Friday, June 30, 2017

WE WANTS THE REDHEAD... Turned Into A Pirate?

Warning: this won't interest you AT ALL unless you're a Dizgeek, peeps. More specifically, a Disney theme park geek.

If you are of the House of Mouse, then you already know about the big change coming to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride Disney announced yesterday.

Well, I SAY "big change," but it's really just to one iconic scene: the one with the redhead.

Go read about it here on Inside the Magic if you need to catch up, but in a nutshell, next year they'll be changing the infamous "Bride Auction" scene in both Disneyland and WDW...


...into a more generic "Loot Auction," with the iconic Redhead turned into a pirate herself:


"We wants the redhead!" is arguably the most famous line in the entire ride, so I'm guessing (but just guessing) Disney will keep that audio in - only now in the context that she *isn't* for sale, and that's why the bidders want her.

The original PotC ride over in Disneyland has had this painting in it since the beginning, so I could totally see a fun back story coming together to explain the new lady pirate:


However, this is change. At Disney. Not only that, it's change to one of their most beloved and iconic rides ever.

So people. Are losing. THEIR MINDS.

I'll be honest, my first reaction was dismay, too. Nobody likes having their favorite childhood things messed with. Then I read the articles, looked at the ride pictures with fresh eyes, and (oh yes) I read the comments.

And WOWIE.

The arguments against this change are already so vitriolic, so "THE END IS NIGH," that I have to say something positive. HAVE TO. So let's break down the most common arguments I'm seeing, and I'll tell you why I don't think it's all quite so bad, k?

Argument #1: "Stop re-writing history!"

Ok, but PotC isn't a history lesson. This isn't Epcot, it isn't trying to be educational; it's a silly pirates-themed ride to make you smile, not an exposé on the horrors of real-life piracy.

What's more, do we really think pirates bothered with "brides?" Let's face it, that's sugar-coating what they really did to women, so how is it historically accurate now?


Argument #2: "Our children will be pansies! STOP BEING A BUNCH OF PC SNOWFLAKES."

Again, theme park ride. I understand that uncomfortable things can provide "teachable moments," but is that really a conversation you want to have with your kids at Disney?


Argument #3: "But there are also guns! And torture! Why not take THOSE out?"

That's a fair point - especially the well scene - but here's what I've got: Everything in PotC is portrayed as upbeat and cartoonish - no one is screaming in agony or bleeding out on the street. HOWEVER, at the "Bride Auction" the women are sobbing into their handkerchiefs. Doesn't that tone strike you as off? A little too real?


The red head is NOT crying, presumably because she knows she's the best looking and will fetch the most money? Honestly, that part's never made much sense to me.


Argument #4: "But it's a classic!"

So were a lot of things in the 60s. Times change.

Argument #5: "This is how Walt wanted it!"

Maybe back then, sure, but what Disney wanted more than anything was progress. He famously said the park would never be finished, but would continue to grow. Today that growth means promoting stronger female role models for kids.

In fact, that's going to be my final counterpoint to all the rending-of-robes and gnashing-of-teeth going on over the coming change: this is good news for girls. Disney's "Pirates League" already gives makeovers to boys *and* girls now, and there are female pirates in the PotC movies, but the ride only shows pirate men. So how cool will it be to have at least one awesome lady pirate in there?


Fellow Dizgeeks, I understand that initial disappointment, I do. It took me a little reading and considering to come around myself. (Shout out to my friend & Epbot reader Traci for being the first to help me see this in a positive light, btw.)

So if you're still upset, maybe try to see that Bride Auction through the fresh eyes of a child - through the eyes of your daughters and sisters and nieces. Or just imagine if Disney unveiled a brand new ride that only showed women as victims and property. Wouldn't you rather have little girls leave a ride excited to dress up and go on swashbuckling, make-believe adventures? Because that's what this is about, after all: feeding kids' imaginations, and having fun.

Just some food for thought, the next time you see your friends (or my friends, for that matter) saying how awful and pandering Disney is for being "too PC" with this change. Maybe it is too PC. Maybe it's even unnecessary. But you know what? At the end of the day we're swapping a "Bride Auction" for a sassy, strong lady pirate - and I'm good with that.


*****

Now let's announce some art winners!

The winner of the Avengers poster is SilverIvy

The winner of Alien vs Predator is Annette (the one who said she wants that print) 

And the Wildcard winner is Emily Robin

But wait, there's more! 

My new winners for LAST month are:

C (of the blog Autistic in Alabama) gets the original Robot

and Lewis B gets the Wildcard!

Congrats, everyone, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!

44 comments:

  1. I'm with ya on this one ^_^ I see it as a change for the better, and while I get people not wanting to change the ride, it really doesn't promote something I'd want my kids to internalize. So bring on the awesome pirate lady, maybe when I finally give up pink hair and go red (my husband cannot see red, but still wants me to have red hair at some point XD) I'll cosplay her!

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  2. Evyl FashionistaJuly 1, 2017 at 12:24 AM

    Actually, there were a number of women pirates. Anne Bonny and Mary Read are the first two that spring to mind. Disney isn't being PC. They're being more historically accurate! :-)

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    1. Very good point,Evyl, yay women pirates! I've never been to either Disney park (never even been to FL or CA... too far away ;) ) but I've seen the PoC ride on "Wonderful World of Disney", but don't recall ever seeing the Bride Auction part. I know the rest is "funny" pirates and not to be taken seriously, but selling crying women to be brides is NOT funny, it's appalling ! This scene should have been changed years ago!

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  3. She strikes me as not upset because she looks like a madam and she is used to "being sold" for what they want her for. That's my take, at least.

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    1. This. I always figured 'bride' was being used tongue-in-cheek, knowing what kind of people pirates were. Even when I was a little girl did anything other than this cross my mind. Why would a pirate need a wife? He's a bachelor and will probably die of his debauchery anyway. ��

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    2. Ditto. Now THERE'S a conversation for Disney.

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  4. Yeah..... that scene always creeped me out. I thought pirates was scarier than the mansion when I was a kid - ( a very long time ago, before the brides started chasing the pirates) . So I'm fine with it. I appreciate your write up. Thanks.

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  5. I always thought Red was in cahoots with the pirates already - like a bait and switch tactic.

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  6. Personally I think the red head in not crying because she is the auctioneer. the rope in not attached to her and her hand is up near her ear like she is listening to the bids. Just my two cents.

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    1. She definitely is tied up. The rope goes around her waist and connects to the next woman in line.

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    2. yes she is tied up, but wouldn't you think that would be so she could be hands free to collect money and yet keep the poor ladies from running away?

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    3. See, now that's interesting. If you look at the darker top picture, she's not tied up, and the male pirate is holding the rope. But if you look at the lower picture taken with the flash, she is tied to the next "wench" in line and the male pirate isn't holding onto the rope at all. Is this a difference in location of the ride, or has the rope been moved?

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    4. First picture, the rope goes from the next woman in line to the pirate to the redhead. Hard to see, but you can tell by the angle it leaves the pirate's hand. She's not wearing a belt - that's the rope around her waist. The second picture, the pirate's not holding on anymore - it goes straight from the next woman to the redhead.

      Not sure if the difference is between parks (there are several iterations of PotC around the world) or if it was a switch made at some point when refurbishing the ride.

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  7. Just think of it as a preview for the reactions to whatever is about to change at Epcot. Between the rumors about Ellen's Energy Adventure, and the impact of the loss of Siemens sponsorship of Spaceship Earth and Illuminations, I assume we're about to witness the most extensive proof of spontaneous human combustion in history. ::: headdesk :::

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  8. Agree with Chris. Always thought red was the auctioneer, that's why they're shouting they want the redhead - she's not for sale. She's also the only one fully dressed. Makes sense to make her a pirate, since she's only been a step removed the whole time.

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    1. The redhead is definitely not the auctioneer, there is a male pirate handling the auction already, out of view of these images. The reason the pirates are calling for the readhead is because she's not up for sale yet, the woman currently being auctioned is too fat (oh imagineers, how droll) for the pirates to want as their "bride" (trafficking victim). And, yes, she is listening to the cat calls, because, as we have all learned, (men think that) ladies love being cat called. It's long past time for this to be changed. What's interesting is that there have already been changes in the ride to fix issues like this. In the earlier iterations, in the looting section of the ride, there were scenes of the pirates chasing after townswomen, those were changed in the late 90s, so the women are rousting the pirates from their homes, but the auction scene was left intact.

      Jen's point is right on. There's no reason that human trafficking needs to be addressed in this ride, you want to do that with your kids, great, it's important, but this doesn't have to be the catalyst.

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  9. I'd like to offer my perspective as a woman, a Mom, and someone who has only been to Disney World once in my life, when I was 8 years old. I don't remember much of the ride, so I don't remember that part at all. I do want to take my boys to Disney World at some point in their childhood (they are too young right now.) I would have gone into that ride with fresh eyes, (since I don't remember and am not a Dizgeek although I love all the Dizgeek posts on here.)

    If I had seen a "Bride Auction" scene with cries of "We want the redhead!" I would have been HORRIFIED. I would have been INCENSED. I would have written angry letters to the highest person in every department at Disney. Women being sold is not just in the past- it is something that goes on TODAY. Sex trafficking is real and is a deep human rights crime. It is not something to be made light of. And your point that the ride at the theme park is not a historical presentation is correct. I would be furious and would not want my boys to internalize the idea that it's funny to see women being sold and to join in on a chant of We want the redhead!

    On a personal note, I am a redhead. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. The scene would have been triggering for me as I do have PTSD. Disney World SHOULD be a safe space for imagination, fun, and delight. Not a place I would ever imagine had something that would cause me severe emotional pain and fear.

    Anyone against this change- which I herald as progressive and compassionate - I'd like to share a statistic with you. One in five women in the USA will be the victim of attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime. There are also statistics about how many girls and boys are the victims of sexual abuse but I don't have that number. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who was assaulted or abused in the past, suddenly seeing a scene depicting women as property to be sold and hearing a boisterous chant, at a freaking THEME PARK. Considering the statistics- this has already happened to millions of women, walking into that scene. That is NOT what Walt Disney would have wanted, if he had been alive today where there is increased awareness of sexual assault and the sex trafficking trade.


    And as for making our children weak somehow? How is it weak to teach a child to have a compassionate heart? Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr weak? Was Gandhi weak? Are sex traffickers role models?

    Thank you, Jen, for standing up for compassion, as you always do. So much love and gratitude. ❤️

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    1. YES. I could have written (and actually clicked through from my RSS reader so I could) almost the same post. As an outsider, I find the "dizgeek" community really interesting, because it makes me wonder about what must be the fairly huge percentage of us who visit the Disney parks on a non-regular, non-season-pass basis and don't have all of this insider knowledge, and are seeing things like this fresh. For every change that makes the diehard fans apoplectic, there's likely something that improves the experience for the average kid who's just coming in having seen some movies, and that's all they've ever known of Disney. My family will be going to Disneyworld next year, for the first time since I was a kid, and for my kids' first time, and I wouldn't have had any awareness of this scene in the ride, but I'm very glad it will be different - like you, I'd have found the original extremely upsetting.

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  10. I actually just went to Disney this year for the first time in a decade. I was kind of shocked that that scene was still there, and not updated to something less "selling women". i think it's a much needed change. They jammed Jack Spartow into the ride, why not make it less problematic too?

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  11. Totally agree - it knocked me for a loop at first, but I think it's a good change. I love the idea of a powerful female pirate, and to take out a scene of human trafficking is not a bad thing. My only woe is that I'll miss the cries of "We want the redhead!" (But not as much as I miss "Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow. Your party from Saturn has arrived. Please give them a ring.")

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  12. If you're upset over the existence of a female pirate you don't know your history. There were some pretty darned awesome female pirates. Also, as someone who spent a lot of time at Disney as a kid, I have never, ever liked this scene. So glad it's changing.

    But yeah, I always figured redhead for a madame / "professional". Not only her attitude, but how differently she's dressed.

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  13. I can't see this one being overly PC. The women are crying because they're about to be raped. They are literally being trafficked. That's not theme park ride material to me. I am glad there's going to be a lady pirate, but I'm also glad they're changing they other women as well. Getting rid to the guns would be too PC, and I'm an east coast blue coast liberal.

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  14. I'm not that much of a theame park dizgeek so, to me, it's all a positive change. In fact, I kinda wish they'd take it further and turn all the sobbing ladies into awesome, swashbuckling pirates! I'd love to see a scene of female pirates taking on and overpowering the men!

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  15. Yeah, as someone growing up going to Disney I can say the pirate ride was always a bit uncomfortable and creepy and although I haven't been in years, Inam surprised they wedged in Jack Sparrow but hadn't updated this?? Yuck. Glad my daughter has not been yet - a change for adding more female pirates is most welcome, especially when done in a funny context, not one trying to make light of sex slavery. Times change and for the better. Thanks Jen!

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  16. As to the "Stop re-writing history!" schtick, there were so, so many famous female pirates. They have always existed, and are heavily documented. That's not rewriting history. That's just....history.

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  17. My gripe is that they are changing her backstory. Yes, that IS her in the painting, showing where she ends up after being bought at the auction. You see any other pirates in the painting with her? No, she kicked them to the curb and is off on her own having a good time. As for giving Disney kudos for adding female pirates... Anne Bonny and Mary Read dressed as men, not like tarted up harlots as she appears in the new concept drawing.

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    1. I have to admit this gave me a giggle: You like the painting, where she's literally topless, but you think the new *concept art* is a "tarted up harlot"?

      In all seriousness, though, if they dressed the female pirates as men, 1) it'd be less obvious they're women, especially when you only have a few seconds to take in the scene, and 2) it sends the message to little girls THEY have to dress as men to have pirate adventures, too.

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    2. Given that the woman in question is probably quite *literally* a tarted-up harlot? That was the impression that I got - she's the town whore, hence her bright red clothing and rather caviler attitude about the whole thing.

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  18. Jen, I've been appalled at forum posts these last few days. I mean, really gross things. I have had people tell me that my own "baggage" is what is leading me to interpret that these women are going to be raped. COME ON. They are tied up at an auction by drunk pirates that just looted and burned their village! What do people think pirates did? Play card games with the women they just bought?

    This whole thing has brought out the worst of diehard Dizgeeks and I am frankly disgusted. The funny thing was is that I didn't have much of a problem with the scene before. But with all of the whining- change it. Give me a female pirate.

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  19. I'm frankly really excited for this change. As a little girl who wanted to be in the awesome sword-swinging adventuring club, I would have loved to see an awesome pirate lady like this. Do I think it's too PC? Hell no. This is a way more positive thing for kids (and adults!) to see, and there's nothing wrong with a little more of this kind of positivity.

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  20. Walt Disney was not a good man so I don't see why it's important to adhere to his wishes.

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  21. I'm with you on this, Jen. Lady pirates FTW.
    I'm actually feeling most grumbly and conflicted about the changes happening to the Blue Lagoon -- does everything have to be Jack Sparrow themed? As someone who's interest in the film franchise faded after the 2nd movie, messing with my favorite restaurant in Disneyland has got my knickers in a twist (I also found the other film-related changes to the ride grumps-inducing).

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  22. I'm sad to say that I've become numbed, over many years of riding this ride, to the idea that what we're witnessing is human trafficking. It only really hit me when I saw T-shirts for sale in the Disney Store with a curvaceous female figure emblazoned with the words "We Wants the Redhead!", and it hit me just how inappropriate the phrase, and the entire context, is. I doubt that the arrival of the shirts very shortly before this announcement are connected, but I like to think they received a fresh rash of complaints about them, at least.

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  23. Historically? Some pirates had Very Strong Opinions with regards to rape:

    "If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death"
    "If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death."

    As for the redhead, there is one bit of context a lot of folks miss: she's probably the town trollop. PROPER ladies wouldn't wear red, after all...

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  24. I'll note that while folks have.mentioned Anne Bonny and Mary Read, they haven't mentioned Ching Shih.
    She was the most successful pirate in history - Blackbeard was noted for being admiral of four ships. She led an *armada* of 300.
    She met her fate when - no, wait, she retired, having secured a noble title for her son.

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  25. Thanks for the break down, Jen. I agree with you 100%.
    My initial reaction yesterday was similar to yours, but upon reflection it really doesn't change the fun, spirit or backstory of the ride. When I think of it through my children's eyes I'm glad they are making the change.
    In a perfect world, I'd include a mix of women pirates - some dressed similar to the men and some with clothes "of the day" modified to suit the pirate lifestyle. My daughter would definitely want to be a fancy pirate princess, but not so for all young ladies.

    Do you remember when they added chickens or pies or something to the pirates chasing women? It was the same uproar.
    I haven't read the article you linked to yet, but from what I remember / have read, PotC has had a lot of changes since its inception.
    I do hope they keep the iconic line though!

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  26. I agree that was always the creepiest part of the ride! I remember the same thing as Ali when the pirates weren't chasing the women as much as the loot anymore. I don't think you're really losing the feeling or heart of Pirates by changing this small part!

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  27. Okay, I know that everybody loves Pirates of the Caribbean and other pirate-y things nowadays, but you know what? Pirates are not now, nor were then, the "good guys" - they were filthy, degenerate thieves who murdered people and stole ships and cargo - not to mention people. I don't see WHY we would want little girls to aspire to be pirates (any more than we would want little boys to aspire to this). It seems like people have taken a bizarre message from this ride - that being a pirate is somehow "cool" rather than a display of moral cowardice and stupidity. If you want to change the ride at all, why not include some *good* people rescuing those taken by pirates? Maybe we could have some women (and men) freeing some of the captives. I don't know - I'm just sick and tired of seeing a decidedly bad and murderous group of people portrayed as "fun" or the "good guys". Wouldn't it be more exciting to see someone fighting against evil, rather than celebrating it?

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  28. OMG!! I WON!!!! ******Kermit Flails!!********
    Please ask John to check his inbox with FOE on Facebook. <3 <3 <3

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  29. Meh. 'Too PC' is just code for 'we want to be racist/sexist/homophobic, etc. and we don't want any argument about it!' When someone says something is 'too PC', the only proper response is 'Good!'

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  30. I always had my own backstory for the redhead. She wanted to get out of there and so was happy to be sold because she had a plan. She would marry one of these lowlifes, take over the ship, and become the best pirate ever! So I guess, to me, this is her triumphant return to this stupid village that treated her like dirt.

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  31. I believe the reason that the redhead isn't sobbing is that she is supposed to be a umm...floozy? For lack of a better term? At least that was the intention i think. I have been told by several cast members that the red headed pirate in the painting is her "after a life of piracy." I personally like the change. It makes her a more powerful character, and hey, if we want to talk history, some of the best/most profitable pirates were women! So, i'm on board.

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  32. I admit that in my most recent trip to disney there were a number of things that even though I love them, also made me cringe. In a oh gosh that's so racist/sexist kind of way. So personally I'm excited about this. There's been plenty of changes and updates to Pirates in particular over the years and I think this will just make Pirates better, more fun, and less cringeworthy.

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