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When You Find Your True Self – Reflections on Disney’s Mulan​

Jessica N.

When I first watched Disney’s animated film Mulan in 1998, I was so obsessed, I watched it more than 10 times! We all know the theme song performed by Christina Aguilera from the original soundtrack. If you listen to the lyrics of “Reflection”, the whole point of this movie is revealed in just a few touching lyrics:

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be I’m not meant to play this part
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my family’s heart
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight, back at me
Why is my reflection someone I don’t know
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I’ve tried
When will my reflection show who I am inside?

At the start of the film, Imperial China is in the midst of a war with the Northern Hun tribe and a military draft is ordered for each Chinese household to send one male as a soldier to the battlefield. Mulan, who is an only child, is not eligible to fight in the war as a female. She is expected to watch her feeble father enlist while she is forced to be a “good daughter” by getting married by a matchmaker.

When Mulan sings this heartfelt song, she is staring at a reflection of herself in the water. She sings about wanting to throw away her fake self and finding her true self, and this is exactly what we see her do in the later parts of the film. She courageously and selflessly decides to dress up as a man and enlist on the battlefield to protect her father.

Mulan did not see herself as society saw her. Although she was born with a physically weaker body than her male counterparts, she shows her True self as a brave warrior fighting to protect her family and her country. Mulan eventually becomes the heroine who saves the entire country using her creativity and bravery, a feat that even the strongest men could not successfully pull off.

Mulan could not have become a heroine if she thought that men should be on the battlefield and women should stay in the house. So… are you living as your True self like Mulan or as a fake self-made out of what society or your family demands? If you are not living as your true self, then shouldn’t you find your true self right now?

Come find your True self, become real, and live your True life!