An Update on the Mulan Redesign

by Viv Obarski

I’ll be honest — when I wrote the Mulan piece, I didn’t expect to see change happen. I’ve been around long enough to see large corporations give a nice pat statement and never address the concerns of consumers.

So when I saw a post on feminist Disney about the changes in Mulan’s redesign, I was pleasantly surprised. Thrilled even that the voices of consumers can guide a behemoth at times. Say hello to the revised Mulan:

I’m thrilled that they addressed the biggest issues that many people had with the initial Mulan redesign — that she didn’t look Asian at all. This skin tone is closer to the movie, her face is rounder and her eyes even have the brown tint as opposed to blue. And her outfit is also gorgeous and appropriate for Mulan — it’s reminiscent of the dress she wears towards the end, but it’s also got a bit of glamor to it. It feels like something she’d pick out, as opposed to something she was forced into.

So four for you Disney. Thank you for listening to us.

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Comments (9)

Still, FAIL. Find me just one regular Chinese woman (not an enhanced model) whose lips are even close to that thick. (Mine are almost that thick, but that’s because I’m non-Asian.) She looks like a porn star.

I am Chinese. I have thick lips. It runs in my mom’s side of the family. Who immigrated over to America from Taiwan in the 1960s. My grandmother had thick lips up until her death. A family friend of ours who is Chinese has thick lips. So yes, Asian women with naturally thick lips exist.

I’ve been thinking about your comment and why it bothered me so much and I decided to respond because I am tired of having to legitimize my experience as a Chinese American woman to everyone. I am tired of having people make assumptions on my ethnicity based on how I look. I am Chinese. My parents immigrated from China and I still get this because of my height, heavy build, big breasts, and thick lips.

Also, the Mulan revision, while not perfect, is better than before. The skin tones, eye color and facial structure changes, while not realistic, bring her closer to what the original vision was. My point is that Disney listened to criticisms and made revisions. I don’t think many people expected that and it was a pleasant surprise.

Well, you probably don’t know, Mom,but alot of distinct facial features are not exclusive to any one ethnicity. For example,a few full blooded latino or white guy might have slanted eyes somewhere in this world. Full lips aren’t as rare as you think it is among chinese people. It’s something you probably don’t notice because you haven’t drawn people over the years.

My best friend is Chinese. She has very thick (or plump, as I prefer) lips, much plumper than mine. She also has a heavy build. (We discussed her broad shoulders when she was getting fitted for her bridesmaids dress for my wedding.)

Mulan has always been one of my favorite Disney princesses. I remember re-enacting the movie with my friends after we saw it. I remember tucking my socks between my toes so I could pretend they were tabi socks. I feel like her face here is still much more oval than it was in the movie.

[…] 2/7/13: Check out Viv’s other post on the Mulan redesign! […]

Just stick to the movie’s design, so much better.

I thought the only problem with the original redesign was the make up. The gold and red color scheme was not out of place, it makes Mulan look like a real Chinese Royal which would help her get more recognition than the ugly green and pink dresses. I was disappointed that Mulan never wore red in the film at all, red is the Chinese color of luck and with what she went through she had to have a lot of it. I also think that a lot of the redesigns are just the characters we love trying a new look. Mulan’s look isn’t as bad as Cinderella’s, who not only has blue when it should be silver but the bangs are kind of ugly. Then Aurora who is lucky enough to have two dresses should be in blue not pink (Disney characters shouldn’t wear that color ever as it is over done).

However, a red dress isn’t very realistic if you’re looking for representation of Chinese culture. Red is never worn unless you’re:
A) getting married or
B) major royalty/really really mega rich and important (and only for special occassions).
The gold dress wasn’t very realistic either. Only the emperor/empress was allowed that kind of vibrant gold. I loved the green dress, and the pink dress. Green was the perfect colour to show her as an ordinary girl, as it was a very commonly worn colour in ancient China.
Of course, I’m no expert. This is just stuff that I’ve picked up.

[…] preschool segregation, we should be encouraging diversity in our ever-diversifying world. There is a mild success story from the 2012 Disney Princess changes. The recent edit gave Mulan blue eyes and ghostly pale skin, […]

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