June 30, 2017

Pirates, change and the redhead.

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that I’m a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Annual Disneyland trips were a big part of my childhood and there were a select few rides that were always my favorite.

Pirates being one of them.

I had an intense pirates phase as a kid. I’ll be honest, it’s something I never actually grew out of.

So when the news broke that Disney is going to change the Pirates of the Caribbean again, I figured I would write a post instead of writing my thoughts on everyone’s FB feeds.

This isn’t the first major change to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The first was changing the scene where the men chase the women so that the women were carrying plates of food or jewels – changing the vice from lust to greed or gluttony. A lot of people decried it as being too PC, and then people forgot about it.

After the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they added Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the ride. Nobody really complained at that.

So the change. One of the iconic scenes of the ride has long been the Buy a Bride scene – where the auctioneer asks a giggling woman to shift and show off her figure. While all the pirates beg the auctioneer to put the flirtacious redhead on the auction block.

This is the scene that will be changed. No longer will it be a buy a bride, but a regular auction – and the redhead will be one of the people working the auction. She even gets a gun, apparently.

I have no issue with them changing the auction. As much as people claim it’s making it more PC, we’re talking about a scene depicting human trafficking at Disneyland. It isn’t removing the fact that pirates are still raiding a city, get drunk and burn it down.

But the interesting thing is that it does change a bit of Disney lore that I love. Most are familiar with the Marc Davis’s painting of a redheaded woman in the cave portion. I’ve long been obsessed with it, and found out that it’s actually depicting the future life of the redhead from the auction scene. That she found her happiness somewhere out there, badass and beautiful.

And I always loved it. Not just because badass pirate women are one of my favorite things – but because she rose above and rebuilt her life to her making. Women who survive seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life.

My only complaint is that the change to the scene loses the before and after element, watering down the impact of the painting when you learn that it’s the same redhead. Instead of a before and after, it’s a nude painting of her. (I almost wrote “just” a nude painting, when it could never be JUST anything)

I have zero issues losing a scene depicting women being sold into slavery. We shouldn’t be so concerned about preserving ‘historical accuracy’ when there are still scenes of pirates torturing a guy for information and burning the city down. That’s plenty accurate enough, without perpetuating a culture that sees women as things not people.

Instead of whining and complaining, let’s just raise our glass to the badass women of the sea, and be glad that the ride will be getting more of that. And also toast to the fact that she’ll likely get a better animatronic figure while they’re at it.

Drink up, me hearties yo ho!