What’s Sex Got to Do With…. Mulan?

Through the movie Mulan, Disney has found an incredibly twisted way of generating and propelling stereotypes about the Asian male body while making young viewers believe they are hearing this from the perspective of that particular group. As Travis Kong discussed, there are two main ways that Asian male bodies are typically portrayed in films and world opinion, the idea of the feminine, smooth-skinned Asian or the Kung Fu master.

 

mulan

The two main characters portrayed in the film Mulan portray both of these “typical” perceptions of Asian males. Mulan is a woman dressed as a man for the majority movie; and yet there is a clear distinction between Mulan and the other soldiers. She is smaller, daintier, and hairless. Mulan looks feminine. Despite this, Mulan is never questioned as to whether or not she is male. Why not? Because Mulan meets the Westernized perception of the Asian man that is inherently “feminine and smooth-skinned”. She moves through the world, even during her time as a soldier, as this feminized Asian male.

Disney uses its domination of the youth film industry to present stereotypes and stigmas to the youth population as if they are the truth. By portraying Asian males in such a way does Disney manage to establish and solidify the Asian male population as non-sexual beings?

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