Is Mulan a Disney princess?

The information behind the debate


The Disney Princess lineup at Merida’s coronation, including disputed character Mulan. Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons.

Kailee Dishmon, Author

As the new year springs into action, controversy also arises, one of which being whether or not Mulan is considered a Disney princess. According to Disney, Mulan is apart of the princess franchise, although never being born into royal blood. Multiple Disney fans hesitate to consider Mulan as a princess, however, because the definition of a princess is, “the daughter of a monarch.” Due to this recent outbreak, many have participated in Twitter arguments, debates on Reddit, etc. As an attempt to bring this controversial topic to its end, Ashley Donohoe, a junior attending Battlefield, shed light on the issue through a heated Twitter debate with senior bobcat, Kirt Boyd.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Disney realized the market potential for the staple characters portrayed in their wildly successful animated movies. Since none of these movies were franchisable on their own, Disney needed to create a platform to produce authentic Disney merchandise rather than allowing unaffiliated companies to profit off of the characters. Therefore, they inducted the characters Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tinkerbell (although shortly after she was removed because she is not a human),” states Donohoe, strongly debating the fact the Mulan is a princess. Donohoe elaborates further, writing a detailed list as to what makes other various princesses part of the Disney franchise. According to Her Campus, in order for a princess to fully be considered in the Disney franchise, they must have a primary role in an animated movie (not including a movie sequel), be or become a human, be royal, marry royal, perform an act of heroism, or be a box office hit. Mulan performed an act of heroism, as well as became a box office hit fairly quickly, making an astonishing $304.3 million. These points lead Disney fans to believe that Mulan is, in fact, a princess. However, other avid supporters think otherwise.

Kirt Boyd, a senior attending Battlefield, disagrees with Donohoe’s point, stating, “In order to be a princess, you have to either have royal blood or be married into royalty. Mulan did neither. Her father was an honorable warrior, but not royalty. Her husband was a captain, then promoted General. Not royalty. They are close with the Emperor, that’s true, but they are not part of his family. Therefore, they are not royalty.” Salysse xRichardson, a junior attending Battlefield, agrees, stating, “I don’t think Mulan is a princess, because she never obtains a role to fulfill that definition. She solely worked within the government.” Boyd further explains that he does believe Mulan is considered to be honorable and is important, however still does not believe she is a princess. He closes out his argument, debating, “I think it is acceptable to recognize Mulan as not a princess, but simply an awesome warrior because you do not have to be a princess to be looked up to, to be honorable, to be important. I am in no way taking away the value or the accomplishments of Mulan, in fact, I would argue that I am elevating her status. She does not need to be a princess to be a role model or to see eye to eye with the other Disney Princesses. Her actions and her character earned her the right to be in the company of other honorable princesses, but she is not herself a real princess.” Boyd finalizes his debate with factual evidence, and takes the side of Mulan not being considered a Disney princess, unlike Donohoe.

As this controversy develops further, many will come to notice it is mainly an opinionated debate. However, Disney did state Mulan was a part of the Disney Princess franchise, which still leaves the question a mystery to dedicated Disney fans around the globe.