Distorting Mulan

Another Story of Cultural Imperialism


This drawing is about how the 2020 Disney film Mulan contributes to what philosopher Iris Marion-Young defines as one face of structural-systemic oppression, namely, cultural imperialism through its distorted representation of Chinese culture. Disney is essentially committing cultural imperialism as they fabricate ancient China through the white American lens. Our project aims to depict how the magic mirror of American culture reflects a very problematic image of the authentic Chinese culture. The distortion and manipulation of the original poems seem to be in place for theatrical effects, but they are really there to implicitly convey to the audience that this is what China is like, delivering an image of China that seems intentionally incorrect. Chinese culture, just like any other culture in the world, is too broad and diverse to be generalized into this falsified image. It is also unjust and oppressive for Western media platforms like Disney to repetitively depict China in its ancient form. Modern China differs much from its ancient counterpart. Yet by repetitively choosing stories from ancient China and replacing the progressive elements with backward thoughts, Disney is forcing the world to see China in an obsolete manner. It is coercing the world to believe in a China which does not exist (and never existed).


  • Chujie Qui

    Originally from Shenzhen, China, Chujie is a Creative Writing and Philosophy double major, a member of the class of 2024.

  • Ran Ji

    Ran is originally from Hangzhou, China. She is a PPL and ECON double major, graduating as a member of the class of 2024.

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