Mulan is an idiot
I have no idea how we all seem to have missed this as children. Mulan was a bad-ass, both in real life and in the movie. But in the latter, she is, quite frankly, an idiot too. Let me explain:
The Huns are invading China, and the Emperor issues a general draft to protect his empire. Every family must contribute with one man for the army. Given that Mulan’s father has no sons, he must suit up himself. But he is old and crippled by an old war wound, so in order to save his life, Mulan dresses up as a man and goes in his place.
Problem is, an old and crippled war veteran like him would never even see the front lines. He would probably have been given a cushy officer’s positions where he would be pushing papers or training recruits. Maybe even work as what a friend of mine called “war consultant” when he forgot the word for “strategist”.
Point is, her father would be worse than useless in action, as he cannot swing his sword without falling down in pain, something Mulan witnessed herself. The man can barely even walk, for fuck’s sake. Jeezus…!
But Mulan forgets to think and takes his place in order to save him from sitting on a pillow for the duration of the war. Or in order to “sAvE hEr FaThEr”, as she calls it. Mulan is an idiot.
Although, to be fair, most people are idiots in this movie. From Mushu the dragon’s general incompetence, to the reserve army somehow being too distracted while singing “a Girl Worth Fighting For” to notice the still burning ruins of a razed village until it was literally 10 meters in front of them. Hello?! SCOUTING?!?!
Oh, and the entire empire of China somehow manage to raise only a couple of dozen troops for their reserve army? How the fuck can you mess up logistics that bad?
Mulan is an idiot, but so is most of ancient China too. Apparently.
Mulan is trans, fight me !
Just to be clear, Mulan being trans has nothing to do with the above point. Everyone can be an idiot, and trans people deserve the right to act and think like idiots as much as the rest of us. A right most of the non-trans (cis) people in the movie certainly take advantage of..
Anyway, on my latest re-watch of Disney’s Mulan (1998), I have become almost convinced that some bad-ass, hardcore trans-activist somehow high-jacked the script for the movie, because in retrospect, it almost seems laughably obvious. Those far-right anti-SJW nitwits that cry about Hollywood’s “far-left agenda” of inclusivity and representation (the horror!) really missed a prime example for their not-at-all-baked conspiracy theory.
But I digress.
Mulan is trans. Non-binary, to be precise.
For those who do not know, the definition of a trans person is someone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Which a non-binary person, who does not identify completely with any gender, is by definition.
And I present my evidence: Mulan herself.
There. Done. Q.E.D.. Proven.
Ok, fine, for those of you who need it spelled out, here are my arguments:
Mulan does not fit in, nor does she like, the gender-role she is assigned. She does not perform femininity in the way it is defined in ancient China. This is even before she takes her father’s place in the war, where she starts to perform what is considered masculinity. Admittedly, she is pretty clumsy about it and accidentally starts a fight because of it, but after getting used to it, she also starts to thrive.
There is a general theme of accepting non-conformity throughout the entire movie. Towards the end, Mulan is accepted for who she is and what she has done and is allowed to be her non-conforming self. And she is not the only one. Her soldier friends even dress up in drag in order to infiltrate the Emperor’s palace, reinforcing the theme of non-conformity.
And on a side note, it is super epic when the encore of “Be a Man” is blaring in the background of manly-man soldiers dressing up as the Chinese equivalent of geishas. Pretty wonderfully ironic and subversive when the song about what it means to be a man is played over cis-men dressing up in dresses and putting on make-up. What a way to embrace inclusivity and non-conformity!
Furthermore, in Mulan’s first and only solo song “Reflections”, the refrain has the repeating line of “when will my reflection show who I am inside”. And the outro during the dance party that writers put in when they do not know how to end a movie is “be true to your heart”. This fits very neatly into the over-arching trans-narrative of Mulan’s journey, and is frankly so blatant sub-text that it might as well be text.
There is also the very familiar theme of hiding who you really are, and when she is finally forced to “come out”, the people around her take it very badly and (fortunately temporarily) abandon her.
Thus, given the gender expectations in ancient China as depicted in the movie, Mulan is non-binary trans.
Fight me !
Written by Emil Olai