‘Mulan’ & The Lesson of the Women Who Came Before

When my daughter and I sat down to watch the new Mulan Blu-ray, I have a feeling she thought this was just going to be a fun movie night with Mom. My husband was out at a doctor’s appointment, and we had control of the TV (no Xbox, no sports!). What could be better?

Poor kid didn’t know she was in for a long lesson in appreciating our feminist foremothers. She dealt with it rather well, all things considered. Her 7-year-old brain was righteously indignant when the hero soldier was quite suddenly cast aside when her brothers in arms realized she was a girl.

But she was confused too, nearly as confused as she was when we first started reading books about slavery and I had to explain that at one point people in America actually looked at people of color of property.

This is the advantage of raising a girl in 2013. She knows nothing of what it was to live in the time when Mulan was set.

And yet, it’s incumbent upon me, her mother, to tell her.

This is why I’m glad Disney pulled this film (and Mulan II) out of the vault.

It gave me another chance to drum into her head that being a girl hasn’t always been easy.

When I was in Los Angeles for the Oz the Great and Powerful premiere, I got the chance to chat with the film’s director and one of its chief animators — brother team Tom and Tony Bancroft (you can check them out on Facebook as The Bancroft Brothers). Both are accomplished men in their fields, but Mulan is special to them because they are fathers … of daughters. Putting the story of a kickass woman on the screen was a way they could honor their girls.

Watching it again, 15 years after they finished their work (yes, 15 years … I feel old … but Peter Pan REALLY made me feel it), I have to commend them. My daughter was just happy to be watching a Disney movie … because we are rather obsessed in this house. But she walked away from this one with a new sense of how lucky she is to live the life that she’s living.

She goes to school. She goes to dance. She can dream of being whoever she wants to be. And it’s all because of the women who came before her.

It’s a lesson every girl needs to learn, and there’s no better time than the present … Mulan and Mulan II have been packaged together on Blu-Ray for the first time.

Are you a Mulan fan? How have you talked to your daughter about the struggles of women before us?

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Mulan & Mulan II for review purposes only as well as the amazing signed artwork above (yes, that’s Mushu the dragon drawn just for me … although my daughter has claimed it!!). I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions are my own … including the feminist rantings. 


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