Saving Face

In the 1998 Mulan animation, Mulan undergoes a comedic physical transformation in preparation to meet the matchmaker. As she attempts to fit into the line of picturesque, proper young women, the movie soundtrack repeats an important plea:

Please bring honor to us
(Please bring honor to us)
Please bring honor to us
(Please bring honor to us)
Please bring honor to us all

“Honor to Us All” highlights the significance of dignity in Chinese culture. But while “honor” conjures images of strict, Confucian families of ancient China, the contemporary narrative is all about mianzi.

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