This article examines Disney’s Mulan in light of cross-dressing within fairy tales, the articulation of gender paradigms, and the role of Disney as purveyor of “canonical” meaning within popular culture. It first looks at Mulan in terms of the cross-dressing motif, situating the film within the larger discussion of cross-dressing in the fairy tale and briefly exploring similar tales of transgendered warriors by looking at common themes, motifs, narrative strategies, and disruptions. Secondly, it discusses the film itself by analyzing the performance of gender. It then evaluates the extent to which Mulan offers a depiction of a deconstructed heroine—one able to incorporate both traditionally “male” and “female” gender characteristics. Next, the essay examines Mulan in terms of a paradigm shift within the Disney production of gender and it debates the possible effects of the “Disneyfication” of a marginal and subversive form such as the folktale. The essay concludes by looking at the relation of the Internet to the reception of the tale/film.
Brocklebank, Lisa. "Disney’s Mulan—the “True” Deconstructed Heroine?." Marvels & Tales 14.2 (2000). Web. <http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol14/iss2/3>.