There’s those moments that, when you’re watching a movie, words are spoken that just stick with you. For me, there’s this feeling of, “I’ve got to write this down, I’ve got to record this!” Mulan, which I watched about a million times on the old VHS with my sister, is a film that holds several quotes dear to me, but this one probably takes the cake.
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
I love the portrayal of Mulan and Fa Zhou’s relationship. Fa Zhou feels real. He certainly loves his daughter, but he must also face the realities of societal expectations not only for himself but for Mulan. I mean, “a girl can bring her family great honor in one way”? Fa Zhou has his work cut out for him, a daughter like Mulan in a world like that. His interactions feel more authentic and not as upsetting as other Disney fathers–and hey, he’s not dead, so that’s a big deal, too!
Mulan actually has more than one strong male figure, which is a big deal considering the time period. What could’ve very easily been a barrage of dudes we’d love to kick where the sun don’t shine (ahem, Chi-Fu, we’re looking at you) Mulan instead displays some flawed and yet virtuous men. Just think of the Emperor, the one who we can thank for the inspiration for today’s t-shirt.
By the way, can we all agree that the Emperor was probably a ladies man back in his day? Because, dang son, he’s got a way with words. Also, the very fact that he has to give Li Shang the balls to make a move is just about the greatest thing ever. I appreciate his unmoving honor as well as his humility to recognize Mulan’s worth exactly as she is. I can only wonder how either of these male figures will be portrayed in the upcoming live-action film–hopefully with the same lovableness as their cartoon counterparts.
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
For the t-shirt design I decided to combine my love of both these father figures, using the hair comb given to Mulan from Fa Zhou in combination with the Emperor’s wise words. The Flower That Blooms in Adversity comes in women’s fitted and adult unisex sizing on a white 100% cotton t-shirt.
Quite appropriately, considering that we wore out the Mulan VHS together, my sister geeked out when she saw this shirt, haha. Hopefully you or someone you love will like it just as much!