A paper I wrote a while back on Disney’s Mulan, vs. the Original Ballad of Mulan. I think it’s pretty cool. Sources are cited at the end of the paper, if you want to read more. I recommend it.
A very interesting paper on Disney’s Mulan and how the film has been created to sustain a western audience’s orientalist and sexisst conceptions about (Chinese) women.
The analysis of the film is spot-on, but I am a little worried about the author’s starting point of a universalist feminism which somehow retroactively fits around a medieval Chinese poem. The author makes it sound like the original poem might have served as a liberating tale for Chinese women (Which women? Which ethnicities and cultures? What parts of the enormous area that now equals China?) - but the poem, if, as I am assuming, written within a Confucian paradigm, could, for the women contemporary to it, probably only assist in reconfirming the filial duty of a daughter. As far as I know, women are always below men in classical Confucianism but this does not mean that they need be passive (which is often the case in western story-telling, and possibly one of the reasons that the creators of Disney Mulan felt they were breaking through some sexism).
Pragmatically speaking: I would need to know (per version of the tale) more about the period, location and author to be able to say anything about how it influenced the people who consumed it within their culture. If I chose to share this story with my children (future) then I would want to find all the different versions of it, and share them all and explain why the Disney one is specifically problematic.
Come to think of it, the only way I get to show those kids Disney films would be to simultaneously home-school them on all the stereotyping, sexism, racism and etc. in Disney films and would that even be worth it anymore since I would obviously just be guilt-tripping them into a love-hate relationship with a popcultural unit.
TLDR; Jienny are you here? Did you read this? Let me know what you think, you know more about Confucianism and all dis here.