I think that we can all agree that Mulan is awesome. She is kick-butt. She is strong. She is intelligent. She breaks down barriers, saves her country, and fights for both her integrity and her family. This girl can do no wrong. She even has awesome song and dance numbers. Mulan is perfection. She is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters, and has one of the best movies to date (in my own personal opinion.) Getting a man isn’t even a priority for her. She was just that talented to pick up a man while she was out saving China. We’ve got awesome quotes, and an amazing, inspirational princess to look up to.
OR DO WE?
So I think that about 99.99% of the people who watch this movie can agree that Mulan is perfect. That .01% of people who don’t think that it she is perfection, probably just has a weird issue with people cross-dressing, but let’s face it, even if that does weird you out for whatever reason, she did it to save her country!
But then we have the slightly larger issue. Is Mulan even a princess?
Right now, I should be writing about the lesser known Princess Eilonwy from The Black Caldron or Princess Kida from Atlantis:The Lost Empire, who are both indisputably Disney princesses, but whom both unfortunately were deemed unworthy of joining the princess pantheon.
But why is this? What enables you to join this most prestigious of groups?
1. Well, your movie has to be profitable.
Sadly for both Princess Eilonwy and Kida, their movies just did not do well enough to make Disney want to market them any more. This is a sad truth, and it would be nice for all Disney princesses to actually be included in the pantheon, however, it is understandable that Disney only wants to market the princesses that will guarantee the most money, even if it does kind of stink for those of us who do (rightfully) appreciate the lesser-known princesses.
2. You simply cannot define a princess as a princess (in the traditional forms of marriage or blood royalty.)
The franchise spotlights a line-up of fictional female heroines who have appeared in various Disney animated feature films… [The heroines] are either royal by birth, royal by marriage, or considered a ‘princess’ due to their significant portrayal of heroism in their film and/or of a very high status in their country/region… [Mulan] has the honor of a princess because she achieved honor from the Emperor himself by saving China.
So this explains why Mulan and Pocahontas are considered “princesses.” Disney is just very tricky with its wording in order to get around the fact that, you know, they aren’t actually princesses.
3. You have to be the main protagonist.
Alright, we are being liberal with the term “princess” now in order to include Mulan and Pocahontas in the pantheon. So why not include Meg, who is definitely a female heroine in Hercules? Or Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It-Ralph? Well, if the movie isn’t named after you, or if you are at least not the main character of the movie, your chances of being placed in the pantheon have just decreased significantly.
4. You have to have that classic look.
Okay, Jasmine isn’t the main character in Aladdin. If we are going by rule #3, she technically shouldn’t be in the pantheon. However, you can get back in with the princesses if you have that classic look. The big, beautiful eyes. The stylistically similar bodies. Whether you be 2D or 3D, if you have that same, classic “Disney” look you will have a chance of being included in the pantheon for marketing reasons. You may not care for Disney wanting all of its characters to be beautiful, but all of these princesses have a distinct style that you can’t deny–it’s simply a fact. If there is a Disney heroine with this style, they probably have a chance of being allowed in the pantheon.
5. You have to be human.
Sorry Nala. I know you married a prince, but you can’t be a princess unless you are human. Do what Ariel did and go through a species-change if you want to make the cut.
Alright *whew* I think that we have shifted through some of the biggest issues when it comes to Disney princesses. I know that there are even more, but let’s face it, we want to get back to the true topic at hand, and simply look at the princesses like this: yes, it stinks that Disney’s term “princess” is loosely defined and just kind of stupid, but let us be thankful that they have included women like Mulan in the pantheon in order to create a different kind of role model for girls (ah-ha! I have brought us back to the topic at hand!)
So I know that I have been using a lot of words up until this point and that you have probably zoned out long ago, so to round this article off, let us just look at some pictures that show why Mulan is so awesome and a great role model for girls everywhere:
What do you think of Mulan and Disney’s “princess” pantheon?
Alissa is a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying Media Arts & Technology. Her hometown is in the Middle-of-Nowhere, NY, where winter is approximately 6 months of the year. She is extremely nerdy, and loves all things animated, literary, or Harry Potter related. Her older sister spawned her love of animation by dragging her downstairs at 2 a.m. every morning and making her watch various films until their parents took them back to bed. Some of her all-time favorite films include Mulan, The LEGO Movie, Up, Tangled, and The Lion King. She also collects old Peanuts comic strips, and spends her free time reading, writing for the Rotoscopers, and working a variety of jobs. You can follow Alissa on Instagram and Twitter: @ThisAlissa. See her work here.