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Disney Parks Are Changing a “Pirates of the Caribbean” Wench Into a Woman Pirate & Shocker, People Are Pissed

Starting next year, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride will no longer include the iconic Auction scene as we know it, in which animatronic “wenches” are sold as potential brides. The pirates in the scene chant “we want the redhead,” but that redhead will now be reimagined as a pirate herself. In a statement to the OC Register, Senior VP of Imagineering Kathy Mangum said, “We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene, consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction.”

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I took regular vacations to Disneyland growing up and absolutely loved the Pirates ride. Yet I do remember, even as a child, finding something off about this scene. I never tried to articulate it, and didn’t yet know terms like sex trafficking, but I did know that these women for sale weren’t in keeping with that “humorous, adventurous spirit” that permeates the rest of the ride. But then our little boat would continue on and I was excited to see the dog holding the jail cell keys in its mouth and never thought much of it.

Now, though, Disney is changing the scene, but keeping the beloved red-haired woman, turning her into a pirate herself. Check out this awesome concept art:

(Via Disney Parks)

I cannot wait to see this implemented in the parks! The scene will be placed in both Disneyland and Disney World.

And yet, as we well know, there will always be people who see includion of marginalized groups as the PC destruction of the entire world. I have to believe that the people who choose to comment on the Disney Parks blog are not an accurate representation of society, but it’s still disheartening to see so many complaints. The majority of commenters think Walt Disney’s vision should be preserved as-is. Which is a fine opinion for Disney purists to hold (despite the fact that Pirates has gone through a number of updates over the years, including the addition of multiple film characters), but in order to justify it, they have to deny that anyone might have a valid objection to the scene.

Perplexingly, the main defense used by these commenters is that this change will be “rewriting history.” That these pirates and wenches “are all just amazing portrayals of a different time!” and that a female “sea-faring Annie Oakley-wannabe” is just us imposing our modern PC culture on history. Maybe if these people had grown up unconsciously absorbing the presence of animatronic women pirates, they wouldn’t be so surprised to learn that there were a ton of them in real life. Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Ching Shih, Cheng I Sao, Grace O’Malley … I could keep going because again, THERE WERE SO MANY.

What a cool evolution for the redheaded woman. It’s a testiment to Disney’s respect for their legacy and their guests that they’re updating her rather than tossing her out. Some people will complain about anything, though. Even changes to a history they know nothing about.

(via Jezebel, image: William Zain/Flickr)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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