'A Girl Worth Fighting For': Transformations of the Woman Warrior Hua Mulan

Sotomayor, Hilary
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University of Guelph

This study analyses the shifts in time in the characterization and legacy of the woman warrior Hua Mulan through critical historical and cultural analysis of adaptations of Mulan from the original ballad published as early as the fourth century, to the most recent live action films released in 2020. Shifts in gender expression and crossdressing as a result of societal shifts are discussed alongside these cultural shifts. The research is divided into four sections to map Mulan’s development: pre-Qing, Qing, Mainland Republican-era adaptations and People’s Republic-era adaptations. A considerable historiography is consulted alongside available critical acclaim to further analyse the legacy of Mulan. These comparisons reveal that Mulan represents shifting Chinese values as a role model and ideal citizen, leading to her use by authors and filmmakers for various agendas and to continued personal and national identification as a national hero with the rise of mass media in China.

mulan, history, china, disney, crossdressing, gender, literature, women soldiers, popular culture, gender theory, performativity, women warriors
Sotomayor, Hilary. 2019. �??Hua Mulan�?�. Footnotes 12 (April). https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/footnotes/article/view/5318.