I did warn you that I was going to be posting a lot… But I feel like this will be my last one for today; I have a few other things to do.
But this is a VERY important post. No, it is not Irony Pt. 3, (sorry Lawly) but I will have that up by the end of this week! In fact, this is a debate which shook the foundations of a few of my friendships and even made me reevaluate some. (Yes, it was that deep). The topic we were debating was quite sensitive, seeing as both options were both plausible, but in the face of this debate, one was the clearly ultimate superior to the other… but never mind that. The question we were asking was:
Who is better: Mulan or Pocahontas?
Now, before I start, I’d just like to say; if you a) don’t know who those girls are or b) haven’t watched either one of their featured movies, then please IMMEDIATELY close this tab and watch them ASAP, because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. And OK. I know it sounds ridiculous, because they’re both super cool Disney gals (who, may I just add, are two of about four Disney gals to have their names be the title of the movie) and also, what normal teenager debates these sort of things?
NEWSFLASH: I’m not normal. (I am a teenager though, unfortunately).
So anyway. Back to the debate. Of course, I felt it entirely necessary to share this with you, because it really made me think. Myself and my friend had a 40-minute debate about this at like ten at night, and STILL couldn’t come to any agreement. I have to be fair and present BOTH arguments equally (even though I fully KNOW which one I think is better, though I won’t disclose just yet; but sure, you are free to guess if you think I make it obvious) before I sum the arguments up. But here goes. (My practice as a lawyer, really, things like this are essential for my mind! And also just fun in general, because the debate got so heated, at one point my aunt told me to be quieter because I was screaming down the phone)…
FOR: Pocahontas, AGAINST: Mulan
Pocahontas is the super cool, independent and fierce daughter of the chief of the tribe. (Technically, she is a princess). In the beginning of the movie, she has a dream about a spinning arrow and when she talks to her Grandmother Willow, they decide that this is going to be her fate; a spinning arrow. Pocahontas is one of the ONLY princesses in all of Disney history to actively choose her own fate – her father wants her to marry a tribe warrior called Kocoum, but she sings a really sick song (called ‘Just Around The Riverbend’) about how she wants to go her own way (NOT like Gabriella from HSM; as in go her own way ‘independently’). Now, as much as this may sound rebellious or whatever, Pocahontas is not one for blindly following the standards of other people. She wants to make her own decisions, do her own thing, make her own choices. Many of the other Disney princesses are often only pursuing what they have been taught, beit by their family or their inspired dreams. Pocahontas doesn’t have much for her in the tribe. Yes, she might be the chieftain’s daughter, but she wants to be MORE than the chieftain’s daughter. She wants to be known for herself.
Mulan, on the other hand, is known for her family, and everything she does is because she wants to please her family, make her family happy. Nothing that Mulan does is for herself. In fact, in the movie’s very first song, ‘Bring Honour To Us All’ she is LITERALLY trying to be a ‘good’ daughter to please her family. And then when THAT doesn’t work, she sings ‘Reflection’, about how she is trying (and failing) to reach up to the standards HER FAMILY has set.
Pocahontas biggest achievement is preventing war between the ‘copper-skinned savages’ and the ‘white-skinned devils’ (no hate please, I’m using phrases from the ACTUAL movie) i.e. the Native Americans and the British. When her love interest (John Smith, OOH, he is BAE) is captured by her father and the warriors, she visits him DESPITE the fact that he could be punished. When it is time for him to be executed (AHA SPOILER) she literally FLINGS herself in between the executioner and John Smith (tied to a pole, but still… it was a very moving scene). She put her own life at risk, not just because of the love of this guy, but also because of the love she had for her own tribe; she knew that if John Smith was killed, the British would attack her tribe, and they’d probably all be killed too. She realised this before anyone else did.
Mulan fights a war. Obviously yes, winning a war is a great achievement, but she doesn’t actively seek to prevent it like Pocahontas did. YES, she may not have been able to prevent it, but her ‘method of prevention’ is firing a cannon into a mountain to avalanche the entire hun army. (AHA SPOILER) Effective, YES. Friendly and life-preserving, NO.
POINTS TO ADD
- Mulan has a bunch of friends around when she is going through her struggles. Even after she reveals herself as a female (AHA SPOILER) they still return to her side when the huns return (AHA SPOILER) and help her. Pocahontas, for the entirety of the movie, is alone. Other than Grandmother Willow who gives her advice, she has nobody to physically be with her and help her. She is a lone wolf.
- Pocahontas is (admittedly) prettier than Mulan.
- In the sequel, Pocahontas 2, she travels to England to act as an ambassador for her tribe. She has to journey to a far away land and then assimilate the culture, as she is viewed nationally as a ‘savage’. She is willing to sacrifice her culture for her tribe and herself for the sake of her tribe.
- Overall, the songs in Pocahontas are better and more catchier than the songs in Mulan. ‘Colours of the Wind’ and ‘Savages’ were some of THE sickest (like the GOOD sick) songs in Disney history. Mulan’s songs are good, but some don’t hit the mark.
FOR: Mulan, AGAINST: Pocahontas
Mulan is the lovable, sweet and self-sacrificing daughter of a war veteran. (She’s not actually a princess, but who cares?) In the beginning of the movie, she hears of her father being summoned to war and, knowing that he is injured and will probably die in this battle, decides to cut off her hair (no small feat for any girl, let me tell you), bind her breasts (once again, no small feat) and ride off to war with her father’s stolen armour, an assumed name and a hapless dragon guardian. Mulan is the ONLY Disney gal to act in such a selfless manner; she rides off to war knowing that she could die, but preferring that she die rather than her father. She thinks she has dishonoured her family (to an extent) but even in her obedient nature, she realises that she cannot allow her father to go and die. Mulan stands nothing to gain from going to war. If she is caught, she will be executed. If she is NOT caught, then she would have saved her father from going and may return home safely, if she is not killed in battle. Pocahontas stands to gain from stopping the war. She gets to have her man, so to speak, and she also gains the respect of every man in the camp. Pocahontas lives in a society where women were highly respected. Women may have been housewives, but they certainly were not traditional housewives; they weren’t penitent or subservient. They were still empowered. Mulan lives in a society where women are nothing. Their only role is to get married and have children.
Mulan has to fight against biological conditioning. She is a petite, slight Chinese woman amongst men who have probably been training all their lives for moments like this. She has to push her body to the absolute LIMIT and beyond so that she will become conditioned for war. She has no idea how to fight. She has few moments to learn and yet eventually becomes a very skilled soldier (all whilst a) keeping the pretence of her gender and b) singing a kick-ass song ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’)
Pretty much single-handedly, with quick thinking, Mulan defeats the majority of the hun army. When the Chinese army is greatly outnumbered, she is able to put her own life at risk (once again) for the safety of her friends/army and fires a cannon to create an avalanche. Without this quick decision, there is NO way that their army would have survived. Although it may not be life-preserving for the huns, it is life-preserving for China, and as a result, even the Emperor acknowledges her (AHA SPOILER) as the saviour of China, DESPITE her gender. Mulan manages to break the typical gender role of a woman in her society throughout the movie, and by the end, has everyone realising that maybe women aren’t useless.
Pocahontas, on the other hand, doesn’t really break role. Her saving of John Smith is the emotional manipulation of her father. She full and well KNOWS that no fellow tribesman will lay a hand on the chieftain’s daughter, and so will not execute John Smith as a result of her being in front of him. In the beginning of the movie, she plays the ‘I don’t need a man’ role, and then suddenly, BADDA BING BADDA BANG, John Smith turns up and – after much hanging out – her philosophy suddenly changes. Mulan is trying to become a bride and when that doesn’t work she feels ashamed. Even when she realises that she has feelings for General Shang (WHOO, another BAE to be honest, because that man bun got me like…) she puts them behind her in order to focus on the task at hand – being a soldier. She refuses to jeopardise herself or her family simply for the feelings she has for this – super fit – guy.
POINTS TO ADD
- Pocahontas has TWO love interests… someone say GREEDY.
- The sequel of Mulan was PARTIALLY soul-destroying, what with the fact that she thought General Shang was dead, and was fully ready to marry someone else. (AHA SPOILER) The sequel of Pocahontas was SOUL-DESTROYING, with the fact that she thought John Smith was dead and then SMOOTHLY navigated to a new man. Darn you, John Rolfe.
- Mulan is never willing to deny herself or her feelings (when she is allowed to be a woman warrior, she does.) Even when Shang disagrees with her personal philosophy that ‘her duty is to her heart’ she doesn’t care. In fact, they even fall out over that. Pocahontas is willing to give up her culture for a new man. Just because John Rolfe asks her to be some ‘civilised’ British woman, she does. She dons some disgusting dress and EW.
So that’s it. The argument. I had to summarise a lot but the overall gist is that Pocahontas is independent but emotionally-driven and Mulan is kick-ass but emotionally-driven.
And I did this test, Which Disney Princess Are You? Which you should do, because BUZZFEED. (I won’t tell you who I got, but I got one of these two gals. 🙂 ) But make sure that you ONLY do this quiz and don’t click on ANOTHER quiz, such as THIS ONE (but of course do that one, it’s Which Disney Prince Is Your True Love?) Anyway.
To be fair, I’m not going to tell you which one I favour, because that’d be biased. However, I CAN tell you that anyone who does not see the clear winner in this situation is an absolute WEIRDO… and quite frankly, doesn’t deserve to watch Disney.
That’s all from me, Queen Rianna