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Mike Pence Used Disney’s ‘Mulan’ to Argue that Women Shouldn’t Serve in the Military

July 18, 2016, 5:27 PM UTC

Before Indiana Governor Mike Pence was Donald Trump’s running mate, he was a talk radio show host—with strong opinions about Disney films.

In 1999, Pence ran an op-ed on the website for The Mike Pence Show, arguing that Mulan, the Disney movie based on a story about young woman who took her father’s place in the army in Han Dynasty-era China, is liberal propaganda aimed at changing “the next generation’s attitude about women in combat,” according to Buzzfeed.

“Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts,” wrote Pence.

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And it’s not just Mulan’s “delicacy” that bothers Pence. “It is instructive that even in the Disney film, young Ms. Mulan falls in love with her superior officer! Me thinks the politically correct Disney types completely missed the irony of this part of the story,” he wrote.

You see, now stay with me on this, many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.

Leaving aside his focus on the realism of this animated film—which also features a variety of talking animals—Pence’s argument is two-fold: Women are too fragile to fight and soldiers are incapable of behaving like the professionals they are.


These theories haven’t aged well. Women have been steadily progressing toward military equality in recent years, and in December of 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all combat roles in the U.S. armed forces are now open to women.

It’s unclear whether Pence still holds the views expressed in his op-ed; the Governor’s office had not responded to Fortune’s request for comment at the time of publication. However, Pence has already come under fire for his position on other women’s issues. In March, he signed a controversial bill that would ban abortion even in cases of fetal abnormality, and he has long been a proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood. Given his history on these issues, it’s difficult to imagine that Pence will be much help to Trump when it comes to making up ground with female voters.

Read the full text of Pence’s op-ed in Buzzfeed.