Growing up, my top 5 favorite female role models on TV were the cartoon characters Jem and She-Ra, Farrah Fawcett from Charlie’s Angels, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and Sarah Jessica Parker from Girls Just Want To Have Fun (I must have watched this movie 100 times). All these female figures were my heroes and it didn’t matter that they looked nothing like me, an Asian-American girl.
When Disney created the animated movie, Mulan, in 1998, I was no longer a child or teen. I was in college. But that’s the magic of Disney, because as a 20 year old, Mulan all-of-a-sudden became MY Disney princess hero. She looked like me, was active like me, held the same ideals as me, dreamed big like me, and loved her family like me, and she was a heroine. I’ve been telling my husband for years that Disney needed to remake a live-action Mulan so that we could finally see a real Asian woman on the big screen as the lead heroine. And with so much excitement, here it is.
3 Reasons You Should Watch Mulan 2020
It’s 2020, and yes indeed there have been some improvements since the 80’s. You can choose what ethnicity your Barbie doll is. That’s new. We are slowly, but surely, speaking up as a nation, as a world, against racism. Let’s keep that going. Barack Obama was elected the first Black president. Impossible possible.
At the same time, the playing field is still not level for everyone based on the color of their skin. And one of those areas is in the media. Even if you’re not a Disney fan (don’t worry, this Mulan remake has no break-out-singing moments, much to my husband’s relief), support Mulan as an attempt to bring diversity on the main screen. Sure, there was Joy Luck Club, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and more recently Crazy Rich Asians, but this is the first time a family-oriented action movie came out with an all-Asian cast. Good job Disney for letting my girls finally be able to watch a movie with people that look like them.
Just like last week we celebrated Marvel’s Black Panther with an all-Black cast, let’s keep supporting more diversity on and off the movie screen.
On the topic of diversity, please save the date on Saturday, September 19th at 9:30am for a #StopDropAndDance donation class benefitting the Marin Education Equity Fund. Donate directly here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/119005311089
Raise Girl Power
Oh yes, there is something WRONG with the “old” ideas of how women should be. Thank you DC for recently creating a remake of Wonder Woman and Marvel for creating Captain Marvel. Now add Disney’s Mulan to the small list of one-woman superhero movies who are not silent or invisible servants.
Thankfully you should all know the story of Mulan from the original animation movie, so you know she is the heroine. There is something so empowering to see a character that can blend among men and be just as strong, just as fast, just as skilled, if not more (I made this a point to my daughters as we watched). Mulan is a girl that doesn’t need saving, and instead she saves everyone else.
What makes Liu Yi Fei who plays Mulan, even more unique for this role is that she did 90% of her stunt work, from riding horses to battle scenes and stunts, to sword fighting and martial arts. It is her 100% skill and effort that you can’t help but respect as you watch her movements like a dance that is choreographed. In addition, three woman were behind the cameras: Mulan’s director, Niki Caro, first assistant director, Liz Tan, and cinematographer, Mandy Walker.
Watch Mulan if you agree we should spotlight more women heroines and women working behind-the-scenes.
The final reason you should watch Mulan is because it is about family. Her father is willing to fight in the army to protect his family. Mulan is willing to take her father’s place to protect her family.
What do you do to protect your family? We wear masks to protect our family. We keep our distance to protect our family. We deliver food and drop it off to protect our family. We restrict ourselves from socializing too much to protect our family. We quarantine to protect our family.
As we approach exactly 6 months since we went into shelter in place on March 13th, my sister and I made a decision that we can’t keep protecting our parents and grandma from afar. We decided to protect them by quarantining (that was definitely not a word most of us used before), and then yesterday my girls and I took a Covid-19 test. We endured the long-q-tip-up-your-nose-and-now-my-eyes-are-watering test without complaining, because we knew what the reward would be.
A negative test to protect our family. Which meant….. (please watch with the volume up!):
My girls and I gave our first hugs to my parents in 6 months. I got to hug my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces. My girls got to hug their cousins (accompanied by the most high-pitched squeals). I got to hug my 101-year-old grandma.
We all watched Mulan together last night and it was the perfect family movie for 3 generations. I hope you get to watch it too.
Now we get to spend a whole week together because we took the steps and made the sacrifices to protect my family. Yes, that means dancing too! 100% worth it.
I hope to see you this week for our special donation class on Thursday at 9:30am for Ceres Community Project, in celebration of one of our dancers, Shel’s, birthday. Sign up directly here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/119176146061.
Happy Labor Day!