The film Mulan was made to combat the stereotypical
gender roles in the Chinese culture, however, the movie contains proof of the
contrary. China, in Mulan, is shown as a male dominant society in which men and
women’s’ actions must comply with their cultural roles. In
this setting, a man brings honor to his family by fighting in the war and
becoming a high ranked soldier. A woman fulfills her honorable role to the
family by marrying a man with status and wealth. Towards the beginning of the
movie, when Mulan is grooming to go see a matchmaker all the women sing to her “Honour us all”. It suggests that, “a girl can bring her family great honor in one way,
by striking a good match. Men want girls… calm, obedient, who work fast-paced. With good
breeding and a tiny waist…(Mulan
1988.)”
However, Mulan seems to successfully move away from these traditional roles
when she saves all of China and as her accomplishment is offered a seat in the
council. Instead of accepting this role as a woman as opposed to her previous
role as a man, she refuses and decided to go home like an obedient daughter.

This portrays that as ‘a man’ in
the army she was able to work but once the roles are reversed, Mulan yearns to
go home which is considered a norm for women. Also, when she returns her
grandmother says, “Great,
she brought home a sword. If you ask me she should have brought home a man” (Mulan 1998). This goes to show that despite her
efforts her family’s
ideology on culture honor and women roles have not changed. They would still
like to see her a bride as in the movie Mulan, a women’s role is to honour her family by becoming a bride
and in this lie their true happiness. The film although tries to show Mulan as
a feminist princess it fails to do as it only reinforces the gender roles of
both male and female.

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