Earlier this summer, my family and I took a trip to Walt Disney World. During our time there, we went on countless rides…including Pirates of the Caribbean. I remember sitting on the boat as we passed by the infamous auction scene. Honestly? I’d never thought much about it before. It was just part of the ride. Nothing more and nothing less. But maybe I’ve changed since my last visit.
I remember sitting there in the dark, thinking, this isn’t okay. In front of me, animatronic women were being sold off to pirates, with the largest woman being sold “by the pound.” Images of fear, possession, and rape culture crept through my mind, tainting a beloved park ride forever.
Not long after I returned home, it was announced that Pirates of the Caribbean would be undergoing a makeover. The auction scene would be altered – and a female pirate would be introduced. How wonderful! I was over the moon until I read the comment section on the article. There were vile, disgusting, and downright terrifying messages. Ones that confirmed my fears that not only is sexism alive and well…. but it has been paired with aggression and violence.
Reading those comments reminded me why I don’t walk home alone at night, why I always pay attention when I am out and about, and why there is a metal pipe hidden behind my bedroom door. Here’s the thing: those commenters are not up in arms about a ride change. The real issue is that deep down (or not so deep down), those people view women as possessions. Things to be owned. And the changes being made to the ride symbolize that these viewpoints are no longer socially acceptable. That scares the shit out of them. Keeping the ride as-is is nothing more than an excuse to further inequality.
(And for the ones who try to hide their sexism by claiming the line “we wants the redhead” should be kept for ride integrity…where were your outcries when Pirates was re-themed to include Jack Sparrow?)
If this is the reality of the world around us, what are we supposed to do? Sit back quietly and wait for the sexist idiots to die out? No! First of all, remember that you are not powerless. You have a voice and there are things you can do to make a positive change in this world. Here are a few ideas....
- Do not feed the trolls. Internet trolls, that is. Arguing with them is pointless. It will not make you feel better, it will not change their minds, and it will not add any sort of positivity into this world. Report or block whenever possible.
- Have educated discussions with people in your life. Talk to friends and family members about your viewpoints - and be open to intelligent debates and discussions.
- Volunteer, donate, or re-Tweet organizations like Planned Parenthood, women's shelters, and charities for women.
- Be kind to others whenever possible. Because clearly this world needs some love!
- Use crystals for positive energy. This can be helpful for both yourself and others. The more love we spread, the better.
What do you think about the changes being made to the ride?