Analysis of Sociological Concepts in The Movie Mulan

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 960 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 960|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Sociological Themes in "Mulan"
  3. Conclusion
  4. Works Cited


In ancient China, the tale of a young woman named Mulan unfolds. Her family, seeking a suitable match, consults a matchmaker who, upon observing Mulan, deems her too thin and unsuitable for marriage. The matchmaker insists that men desire compliant and petite women, casting Mulan as a disgrace for defying traditional feminine norms of poise and grace. Feeling lost and struggling to find her true self, Mulan embarks on a remarkable journey. Disguised as a man, she takes her father's place in the army. Initially, she grapples to fit in and train alongside her fellow soldiers. During a battle with the Huns, Mulan's clever tactics cause an avalanche, thwarting the enemy's advance. However, she sustains a wound, and her true gender is exposed. She is subsequently expelled from the army and sent home. On her way, she discovers that the Huns have survived the avalanche and are heading towards the imperial city. Though initially ignored, Mulan persists in her efforts to warn the city, ultimately saving the emperor. Her bravery leads to her being forgiven for her deception, and she returns home a hero, finding love with the captain.

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Sociological Themes in "Mulan"

"Mulan," a Disney animated film set in ancient China, explores the journey of a young woman who disguises herself as a boy to take her father's place in the army. The story revolves around her struggle to unearth her true identity and her place in society. The film also delves into sociological concepts such as gender roles, culture, and conflict theory.

Gender roles, a pervasive sociological concept, feature prominently in the film. Gender roles encompass society's perceptions of how men and women should behave, think, and act.

The film effectively portrays gender socialization, a form of social control. In one poignant scene, when Mulan visits the matchmaker, she is immediately criticized for her appearance and presented with a checklist of qualities required to be a suitable bride. In ancient times, women were primarily expected to bear children, adhere to domestic duties, and serve their husbands. The film underscores that women were reduced to brides and were often evaluated based on their physical appearance rather than their inner qualities. This portrayal can lead young viewers to the erroneous belief that outward beauty holds greater significance than inner beauty.

The film suggests the dominance of men in society and their role as providers for the family. When Mulan pleads with the general not to allow her father to fight in the war, the general admonishes her, saying, "Teach your daughter to hold her tongue in a man's presence." This implies that women were not permitted to speak in front of men. This portrayal reinforces gender inequality and the societal inferiority assigned to women. The film conveys this message explicitly by illustrating the general's decision to permit only men to participate in the war. In contrast, women were perceived as the weaker sex, exemplified by Mulan's thwarted attempt to join the army due to her gender. This sexism underscores the cultural factors that led Mulan to disguise herself as a man.

The film also delves into the concept of culture, as the setting in ancient China incorporates various aspects of Chinese culture. The two primary types of culture explored are non-material and material culture. Non-material culture encompasses intangible elements rooted in intellectual or spiritual development, reflecting the beliefs within a society. Material culture encompasses tangible objects and practices that hold cultural significance. In "Mulan," material culture is represented through traditional Chinese clothing, such as kimonos and wooden slippers, as well as customary practices like eating with bowls and chopsticks. An example of non-material culture is evident when Mulan's father offers prayers to the ancestors for good luck and protection.

Furthermore, the film illustrates the sociological concept of conflict theory, which addresses the unequal distribution of power in society. Conflict theory posits that religion and other societal structures create hierarchies that support the status quo, often labeling individuals based on their appearance and societal status. Initially, Mulan's pleas go unheard because she is perceived as a weak woman. This is exemplified when she attempts to warn the people about the impending Hun invasion, but no one, including the general, pays heed to her warnings. This societal label, where women were considered inferior, is reinforced when Mulan's dragon companion, Mushu, reminds her, "Remember you are a woman again." However, Mulan's actions eventually change the perspective of those around her. Her decision to take matters into her own hands and save China earns her respect, exemplifying how a change in perspective can alter societal dynamics. This transformation is evident when the Emperor bows to Mulan in acknowledgment at the film's conclusion.

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In conclusion, "Mulan" underscores the theme of feminine empowerment, as Mulan ultimately gains respect despite societal labels that depict her as weak and inferior. The film also explores the profound impact of culture on individuals and their perspectives. Throughout her journey, Mulan undergoes personal growth and self-discovery to earn a respected position in society, exemplifying the importance of understanding and reevaluating one's identity over time. Consequently, those who disrupt this natural process with ethnocentric views not only harm individuals but also impede societal progress for future generations.

Works Cited

  1. Walt Disney Pictures. (1998). Mulan [Film]. Buena Vista Pictures.
  2. Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2008). Sociology: The Essentials. Cengage Learning.
  3. Ferber, A. L., & Holcomb, P. J. (2004). Foundations for a Feminist Restructuring of the Sociology of Gender. In A. L. Ferber & P. J. Holcomb (Eds.), Foundations for a Feminist Restructuring of the Sociology of Gender (pp. 1-18). SAGE Publications.
  4. Henslin, J. M. (2014). Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach (12th ed.). Pearson.
  5. Kendall, D. (2017). Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. Cengage Learning.
  6. Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2017). Classical Sociological Theory (7th ed.). SAGE Publications.
  7. Tischler, H. L. (2018). Introduction to Sociology (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.
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Analysis Of Sociological Concepts In The Movie Mulan. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Analysis Of Sociological Concepts In The Movie Mulan.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
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