Watching 'Mulan' For the First Time As An Adult

by Rachel Semigran

I'm 28-years-old and I had never seen Mulan until recently. "But you grew up in the golden age of Disney cartoons!" my friends would say, "You're an anti-feminist monster!" Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's not get out of hand. Mulan was released when I was 12 which was right at the tipping point of being "too old" to see cartoons at the movies. I now understand this is insane because I saw Inside Out this summer and sobbed uncontrollably for at least half of the movie. Nevertheless, for one reason or another, I didn't see Mulan when it was first released and it never made its way into my television for the next 17 years.

Now that I have seen it, part of me is really happy that I didn't see it all of those moons ago. I know the movie is about a young woman overcoming society's expectations of her, but many of the catchy songs are about why women are perceived as less than men. These songs aside, Mulan has some of the funniest sight gags in Disney history. The animation, particularly the landscapes, are stunning, and Mulan is by far one of the most badass of all Disney women. She's not a "princess," she's a warrior, and an incredible one at that. I'm getting all amped up just thinking about her retrieving the arrow from the pole. I digress.

Here's what I thought while watching Mulan for the very first time as a 28-year-old:

1. Oh Man, I Miss Old Disney Animation

This is some Lion King-level sh*t.

2. Yo, These Huns Are No Joke

Excuse me while I have nightmares about their glowing yellow eyes.

3. Mulan Is Left-Handed!

For some reason, that makes perfect sense.

4. Mulan's Dog Totally Inspired Dug From Up


5. This Whole Bringing Honor To Your Family With Marriage Is Bull

And boy do they really like to drive that point home with a lot of exposition about women not speaking out of turn and being subservient to their men.

6. Now I Wish This Movie Didn't Have A Love Story

Not that Mulan doesn't deserve love or anything... I just think the impact would have been much stronger if she went through all of this nonsense, came out on top, and was a single, independent woman at the end of it all. Ya know, to teach the kids that a woman's worth isn't determined by her relationship to a man.

7. Disney May Or May Not Have A Problem With Fat Women

First Ursula, now this. I guess if you're a woman and you're fat in Disney movies... you're a villain.

8. "Reflections" Is Totally Mulan's "Part Of Your World"


9. Is This Conversation About The Late Bloom, "The Talk?"

Seems a little late in the game, pops.

10. Her Parents Don't Even Try To Go After Her?!

That's cold.

11. Why Do Her Ancestors Sound Like Linda Richman?

What are these accents? I'm so confused.

12. Shan Yu Is Khal Drogo

If only he had a Khaleesi to set his butt straight.

13. This Movie Is Slaying With The Zingers

“They’re disgusting”

“No, they’re men."

14. Li Shang Was Responsible For So Many Sexual Awakenings

Excessive shirtlessness happening and I'm not complaining.

15. Mulan Needs To Learn How To Spit From Rose DeWitt Bukater

If she can teach a Yank, she can teach you!

16. There Are A Lot Of Different "Manly" Behaviors At Training Camp

There's this and then...

This. Whatever floats your boat, fellas.

17. I Wonder If This Is How Beijing Trained For The Opening Ceremonies

Because that was some serious military precision going on.


18. Chien Po Is My Boy

He's all, "I couldn't care less what she'll wear or what she looks like It all depends on what she cooks like: Beef, pork, chicken..." I'm with you there, Po. How your partner cooks and eats is really what matters.

19. The Photo on Chi-Fu's Desk Is Hilarious

This legit might be the best part of the entire movie. Im dying.

20. Well This Is The Worst Song In The Universe

I bet "meninists" take this song seriously.

21. Oh, They Killed Li Shang's Dad Instead

I was wondering when the dead parent thing was going to happen. Disney tricked me in the beginning, I thought Mulan's dad was having a heart attack when he was preparing for battle... those tricksters. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

22. This Is Why I Don't Go Skiing

This scene is seriously terrifying and not OK.

23. This Scene Is Also Not OK

I am Patrick. We are all Patrick. Seriously writers? You're going to tear her clothing off and shove her out into the cold to show everyone she's a woman? VIOLATION.

24. There's More Cross-Dressing In Mulan Than In She's The Man

Harvey Fierstein approves!

Chill, ghost lady.

25. Bow Down, B*tches


26. She Should Have Taken That Job On The Emperor's Council

That would have been way more progressive!

27. Ugh, She's Still Seeking Her Dad's Approval?

Girl, you saved China.

28. Grandma Is A Sass Monster


Too much.

Overall, I can see why so many people adore this movie. There are great characters with a few surprise celeb voices (George Takei FTW), a killer action sequence, and some super catchy songs. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look for a cricket I can befriend.

Images: Disney(3), Giphy 25