Mulan and Transing Girls
Mulan was a really fun movie but I've realized how subversive and TRASH the message was.
1) In reality, Mulan would have never been able to keep up with the other men no matter how hard she trained. In fact, she would have held them back considerably and would have been a liability. The most athletic girl is still weaker than the least athletic man.
2) It was odd that not one man in the whole army had both brain and brawn. Very unlikely that only the one girl soldier would be able to contribute significantly via strategy and intellect.
3) It tells girls they can earn honour only by doing boy things and that if they're awkward at doing girly things, it means they're not really meant to be girls.
4) It vilifies a society that tells women that they don't belong in the military, even though that's a reasonable and good message.
5) It was the first step in the trans agenda becoming mainstream because it planted the seed of the idea that a girl can reliably become a boy if she disguises herself.
BUT! You might argue. It's a fairy tale! They have all kinds of "unrealistic" things in them! This is where most people reveal how little they understand fairy tales. Even in proper fairy stories (and Mulan is not a fairy story because there are no fairies) the enchantment is what delivers the unreal element and this unreal element works within its own logic which may be different than that of the real world. Mushu the dragon did not give Mulan her extraordinary qualities of being able to keep up with the men. He did not suddenly make the entire male army have an IQ of 50.
The unreal element of a fairy story may aberrate from reality, but the mythical idea about humanity that the story delivers is always true. This is why fairy tales are not lies. They are ways of telling the truth in a way that goes beyond mere lists of literal facts. Because most of the important truths in our lives do not lend themselves to lists or material explanations; they are immaterial.
For example, wolves do not talk to little girls, and yet, Little Red Riding Hood contains some very important truths about the world: there exist men as vicious as animals who will disguise themselves as women to prey on little children. Mulan was the beginning of Disney's hand in cultural subversion. It is a movie I won't show to my future daughter without making her question these important things!
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