film is authorising adult females. It shows that adult female besides can hold an of import function in the society. On the other side, this film still limited adult females harmonizing to the patriarchal norms that were existed. However, this film is a seed of the feminism today. “ Mulan ” does non truly demo a perfect sort of feminism, but it makes adult females to believe that they can seek to make something for the society.