disney 2009

general li mulan

okay so i LOVE mulan okay. as far as i’m concerned it’s a Perfect Movie and doesn’t need any fixing. but i was thinking today and -

- what if mulan didn’t go to war to save her father?

say her father is dead, okay, killed by the previous war. so she’s raised by her mother and grandmother, women who’s complacency and softness has been worn away by necessity. she needs to marry well, for her family’s sake, because her mother has refused the hand of every man who offered. but mulan is even more rough around the edges than before, is educated not only in books (her mother said men wouldn’t find smarts attractive and grandmother pointed out that men aren’t always around and off to school mulan went) but in the sword too, taught to her by her classmate, ping.

mulan is considered in the lower end of the upper class, coming from a family of military men and scholars and successful merchants. ping is near the top, the son or nephew of an advisor to the emperor. his family is very rich and very important, and the reason they become friends is because mulan manages to notice something about him that he’s been hiding from everyone else - he’s going blind.

not totally blind, enough to get around, but blind enough that reading is difficult and swordplay is even worse, although once he has it down he has it. ping is no fool, he’s not weak or bumbling. his eyes just don’t work. so mulan notices and confronts him about it. she promises to keep it a secret, and hey, she’ll even help him with his assignments by reading the books out loud and helping him study. but in return he must teach her the sword, must teach her about military and tactics. he agrees.

ping and mulan become very good friends and there’s some raised eyebrows about it but they are TOO far away in class for it to be inappropriate, so they make tutting sounds and disapproving faces and let it go.

then the draft happens. ping can’t go to war, he won’t survive it. not with his eyesight like it is. so mulan offers him a deal - she’ll go to war for him, in his place. in return, if she survives, he must marry her. if she dies he must take care of her family.

ping can’t make this kind of family decision on his own, so he goes to his mother and tells her everything, about the eyesight and how he’ll die if he goes and mulan’s offer. his mother says he must keep it a secret from his father, but agrees - if mulan fights in her son’s place and survives, a wedding will be arranged. either way, mulan’s family will be taken care of. ping will be sent to live with some cousins in the meanwhile.

“you’re not in love with me, are you?” ping asks, helping mulan saddle her horse in the middle of the night. she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “not even a little. but marrying you will make my family happy, and besides, you’re my best friend,” she says, smiling, “better you than some grabby old man.” he smiles and hugs her and says, “i’m not in love with you either. but don’t die out there. we have a wedding to plan.”

so mulan goes to the camp, pretending to be ping, and she’s a little bit less lost but things still go as they go. she’s educated and trained, so it’s not hard for her to pass as ping. shang is keeping a special eye on her, thinking that she’s the son of an advisor, one of his father’s friends. and he sees how easily she excels, how quick thinking and smart she is, and starts giving her more and more responsibilities. by the time they’re called out, shang considers ping ie mulan to be his right hand man, and possibly his best friend.

he’s also a little bit in love with ping, and he’s long known he’s attracted to both genders, so he watches ping laugh and smile and the crease between his eyes when he frowns and does his best to let his feelings chase away the best soldier he has. every time shang looks at ping his heart clenches and he things to himself: i wish i could have you, i wish this was a time and a place where one man could have another, i wish you were a girl, is wish i was a girl - i wish we could be together. he’s literally a step away from doodling ‘li ping’ with little hearts over his battle plans. 

so the battles happen. shang and ping lead their men together, respected and loved. they each get promoted, and promoted, and promoted. it’s been years, and it comes to a point where they’re both generals in their own right. they trust each other, care for each other. and are both secretly in love with the other.

mulan is so conflicted. because she wants this war to end and to go home and settle back into life and become ping’s wife, so she can have an easy life spent studying and learning with her family taken care of. that’s what she’d wanted. but now what she wants is shang, her best friend, her brother in arms, her fellow general. she wishes to be everything to him, aches to be the woman on his arm and in his bed, but knows it’s the one thing she can never be.

then that final battle happens. mulan’s quick thinking saves them all and ends the war - but she’s injured.

shang finds out the ping has been a girl all along. he demands explanations - so she tells him everything, that she traded places with ping to save him, to become his wife.

and the lies should sting the sharpest, but they don’t. she’s still the same person, after all. it’s that she’s promised to another man, for one second he’d thought he might have her, but no. so he agrees not to reveal her but he’s furious and furious at himself for being furious and they’re not the same now, broken and splintered and neither of them know what to do.

the war is over. they leave. mulan returns home, and thanks to her ping is now known as a respected general. she’s done her part and survived, and now she gets her reward - ping’s hand in marriage.

but she sees ping for the first time and flings herself into his arms and starts crying. she tells him everything, because he’s still her friend, her very best friend besides shang, the man whom she lied to and betrayed and loves. and ping listens and takes her by the shoulders and says - i’ll uphold our bargain, if that’s what you want. you can be my pampered wife, you’ve more than earned it. but if you want to go to shang, i won’t blame you. you deserve your happiness.

and mulan goes back and forth, but ultimately she decides she has to try. if shang rejects her she’ll return and marry ping and uphold her family honor. but if shang wants her - he’s not as high up as ping, but he’s high up enough to satisfy her family, and also she would love him and want him if he was no more than a farming peasant so it doesn’t matter much anyway.

she rides to the capitol. she finally meets ping’s father, running into him while looking for shang. “ah mulan,” says this man who was never supposed to know of her until she became his daughter-in-law, “i didn’t expect to see you here. how fortuitous. walk with me.” she does, wary, and that’s how she discovers - he and the emperor had discovered her deception a year in, but at that point she’d already proven herself too skilled and valuable to lose. he tells her that he will uphold his son and wife’s deal and gladly welcome her to his household - but that she’s earned her rank as general, and that he and the emperor have no problem with letting her keep it.

she says thank you, shocked and joyful, but that she has to talk to someone first. “ah, yes, young general li,” he says, eyes twinkling, “i do believe he’s around here somewhere.”

she has no idea how he seems to know everything, but she finally tracks down shang who’s ecstatic to see her and hates himself for it. she confesses - says she loves him, that she’s engaged to ping but willing and able to break this engagement for shang. who is dumbfounded and elated and says yes, of course, finally and forever.

and mulan accepts her rank and marries shang, and they become the literal power battle couple of the general li mulan and general li shang. ping becomes a scholar and marries a very nice young woman who loves reading and is happy to read aloud to her husband with his failing eyes.

and they all live happily ever after.

Beautiful Speak Now Album Things:
  • TAYLOR WROTE IT COMPLETELY BY HERSELF AT AGES 18-20!!!! AND IT WON 2 GRAMMYS!!!
  • Like every fuckin’ bridge on this album makes you want to cry
  • And all the lyrics are fucking awesome. It’s a lyric-driven album
  • “Every time I look at you, it’s like the first time”
  • “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter”
  • Opening “Mine” with “uh-oh” and closing it with the background vocals echoing “I can see it now” to show the emotional journey of the character as she believes in love again over the course of the song
  • “BRACED MYSELF FOR THE GOODBYE / ‘CAUSE THAT’S ALL I’VE EVER KNOWN / AND YOU TOOK ME BY SURPRISE / YOU SAID, ‘I’LL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE’”
  • The entirety of “Mine,” the best love story ever told
  • The fact that Taylor resurrected Sparks Fly from the dead and put it on her 3rd album because we asked her to
  • The fact that Taylor also rewrote Sparks Fly and took out the lyrics that made it more sexual and about performing in a bar
  • The fact that the original lyric (now displayed in The Taylor Swift Experience) was “brown eyes” and she made it “green eyes”
  • How she describes the love interest as “a full-on rainstorm” and later says “meet me in the pouring rain”
  • The juxtapositions of rain and fire and then darkness and light in Sparks Fly
  • BACK TO DECEMBER
  • How the entire song is just an apology without any excuses. It just’s “I messed up and you suffered for it and you didn’t deserve that” 
  • “you gave me all your love and all I gave you was goodbye” 
  • How the orchestra makes everything so fucking beautiful??
  • The use of seasons in the second verse to describe the rise and fall of the relationship
  • How she references the 2009 VMA incident (”how you held me in your arms that September night / the first time you ever saw me cry”)
  • Speak Now being about the Paramore relationship drama and how Taylor was actually at the wedding it’s about lol
  • Taylor singing up an octave in Speak Now to sound like a gentle little girl about to crash the shit out of wedding
  • “a gown shaped like a pastry” “fond gestures are exchanged” “a song that sounds like a death march” “she floats down the isle like a pageant queen” = so descriptive?? conveys the feelings?? Queen of conveying emotions through descriptions
  • “you need to hear me out and they said Speak Now” “Your time is running out and they said Speak Now” “I hear the preacher say, ‘Speak Now or forever hold your peace” “So glad you were around when they said Speak Now” = queen of altering her main chorus line
  • “I’m not the kind of girl who should be rudely barging in on a white veil occasion” –> What’s the kind of girl tho?? I never knew
  • The giggle in the bridge
  • DEAR JOHN. THE ENTIRE SONG. ALL THE LYRICS.
  • How Dear John calls out emotional abuse by a much older man onto a 19 year old without any apologies or sympathizing with the man but also has pieces where the victim blames themselves and calls out a pattern of abuse of other women
  • But it ends with the victim retaining their self worth and escaping and it’s amazing
  • “the girl in the dress cried the whole way home” –> have you ever seen such a beautiful conveying of a young girl’s loss of emotional innocence 
  • YOU SHOULD’VE KNOWN”
  • How the secret message of Dear John is “loved you from the very first day” which is a line on a bonus track “Superman” which is about how the love interest seems like the best guy in the world and a real life Superman 
  • That fuckin’ banjo in Mean
  • How Mean began about a critic who said Taylor ruined her “entire career overnight” at the Grammys and then Taylor performing Mean at the Grammys and wining 2 Grammys for it
  • The use of a big city to display one’s level success (which is what actually happened when Taylor moved to NYC)
  • “A simple complication, miscommunications lead to fallout” 
  • “I’D TELL YOU I MISS YOU BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW / I’VE NEVER HEARD SILENCE QUITE THIS LOUD”
  • Isn’t it weird how she says “and people would say they’re the lucky ones” then on the Speak Now Tour she wrote “The Lucky One” ?? weird
  • “So many things that I wish you knew / so many walls up I can’t break through” –> “So many things that you wish I knew / but the Story of Us might be ending soon”
  • That fuckin’ ramp up back into the chorus after the bridge in The Story of Us
  • How perfectly Never Grow Up conveys how scary can it feel to grow up
  • The bridge of Never Grow Up
  • How every song except Never Grow Up and Last Kiss use heavy production and background vocals and it makes those two songs that much more powerful in their simplicity 
  • “I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone” and how this line gets more powerful the more years that go by
  • How Never Grow Up starts as a song to a baby, watches that baby grow up, and ends with Taylor  looking back at her life and the passage of time and swearing to protect that baby from harm….you ever cry
  • Just take 5 minutes and listen to Enchanted again pls
  • “Wonderstruck” “Enchanted” “Passing notes in secrecy” “this is me praying” “the very first page, not where the story line ends” “your eyes whispered” “this night is sparkling” “blushing all the way home” “I’ll spend forever wondering if you knew” “this night is flawless” “dancing ‘round all alone” –> So much mystical and whimsical imagery that you feel like you could call in love with the next person you see
  • The guitars in Enchanted
  • The production of Enchanted
  • “Sophistication isn’t what you wear or who you know / or pushing people down to get you where you wanna go” 
  • “I always get the last word” “There is nothing I do better than revenge” “show me how much better you are” –> Taylor is v self-aware 
  • Also how “show me how much better you are” is a reference to that JoBro song “Much Better” lmao so much 2008/2009 Disney drama
  • How Taylor wrote Innocent about the VMA incident when she could’ve just told you-know-who to fuck off
  • How Innocent looks at the subject from the perspective of their childhood and how they had “monsters” and “demons” that made them do bad things later in life and how this doesn’t make them a bad person
  • Knowing that you-know-who was one of Taylor’s favorite artists growing up so Innocent is also Taylor reconciling with herself how someone she artistically looked up to for years hurt her 
  • The use of light: “time turns flames to embers” “your string of lights is still bright to me” “in your firefly catching days” 
  • How Innocent is Never Grow Up but applied to someone else through the lens of forgiveness
  • “I hope you’ll remember: today is never too late to be brand new”
  • The orchestra in Haunted and how it makes the song sound urgent and the situation dangerous
  • “holding my breath” “your eyes go cold” “something’s gone terribly wrong” “can’t turn back now” “a fragile line” “it’s getting dark and it’s all too quiet and I can’t trust anything now” “come on, come on, don’t leave me like this” “can’t breath whenever you’re gone” “you’re not gone, you can’t be gone” –> everything sounds dangerous and urgent!! Like she’s actually gonna die!! And it’s called Haunted!! You get haunted by dead people!! But she’s saying she’s haunted!! The Haunting is killing her!! Holy shit!!
  • Last Kiss
  • The secret message of Last Kiss: “Forever and Always” 
  • The breath in the bridge of Last Kiss
  • The use of time and the passage of time: “at 1:58″ “that July 9th” “you can plan for a change in weather and time” “your name forever the name on my lips” “I’ll watch your life in pictures” “I’ll feel you forget me” “I’ll keep up with our old friends” “I still remember” “L
  • “I’m not much for dancing, but for you I did” –> “I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you” (Holy Ground)
  • THE BRIDGE: “So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep / and I’ll feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe / and I’ll keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are / hope it’s nice where you are / I hope the sun shines and it’s a beautiful day / and something reminds you / you wish you had stayed /  you can plan for a change in the weather and time / but I never planned on you changing your mind”
  • LONG LIVE
  • How the secret message of Long Live is “For you”
  • How Taylor ends Speak Now with a song for her fans and her band that she wrote during the Fearless Tour
  • How Long Live because even more powerful and beautiful and even sadder the more the years go by and the more successful Taylor becomes and as original member of The Agency leave/are left go
  • How Taylor wrote “we will be remembered” when she was like 19 and was still on her second album and before she won AOTY for the first time and wasn’t even close to the prime of her career but she was proud of how far she had come already and how Long Live sounds like a song someone writes at the end of their career to reflect on their accomplishments 
  • How Taylor wrote “promise me this: that you’ll stand by me forever” and every band member she has ever had still speaks highly of her and defends her
  • “When they point to the pictures, please tell them my name” but now no one will have to because everyone knows who she is and will know who she is for a long time because of her accomplishments and effect on popular culture
  • “It was the end of a decade but the start of an age” Taylor literally had no idea how true this line would become 
  • HOW SHE ENDS THE ENTIRE ALBUM WITH “ONE DAY, WE WILL BE REMEMBERED”
responding to some “Dipper is cis!!1!” arguments :)

1) “Don’t force child characters to be trans!”

- Applying a theory does not count as forcing
- Trans children exist in real life. There are kids who are 4, 5, 6 years old that get diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria, and it’s only fair that they get some kind of representation.
- Dipper is a fictional character, stating on the internet that I think he is trans will not affect him in anyway because he ISN’T REAL
- There are bigger issues regarding fan theories than the transboy dipper, transgirl Mabel, transgirl Grenda, etc. theories. Within the fandom there is shipping going on involving incest (Mabel/Dipper), pedophilia (Dipper/Ford *shuddering*) and abusive, interspecies (?) (Bill/Dipper (does bill count as another species? He’s not human and he’s definitely not 12 so it’s still a bit weird)) relationships. If you think saying that a male character could have been born female is the biggest problem facing the show, then you have some issues

2) It’s a children’s show, stop trying to make it LGBT+

- Children have a right to see LGBT+ characters from a young age. There’s nothing wrong with being LGBT+, and by hiding it from children it’s just enforcing the idea that it’s bad or should remain hidden
- Please return to this argument when it’s possible for children to google “My Little Pony” without seeing content that is actually inappropriate :)

3) Dipper has been seen shirtless and his chest is flat

- Hormone blockers are a thing. There is a perfectly reasonable chance that he is on blockers and so his chest has remained as flat as a prepubescent girl 

- He is 12 (13 by the end of the show), and on average femal puberty starts between the ages of 9 and 14 (google it). He may not have hit puberty yet, and this his chest is still flat.
- Similarly, Mabel has a pretty flat chest. They’re both children, why are their figures so important to you?

4) Alex Hirsch tweeted “if anyone wants to know what I consider canon, it’s easy: it’s what happened in the show” (x)

- Gravity Falls airs on Disney. Disney Channel has been around since 1983 (and Disney XD since 2009), and in almost 33 years has had two canon gay couples. There is no chance that Disney would have let them have a canon trans character, because parents would complain and it could damage ratings and profits and whatever
- He also tweeted “[Headcanons] don’t need my input” (x). Alex isn’t for or against trans!Dipper. If he’s not fighting it, you shouldn’t either.

5) Mabel wouldn’t tease Dipper about not being manly I he was trans

- She probably doesn’t mean to upset him? She’s clearly not saying the jokes seriously or out of malice, and she probably just doesn’t realise that it affects him
- If she would make those jokes towards him if he was cis, why should she not just because he’s trans? Personally, I sort of see that in a way like her saying “I see you as just the same as any other boy, and I’m going to treat you like I would treat any other boy”.
- She is a child. Children say stuff without thinking it through.

6) There have been flashbacks to when they were kids and Dipper was a boy then (x)

- As mentioned in an earlier point, children are trans. Children can express gender dysphoria from a young age and so it’s perfectly reasonable that dipper could have been out and living as male by the time he was 5 or 6.
- These memories come from Mabel and Dipper. Mabel and Dipper see Dipper as a boy, and so they could have altered their memories to fit in with that. When I look back on things I did as a kid, I think of it as “when I was a little boy”, and erase the female side of it. Mabel and Dipper could be doing that as well.

7) Grenda is more obviously trans than Dipper

- Why should we be limited to only having one trans character? LGBT+ characters aren’t just little tokens to prove that the show supports our community. Dipper could be trans, and Grenda could be trans. EVERYONE COULD BE TRANS! Why limit it to just one trans character? Let’s have a million!

8) “it’s disgusting”

- Would you like to elaborate on that? Because until you’ve given me some reasons, you’re just being transphobic. Transphobia isn’t cool.
- there is nothing disgusting about being trans. There is nothing disgusting about suggesting a fictional character could be trans. Shut up.

Please stop attacking trans!headcanons. They aren’t harming your enjoyment of the show. Unless you are genuinely being attacked for not accepting trans!dipper as your supreme overlord, then you’re not being affected by the headcanons. Please just let people enjoy thinking what they think.

These are just responses to some arguments I’ve seen. If you have anything else to add, feel free. I just really like trans!dipper and would appreciate not getting attacked for thinking it.