Mulan (1998 Film)

Mulan: Subverting the Roles of Women in the Patriarchal Feudal China 8th Grade

In feudal China, women were supposed to embrace domesticity as homemakers and wives while only the men were certified to participate in the army. The ubiquitous patriarchal psychology in this era obligated women to be subservient to men, their roles only revolved around being obedient to their male counterparts. In the 1998 film Mulan, the stereotypical roles of a woman are emphasized through various key female characters. However, the titular protagonist challenges these stereotypical roles by disguising as a man to be able to fight in the army. Men in feudal China undervalued the ability of women in performing certain tasks in the society and only restricted them to household duties. In the film, misogynistic characters such as Chi Fu belittle women and demand obedience from Mulan when in the presence of men. Mulan defies these notions of gender roles becoming independent and manages to be a successful warrior in a male-dominated society. Thus, the film demonstrates stereotypical gender roles in the Chinese society and challenges these ideas through Mulan’s deeds.

Through the female characters, the film depicts the stereotypical gender roles imparted upon women during the feudal society in ancient China. The first scene shows...

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