Followers, I don’t know if I’ve posted quite enough to fully establish this, but Mulan is my favorite Disney heroine of all time, and she always will be. She’s the “princess” I identify the most with (family issues, problems with self worth, determination to prove herself and defy what standards that people have pre-set for her, not to mention overall bad ass chick), so when I see re-designs of the Disney princess court have come out, and this is what they fucking did to Mulan, my heart becomes ill.
1. I understand they have never been particularly loyal to her character when it comes to merchandise and franchising. Dolls are of a completely different Mulan, one with pretty long hair and a sparkly kimono. Even though there is a MOTHERFUCKING SCENE WHERE SHE WIPES OFF ALL THE MAKE UP CAKED ON HER FACE BECAUSE IT’S NOT WHO SHE IS INSIDE Disney insists on marketing a dull and docile pretty princess.
2. What in the fuck is that shit she is wearing cough excuse me??!??!?!?! And what happened to her short hair??!!?!?!?! Cutting your long hair is a symbolic Asian act that represents change and new beginnings. DISNEY ARE YOU TELLING ME SHE WOKE UP ONE DAY AND WENT ‘FUCK IT I’LL JUST BE A HOUSEWIFE ANYWAYS’ AND SHE GREW IT OUT AGAIN? AND WHY IS SHE SUDDENLY SO GOD DAMN WHITE WASHED HOW DID WE GET TO THIS FROM THIS
LOOK AT THAT DARK ASS SKIN SHE IS NOT A FUCKING GEISHA
3. This is a very sad instance of Disney losing its priorities. Instead of representing Mulan with who she really was and what she stood for:
(protecting her country and earning her father’s respect while proving misogynistic values are wrong)
they turn her into this hollow shell of beauty and style and Disney should be ashamed of themselves. Instead of embracing the fact that she was one of the only princesses to want more of herself than just being a bride-to-be, they doll her up, because it’s what sells. Mulan only wanted marriage because it would make her father proud, but instead SHE
FELL IN LOVE WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF SAVING A FUCKING COUNTRY
(note: I never have and never will recognize Mulan II as an official sequel, because you basically could apply everything I wrote here to it anyways).
When you look at them together you can kinda see the similarities with her old design. The color scheme is the same. It’s actually same type of dress just a more princess-like version of it. Her hair was lengthened and restyled but so was Belle’s, Cindy’s, Aurora’s and Jasmine’s. She does look the same to me in this art just more like…a princess. :) ♥
Ugh. I have a lot of feelings about this. Let’s unpack them shall we?
Mulan is shown in her many redesigns above. She is not *technically* a princess but Disney will trot her out in the princess line every once and a while. And here we see the many changes they have made to her design to fit their model. Now I know they did a major design overhaul on all their princesses and Merida’s caused a lot of outcry (deservedly) but where is the outcry for the original fierce female Mulan? Mulan is a warrior, a soldier, a strategist! Her whole deal was she never felt comfortable in the roles she was forced into. Disney, did you forget this is the character that gave us Reflection? I didn’t. I used to sing that song over and over. It was the go to ballad for those of us who didn’t quite fit in.(the ‘Let It Go’ of the 90s if you will) Mulan meant so much to me growing up. And I’m white!* (dear hollywood in general, white people will go to movies starring POC. this is not news. Also not news? boys will go to movies starring girls. You know who loved Mulan almost as much as I did? my littler brother…this is a long aside)
I see two problems here. The first is a very general problem with all the Disney redesigns which is that most of the characters no longer really resemble their animated counterparts and this is done to make them *prettier* I guess. As if they weren’t pretty enough. I know they are Disney’s characters and they can do with them what they want. And that Snow White as animated is kinda soft and fuzzy (and gorgeous) and maybe doesn’t *mesh* lined up with 50+ years of evolving animation techniques. I can understand uniformity even if I disagree with it. But Mulan is so drastically redesigned it’s almost like a completely different character.
Which brings me to the next problem. There is nothing at all wrong with pretty dresses and make up. I like those things. I’m sure that there are many little asian girls that want to look up to a beautiful princess in a beautiful dress. They should have that. All little girls (and little boys) should see themselves reflected in a number of different ways. (Uh oh guys she’s going to talk about race. Yep I am.) You don’t change an awesome character like Mulan to fit into a pretty dress and make up. Her story establishes she doesn’t feel truly herself in those things. You know what would fix this problem? Make another asian princess! One that wears a dress. You can have two! Hell you can have twenty-two! POC are not the highlander. There is no “there can be only one!” nonsense. (While you’re at it maybe make a native princess that doesn’t completely sanitize white colonialism? k thanks)
I’m not saying Disney should never ever make another white princess. I like Brave (let’s be real though that was Pixar) and Frozen. (Tangled was ok. I mean it was …'meh’ personal opinion) but you had three white princess movies back to back to back. Let’s not pretend these decision are not deliberate. As if princess movies spring fully formed from the ether and should be free of criticism. Make more asian princesses (by the time I have daughters I would please like them to have lots of options on halloween) and for the love of mushu leave Mulan alone!
*this has been a 'white lady talks about race’ post and therefor is subject to wankery (mine) if I am appropriating the discussion or getting it wrong I will welcome any call-outs (other white people, this does not mean you. sometimes we need to stfu)