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"But when two running side by side" "How can you tell the female from male"
It's nearly impossible for me to express
Just how important the character of is to me
And to every single Chinese person
The of is taught in elementary school
It's one of my favorite poem from China
And at one point in time
I could the entire poem by heart
There are opera plays
There are TV shows
Countless books for children and adults
I can't think of any other traditional characters
Who is this within a culture
It was the 90s
started importing films
Not long after I watched the Lion King
I heard stories of making a film
Chinese was pretty much back then
I was excited to see as a
Spring of 1999
Our elementary school trip brought us to the local cinema
I figured it's probably just a 1960s adaptation or something
To my surprise
A logo appears on the big screen
Every kid in the theatre gasped
And it was every bit as beautiful as I have hoped
It's not a perfect film
It has some racial
Although I guess aren't around anymore?
And I heard people say it's a watered-down version of the story
Then again, Chinese people love to say that to everything
None of the matters
Because for the first time, I feel represented in a cartoon
My culture, my favorite story, on the big screen
And I'm just
I can't imagine how powerful it must have felt to a young girl
Mulan is unlike any other female lead at the time
She's not born nor
And does not marry into one either
She's a warrior
With a kill count of thousands
For a traditionally highly country
Mulan is an important icon
Who not only gives girls in China an important representation
But a sense of
When Mulan defeats atop the palace
The entire theatre of children cheered
Clearly, the film did something special
Fast forward 20 years later
A new, live-action Mulan came out
And it came at the perfect time
is, once again, a hot topic in China
News of domestic violence
And gender discrimination came into focus more and more
Preference for sons over daughters is still a big issue
Those were by Mulan during their youth
Are currently fighting for their equality
It is the perfect time for a new generation of Mulan
To inspire people
And you Fxxked it up!
To understand how the live-action Mulan fails
We need to see where the 1998 Mulan succeeds
The story of Mulan is set in a era in ancient China
A time when the greatest honor a woman can bring
Is to get married and bear children
Which Mulan is terrible at
During this time, begin to attack China
To counter the offensive, China one son from each family
Having no sons in the house
Mulan's father is the only one who can go
Too wrapped up in the social order
Mulan's father refuses to consider otherwise
"It is time you learn yours"
And with his age, he will surely die
To save him, Mulan decides to dress up as a man
And join the army
Mulan's journey women in two ways
First, by showing her capability in holding her own against men
Mulan starts off as a total amateur
But so does everyone else
We see this group of soldiers train
And in any and all relevant aspect
Mulan can keep up with men
As the other soldiers grow
So does she
Here, the film made a statement that
Women, in any practical situation
Can be just as capable as any other man
Mulan learns to be
"And this... represents Strength"
She is capable of strength and power
Traits that, traditionally, are valued by men
But what's more interesting, is the second way the film women
Now, this sounds strange because at first glance
Mulan isn't very feminine
she is and a failed bride
"You may look like a bride"
"But you will never bring your family honor"
But she's also not good at
Being extremely awkward at pretending to be a man
That's because those are the extreme versions of gender expression
In a sense, Mulan's journey is to embrace her own gender expression
She succeeds in doing traditionally tasks
By refusing to engage in
Rejecting the values of strength
Instead, she's able to overcome her challenge by using clever solutions
On multiple occasions
And her friends learn from her, too
They start off as angry hyper-masculine men
But by the end, are willing to be in drag
To save the emperor
We see both sides learn to embrace each other
Girls can be
And that men being , is not necessarily a bad thing
There is strength on both sides
And there is strength in not limiting one with either extreme
Finally, it's important to realize the is her trying to save the emperor
And not China
It has probably an moral
That Mulan's power, and by extension, a woman's power
Is best used the
The at Disney probably took notice, too
And to avoid that
The film suggests that
Mulan doesn't save the emperor out of loyalty
She merely sees the emperor as a fellow human in need of help
After the dust settles
The emperor offers Mulan a position in his counsel
"You can have his job"
Rejecting the value in upholding the
She returns home, to the only she recognizes
She presents him the sword and a medal
Bringing symbolic honors to her family
What does the father do
He tosses everything aside and embraces his daughter
"The greatest gift and "
"Is having you for a daughter"
Breaking the final relationship
Their love is a human one
Mulan 2020 has a no name that does nothing
And the CGI looks like
Maybe it wouldn't be a problem
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Anyway, Mulan 2020 follows largely the same basic plot
Mulan fails to be a bride
China summons its troops
Father too old to fight
Mulan leaves in her father's place
But with a few critical differences
Difference number one
Mulan is now a naturally gifted fighter
That is such an awful decision
Instead of seeing Mulan growing alongside her friends
Letting us know that women are as capable as men
Now, only the select few who are blessed by the gods
Have the privilege of catching up with men
Those who aren't so gifted?
Like Mulan's unnecessary sister character?
Well, she gets married at the end of the film
Imagine you are a young girl
With confidence issues
You watched Mulan 2020
Then you go back to school
And see other girls who are prettier than you
Who are better at sports than you
Instead of saying you are just as capable with enough
No, they are Mulan
And you are just the sister now
Sorry, not everyone is special
Difference number two
In , Mulan is a
Mulan finds her way to the top using her wit
And, I have to emphasize this
She's the ONLY ONE to make it
Mulan is able to solve this problem
Because she can think outside the box
Where strength and are valued
In context, the ideal of strength
Is and will always be only by the few
Not everyone will make it
Mulan's success is a statement
That there is value outside of the way of thinking
The live-action version of this scene
Has Mulan climbing the mountain with two buckets of water
How does she solve this problem?
Mulan simply does the thing better than men
Through sheer strength and will power
this home further
Mulan kills the by using his weapon
A weapon traditionally associated with men
On the surface, it appears progressive
That man and woman are not so different
But when carefully examined
It is the traditional value of strength
And that a woman is good
Only if she can man up
Mulan's experience and perspective as a woman is not valued
If anything, her gender is a
So instead of her teaching her friends to break free from
She... just doesn't
The only lesson she learns in the film
Is to not hide her true identity
And her naturally gifted power
"Then, you'll die pretending to be something you are not"
Bitch! she has to hide her gender to save her family
The two themes don't go well together!
But what angers me the most
Is the third critical difference
The reason Mulan wants to save the Emperor
"And it is my duty"
"To fight for the kingdom"
"And protect the emperor"
"It is time you learn yours"
Look at her standing next to the emperor
Her fight is literally the conservative hierarchy
Because in her story
She's treated fine as a woman
Or at least so she thinks
"You'd believe "
"Why do you not believe Mulan"
This conservative value of "loyalty" and "honor"
Is something that the people of China have abandoned and
Ever since the collapse of the
We have a word for that!
"What is this fourth virtue I see?"
"Read it aloud, Mulan"
" to family"
It's called yū fǔ!
Mulan doesn't challenge the status
"You can still take path"
She IS the status
the notion that
Just because one gifted woman is respected
Then all women are respected
Like the film
Mulan returns home to meet her father
And that emotional moment
Where the father abandons his symbol of honor, is gone
Instead, their is short and
That's because their is not the final ending
Next, the emperor sends a gift to Mulan
A sword, her bringing honor to her family
This reward is played up much bigger
Than her lesson about being who she is
Or loving who she loves
And once again, she's invited to work for the emperor
"To join our greatest decorated warriors"
"As an officer and the emperor's guard"
Does she accept the job?
The film ends before she gives an answer
But with her smile
The answer is probably yes
What a load of *t
Now, the among you are probably already reading deep into this
And think there are all kinds of Chinese propaganda in this film
Which, I don't really want to get into
Because I don't think that's the case
That would be giving this movie too much credit
Mulan 2020 isn't , it's just stupid
And it doesn't give a flying fxxk
It only wants to appear diverse and
It has four writers
Not one of them is Asian
Let alone Chinese
Its dialogue sounds like a white person's
"I told you you cannot eat, it'll ruin your make up!"
"The fiercest winter storm cannot destroy this make up"
It only wants to appear emotional
Mulan fails to be a bride?
No singing reflection
No contemplating her failure
No father-daughter bonding moment
The moment she steps out of the classroom
The minister is already there summoning the men to war
When Mulan leaves
This is how Mulan's father reacts in
This is how Mulan's father reacts in live-action
It only wants to appear
Through the ways
Mulan is just naturally better than anyone
Only some girls are special
The not-so-special girls should be happy
Being fitted into traditional gender roles
Get married and bear a child
And finally, it only wants to appear Chinese
It makes no attempt at understand or Chinese culture
It mixes up the Chinese myth with the Egyptian myth
"Some say the consumed by flame"
It sings praises to a western understanding of Chinese conservative value
Failing to realize many of these values
Have since been abandoned by Chinese people
It just wants to LOOK Chinese enough to fool the audience
And the sad thing is
It's probably going to work
As I said, China needs Mulan right now
Instead, all we got is a big-budget virtue
Nothing signals that more than this moment
"Black wind and I rode along side two rabbits running side by side"
"I think one was a male, one was a female"
Mulan's dialogue here is a reference to the of Mulan
It takes one of the most and powerful lines from the poem
And turns it into a fan service moment
Mulan went to war for an astonishing ten years
And was promoted by twelve ranks
No one ever found out she was a woman
She was that much of a
In the poem, she also rejects a governing position
And chooses to return home
It was only when her fellow soldiers come to visit
And see her, in a dress, wearing make-up
Do they realize the truth
, they ask her why they never realized she's a girl
To which, Mulan replies
"The male hare's feet go hop and skip"
"The female hare's eyes are and "
"But when two running side by side"
"How can you tell the female from male"
Mulan's answer was
Men and women may look different
But when living amongst each other
When fighting beside each other
What difference do the differences make?