Gender stereotypes in Mulan are often, female and defy specific interpretations of a patriarchal hierarchy that exists in the 5th century China. The animated film Mulan directed by Tony Bancroft presents and challenges gender stereotypes. The stereotypical image of a man is represented as strong and hyper-masculine, however, the female are seen as weak and delicate. The film has contrasted images of skinny and overweight men and women that adopts masculine traits.
The traditional males in Mulan are represented as strong, muscular and violent. These stereotypes exist as males are seen as the protectors and providers of a family. A low angle, panning up shot with deep, strong music to symbolise the power and dominance when Shan yu is tauntingly walking to the imperial soldiers. “By building his wall, he challenged my strength” Shan yu. This shows that men will retaliate when they feel they are belittled of their masculinity or they feel it is their duty to protect their loved ones and land. Meanwhile, Mushu’s perceptions of a man are “Shoulders back, chest high, feet apart, head up and strut”. According to Mushu, this is the way the male body should walk. In comparison to women, the stance and the walk is much more dominant and physically imposing. As the film progresses similes and repetition used in the song “We must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire” and the repetition of ‘be a man’ shows what is expected of a male. Being the traditional male is to be rough, fit and dominant
Male gender stereotypes are being challenged by many characters in the film. The characters that don’t fit in the normal stereotype of a man, they are represented as skinny, overweight, short and lack muscles. The body and facial type of the emperor is not brawny but he has a long, white beard which indicated his age and wisdom, but he is still very powerful. His face unlike Li Shang is round and not angular. Furthermore as the film has shot him with bird’s eye view, low angles or low long angle shots which give him the sense of power and authority which he uses to paternalistically rule China. As the film progresses the song ‘I’ll make a man out of you’ is about the traditional male stereotypes and using “Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons”. Using ‘daughters’ shows what Shang’s perspective of the new recruits as not ‘manly’ enough, so he helps train these men by doing activities that are considered as ‘masculine’. The characters that are defying the male stereotypes still have power and are recognised.
The accustomed women in the patriarchal hierarchy of males are not important and valued in a family than men. Mulan was introduced, the film used ambient sounds of birds chirping to indicate a women’s delicateness and the diegetic sounds of children in the musical interlude “Honour to us all” shows the future of women. In the ‘Matchmaker’ scene the film uses a song which indicates...