I suppose it helps, too, that Disney made Mulan since I first read the book as a 20-year old. Continuing with the Disneyification of global history, there's comedy to the interpretation of the Fa Mu Lan story. We watched clips in class yesterday, which naturally allowed us to have conversations about what Kingston means about the differences between American-feminine versus Chinese-feminine. The text comparison also allowed us to dialogue about male constructions, as well.
Also interesting to me was how the majority of kids named mothers and grandmothers as woman warriors who best influenced who they are today. Although I've taken courses on feminist theory and read a lot of female writers, it is impossible for me to claim expertise on what women go through in schools and life, but I love that Maxine Hong Kingston's book opens the conversation for my students to think about opportunities for women, oppression, and the need for strong women characters.
The conversation made me think about Katniss Everdeen, today, and now I want to read how she is being viewed in academic circles, especially in relation to equality and equity for young women around the world. In relation to The Doll's House that I experienced over this weekend, I'm impressed at the ways characters for women to admire (or reject) have evolved. We need more. We can always use more.