something i've been thinking about when reading all these mulan reviews. it feels like the parts of the movie that just weren't as good come from trying to fit mulan into white feminist narratives, ascribing the type of feminism that works for white women onto mulan
i'm trying to figure out how to word this better, but i've seen that there are moments in the film that are written as if you can take white cultural issues and directly transpose them into a chinese folktale and have it read the same way, when it can't
i've seen folks write about empowerment for women while having all sorts of cultural issues (gendered chi, different cultural expectations for women, etc.) and i'm like, it makes no sense to have one without the other. this is where an intersectional analysis would be so vital
while patriarchy exists across cultures, it manifests in different ways, and to assume that the way white men see white women is the same way asian men see asian women, and thus constructing a white feminist narrative in a chinese folklore setting just... doesn't make sense?
thinking about this, for example, and how there are vastly different connotations of 'witch' across cultures. while white folks have this fear of witches, that's... not a thing we have? so it doesn't quite land right https://twitter.com/XiranJayZhao/status/1302357141143994368?s=20
this is another example, where... maybe for white folks who historically relied on slave labor so much, this is a worry, but in parts of china this was seen as a positive? these are white people problems, and asserting that whiteness onto us is a miss https://twitter.com/XiranJayZhao/status/1302356741691076608?s=20
this is to say, sexism and patriarchy for sure existed and still exist in china. but when you impose a frame of whiteness onto the tale, you render the struggles specific to chinese women invisible. and i think that's why the film feels so odd. she's written like a white woman
i can imagine that a feminist in china would mention different things, with different nuances, that niki caro, a white woman who did research by going to european museums, completely missed. this is why an intersectional lens matters, because white feminist stories are not enough