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Mulan! Other women warriors in drag:
Sarah Edmonds
   Union Army spy
Deborah Sampson
   American revolutionary war hero
Mary Read:
   16th C. pirate
Nadezhda Durova: 19th C. Russian soldier
Joan of Arc:
   Leader of French army in 100 years war, 15th C.
 Woman Warrior in Drag of the week

Hua Mulan

Hua Mulan, a figure of Chinese legend best known for the Disney feature film of the same name, disguised herself as a man in order to fulfill the conscription of her father. Various sources have attributed to Mulan various surnames: the Annals of the Ming call her Zhu; the Annals of the Qing, Wei; Xu Wei, author of the play Mulan Joins the Army for Her Father, calls her Hua.

The epic poem on which the film is based complicates Mulan's family with an older sister and much younger brother. The presence of an older sister emphasizes the courage of Mulan's taking her old and infirm father's place; not just any daughter would do the same thing.

Also unlike the film, Mulan fought with her brawn, not her brains, and participated fully in the many bloody campaigns her troop fought in the twelve years they were banded. Her fellow soldiers never learned of her identity while she was in service; only later, when visiting her at home after the battles, did they see she was a woman.

The entire poem may be viewed at China the Beautiful.

 


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