While the great wave of anger has mostly passed, I still thought I would share my thoughts on The Great Pirates of the Caribbean Debacle of 2017.
For those unaware, the Disney Parks Blog recently revealed that Disneyland Paris’ version of the ride would reopen with some changes, including the auction scene changing from women to items stolen by the pirates. They then snuck in that during the CA and FL rides’ refurbishments next year, they would also be receiving the switch. And then all the white men went NOOOOOOO and then a giant wave hit the eastern seaboard and acid rain fell across the country and then the apocalypse was confirmed and we all died.
There seems to be a thing amongst the Disney fandom where people are thrilled for changes, unless it’s a ride they like, then don’t you lay a damn finger on it or so help me god. I have to fess up as I have done it in the past. Tower to Guardians in CA had me angry, but then the ride was presented to us and I was totally fine with it. (Sans the outside of that building. Woof.) We’re all going to be bitter about different things, but this time around, things became vile.
This announcement had people up in arms more than usual as if someone was going to pull a Sophie’s Choice on their children. It was insane. There were people claiming the legacy would be lost with the change, there were people saying the mechanics of the ride story would change enough to hurt the attraction, there were people claiming “too PC,” etc.
The scene, for those of you who are somehow unfamiliar (No judgement, honestly impressed you’re reading this anyway. Welcome!), the scene features a banner reading “Auction: Take a Wench for a Bride,” along with a pirate barker trying to sell a group of tied-together crying women to a bunch of drunken pirates. The crowd watching the auction at one point yells “We Wants the Redhead!” who is a sexy woman in red satin standing next in line and showing a little ankle (OOOO GIRL, GET IT!).
The new scene will have the redhead become a pirate and join in the selling of the stolen goods to the crowd watching across the water.
For some reason, this is the thing that has people going crazy and I don’t understand why. Sarah Sterling made a great point about it on Twitter, stating that we, as Disney fans, are used to it at this point. However, if you were to ride fresh right now, you’d probably think “Um…isn’t this just a rape auction?”
Writer Kate Abbott also had a fantastic thread on the ordeal:
I know many Disneylanders will hate this but you know what? I freaking LOVE this change to Pirates of the Caribbean. 1/ https://t.co/j14mrbhFzx
— Kate Abbott (@Kate_Abbott_) June 29, 2017
For some reason, a large chunk of fans are fine with this, because “That’s what pirates do!” This is an argument I do not understand. Then, I’d like the Donald Trump audio-animatronic to be groping women as the curtain at The Hall Of Presidents opens, because that’s what he does! I want to walk by the Mexico pavilion at Epcot to see a human sacrifice taking place on the steps because that’s what they did! The argument does not hold up.
I think everyone angry at this needs to look at it from all sides. Can you imagine going on a Disney ride and going past a scene insinuating pirates raping your gender? Imagine it flipped, where they are auctioning off men for pirates to castrate. Would you feel the same way then?
We should be celebrating Disney realizing a problem within a classic attraction and taking the time to change the narrative. The redhead is still front-and-center, just in a new role. We will still have an auction, we will still see pirates doing pirate things. We will still have the beloved attraction just without rape and that should be a win for us all.