Cross-Gender Stereotypes In Walt Disney Film 'Mulan'

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When we typically think of a cross-gender performance we often don’t look towards animated G-rated movies, however, the Walt Disney film Mulan produced in 1998 and directed by Tony Bancroft and Berry Cook, is a perfect example of a cross-gender performance. Mulan was one of the first examples in a Disney film, of a cross-gender performance and gender coded behaviors. Based off of the fifth-century Chinese poem “the Ballad of Mu-lan” the animated film takes place in China during the Han Dynasty, after the Huns have invaded China. Mulan is a young woman who decides to disguise herself as a man so that she can go to war instead of her elderly father. With no visual reference to base the character off of, Mark Hann, the primary animator on the team, struggled with creating a character that was an “outcast tomboy”. Primarily the struggle was to create this image of a lovable outcast without referring to the disjunction of her manly…show more content…
Modleski (1997) observes that Jo has not totally immersed herself in her male role, however, she continues to prove herself to be “more manly than man.” Mulan does the same during her time at camp. At first, Mulan struggles with the intense training, however, her determination allows her to advance to a point that she is not only as skilled as the men but excels so far as to be the first soldier to climb the tree and reach the arrow while wearing weights. In terms of Mulan practicing her male behaviors, we see that they have chosen to represent this through athletic activities. Typically when we discuss classic male stereotypes, often we think of their involvement in the world of sports. Mulan proves to be manlier than man through her dedication to practicing exerting herself through various athletic activities, such as climbing the

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