Today I was asked which Disney movie character I related to the most. I had never asked myself that question, so I spent a few minutes in contemplation. The first thing that came to mind was my aversion to traditional Disney Princesses who are being victimized and then enjoy a happily ever after because someone else came along and saved them.
I know they are not all like that and that Disney is evolving to some degree, but this is a dangerous message. In its essence, the lesson taught by the story of Cinderella is that if you are beautiful, have small feet, and can submit to abuse while maintaining a sweet spirit, everything will change for you if are in the right place at the right time wearing fancy clothes. I am not at all inspired by this.
Where does that leave those among us who don’t look like a Disney Princess, or who wear size 11 shoes, or who don’t like to dress up, or who have bigger aspirations than simply landing a man? Luckily, it leaves us on the OUTSIDE of a Disney movie, which is a far better place for us in the long run. Still, with that said, if I was forced to choose a Disney Princess for my role model, I would have to go with Mulan.
I can relate to Mulan on many levels. We both know how to survive in the snow. We both have simple uncluttered homes with an Asian flare. We both, try as we might, experienced failure when we tried to be what someone else wanted us to be. It was only when we challenged gender stereotypes and pursued our dreams that we began to realize we were made for greater things.
In the end, it was Mulan who did the saving. In the process, she brought honor to her family, her village and her country. Her courageous pursuit of her own potential must surely have paved the way for other girls in her society to break free and be all they were created to be, too, which is also my own passion and vision. So, thank you, Mulan. And thank you, Disney, for getting one movie right!