SKRIPSI Jurusan Sastra Inggris - Fakultas Sastra UM, 2008

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Disney’s Mulan: Upholding Misogyny

Tias Tanjung Wilis


Misogyny, which dates back to the story of the Fall, means the male hatred of
women which  allows men  to  create  stereotypical  images  about women  in  order  to
keep women  in  subjection  and,  at  last, maintain  their  power within  the  patriarchy.
Misogyny  allows  men  to  oppress  women  by  giving  them  no  voice  to  define
themselves. Since women do not have  the authority  to define and assert  themselves,
they tend to agree on any definitions men have made about them; they follow the path
men  have  chosen  for  them  no matter  where  it  will  end.  Slowly,  women  begin  to
believe that those definitions represent who they really are; that becoming the second
sex, second creatures, being  responsible  for and  limited only  to  the domestic affairs
are  their destiny. Finally,  they denigrate  their own  sex  and  thus,  the  culture  can be
kept male,  the patriarchy can be maintained and  the power can always be obtained.
This subject could be found in Disney' s Mulan. 
  Disney’s Mulan is a cartoon movie adapted from a Chinese poem titled “The
Ballad of Mulan” that dates back to the Southern-Northern Dynasty (AD 420-589) in
which women were oppressed by  the  social codes of Confucianism.  It  tells about a
Chinese  feminist  heroine Hua Mulan, who  disguised  herself  as  a man  to  take  her
ailing father' s place  in  the army. As  the Chinese version, Diney’s Mulan  is expected
to be a movie of feminist. Yet,  it seems  that  the movie even conforms  to misogyny.
This study aims at uncovering misogyny in Mulan. 
The  analysis  centers  on  the  usage  of  Film  Studies,  looking  at  the  details
provided  in  the  screen  (mise  en  scéne):  shots,  angles,  lighting,  color,  movement,
sound, and etcetera. The analysis is much influenced by the perspectives of Feminism
and Cultural Studies by exposing, identifying, and challenging stereotypes of women
found throughout the movie. 
Through  the analysis,  it could be revealed  that  the movie upholds misogyny.
The main character of the movie, Mulan, depicted as a free-spirited young woman in
the beginning of  the movie, happens  to be  the most misogynistic of all. She chooses
to  come back  to her patriarchal  family  rather  than  accepting  the Emperor' s offer  to
become a member of his counsel, which is a strategic position to make a change for a
better condition of women in her society. The movie conveys one message telling that
a woman, no matter how successful she is in other cultural domain, must come back
to her domestic place leaving any of her position in the public affairs.