When I was young, I did not think much about what my role model looked like until Disney’s Mulan came out. I was glued to the movie. I loved that I shared so many similarities with her: tomboyish personality, daring to dream big, daydreaming, sneaky, and long black hair. I was especially moved by the scene when she left her family to join the army in place of her father disguised as a boy. I also felt connected to Mulan because I was also about to leave behind the safe cocoon of my parents home to study abroad alone to build my career. It was the first time I really thought deeply about the importance of sacrifice and courage. The sacrifice and courage that my parents had to take to let me go at such a young age.
I think about this in celebration of Women’s History Month because this experience has taught me three critical lessons that I always want to remember. First, the importance of resemblance. Seeing Mulan made me realize for the first time that I did not know enough Asian female heroes that I could look up to or know enough about. Having a female hero that we can look up to makes a significant impact on what we think we can do and want to do. This is why, it is so essential we take advantage of digital platforms to speak out more about these diverse, fearless females that every generation can learn from.
Second, the importance of value and attitude. I felt connected to Mulan because of her value, attitude, and expression. Her journey taught me what it means to truly be courageous, respectful and daring. It dared me to learn how I can also develop those skills and values. How might I live a more courageous life even if everyone opposes me? How can I make sure I never forget the reason I started on this journey?
And lastly, the importance of finding an answer nearby. The Internet has made it easier to find role models of the past and someone far in distance but I wonder if it has also made us forget to appreciate the heroes that are right in front of us. In my case, this was my parents. What Mulan’s story reminded me is that the fearless female that I can learn from is the very person in my backyard. My mother who taught me the importance of diligence, courage, and persistence towards a vision that can do good for others. I became the fearless female I am today because I had a fearless female in my own backyard.
This month, as I celebrate the amazing females who have taken the courage to step up, I also encourage us to think about the very people in our lives who have been those fearless females. Just like how all the small creativities ignite innovation, the people we surround closely with are the true inspiration that will help us shape our fearless values and views of the world.
- How might we thank our fearless female in our backyard?
- How might I become that fearless female so those in my backyard can also be more fearless?