Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go — Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is a fantastic amusement park ride. After schlepping around Disneyland with the sun beating down on you, feet blistered and sore, senses dulled from the saccharine sweetness of Disney magic, there’s nothing like a 15-minute sit in a bobbing boat, surrounded by cool air and scenes of pirate-y mischief. Fires burn, good men are tortured, and drunkards nap with adorable piggies. Hey, they’re pirates and no one is asking them to be saints. Pirates gonna pirate. But part of this ride is out-of-order: the bride-selling scenes.

The first features a line of captive women — some elderly, some buck-toothed, most clad in white, all weeping — tied together at the waist with a thick rope in a sad line. A banner above them proclaims “AUCTION – Take a Wench for a Bride.”

The weeping women are background decoration, while the true focus of the scene lands on two other women — first a lady in red who stands proudly at the head of the roped line some distance away from her unhappy peers. She’s heavily made up and her pert bosom threatens to spill out of her top. She lifts her skirts with one hand to show off her legs, her other hand tangled in her lovely auburn locks. Her face is peaceful, even serene. Of course, she’s not the one for sale at the moment.

The woman on the auction block is dressed modestly and holds herself high with a sweet smile on her face. She’s also unapologetically fat — well proportioned and lovely, but fat. She looks relaxed and proud, even as the auctioneer asks, “What be I offered for this winsome wench? Stout hearted and corn-fed she be.” A drunken pirate cries, “Are ya selling her by the pound?” He’s ignored while the auctioneer instructs her, “Shift yer cargo, dearie, show ’em your larboard side.” She complies and turns with the same docile smile.

(Fun fact: This “wench” has a name — Tiny.)

In the next scene, the results of the auction are clear. Pirates race after their “brides,” looks of terror forever on the faces of the women. Near the end of the scene, riders see Tiny again as the ultimate punchline — she’s the one in hot pursuit of a pirate. As the boat passes by, riders can hear her giggling.

Though she is pretty, clean and pleasant (the very essence of the “good fatty” trope), it’s clear to everyone involved in this narrative that Tiny is unlovable and unwantable, even by a marauding crowd of drunken rapists. Once she’s purchased, she’s is still unwanted, yet she is so desperate for physical contact, she pursues a man who other “worthy” women run from screaming.

At least, this was the version riders encountered until 1997, when there was a major renovation and someone thought the scene would be better if the women were holding food and racing around forever. Post renovation, Tiny chased after a pirate holding a loaf of bread and a sad-looking turkey leg. The line of thinking must have been, “She’s hungry for sex and food! There, isn’t that better?”

They also removed a part of the scene that featured a woman hiding in a barrel. Her would-be rapist asked riders if they’ve seen a “bewitched maiden in your travels? Oh, she be a lively lassie she were. Oh, I tell you true. It’s alright to hoist me colours on the likes of that shy little wench!”

Throughout his speech, he clutched her stolen undergarments. “Favor, keep a weather eye open, mateys. I be willing to share I be!” In 1997, the woman was removed and the pirate’s focus turned to another feast of plastic food. In 2006, the barrel reopened but was filled with a greasy-looking Johnny Depp.

With the Johnny Depp update, Disney makes another attempt to modify this chasing scene by putting jewels into the hands of the women. Now Tiny chases a pirate who clutches a cheap-looking red-velvet jewelry box with a few strands of pearls pouring out. She still giggles as she runs.

There are Disney fans who bristle at the mere idea of changing a classic ride. “The fat bride is canon!” or “This is just another example of PC culture run amok!” But the ride has changed dramatically with the decades. Johnny Depp leering from a barrel is not canon. A musty-smelling fog screen plastered with Bill Nighy’s octopus face is not canon. And Disney knows these scenes with the brides are troubling. Why else would they continue to tweak them?

Luckily, there’s a solution to this mess. It’s elegant, it’s witty and it doesn’t make the ride into Boy Scouts of the Caribbean. It won’t require the ride to shut down for months or weeks or even a day.

Instead of pretending those pirates are after plastic pies or dull pearls, instead of continuing this narrative that a fat woman is so unlovable that she should welcome being sold into sex-slavery, let’s turn the narrative around completely. Disney ought to Imagineer up the biggest, fiercest close-range weapon and place it lovingly into Tiny’s waiting hands. Might I suggest a swinging flail full of morning stars? Or an elegant scimitar?

Her face will no longer be the face of one so desperate to be touched that she will take it mixed through with violence. Her face will be the face of a woman who knows her worth, delights in her strength and has a plan.

This Ride Is Out of Order: Why Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean Needs Fixing 25 May,2016Natalie Dougall

  • Palo Jon

    Thanks for that keisaku Zen moment. No more enjoying bad things for me. I am throwing out my Phoebe Zeit-Geist collection today!

  • thisisendless

    You know, I was JUST discussing this with my husband last week when we went to Disneyland for a visit. (I am a Disneyphile, have been going often since infanthood.) And I was wondering about the bride for sale scene. Because I know it isn’t really PC and I figure it is a matter of time before it goes away somehow. (Btw, in the chase scene the women are chasing the pirates with rolling pins and frying pans, so there’s your agency.) As I am torn between my knowledge that we should not be making light of sex slavery, and my love for that particular scene in the ride, I came up with a possible historical justification for that scene.

    First of all I would like to say that as a natural redhead, I have always been treated in a biased manner. This is a real thing. Gingers are considered “creepy” and “soul stealers” , “Redheaded step child” etc etc. I have been ignored, overlooked, treated rudely, and bullied as a child. So I find some awesome vindication going by a group of men cat calling “We want the redhead!” over and over. And yes yes, don’t need validation from men to feel self worth. blah blah. I know the drill. I’m a feminist. But I am a feminist who likes to feel like her red hair is awesome. I get a kick out of that scene. It makes me happy.

    So here is my ridiculous and yet historically accurate rationalization of that scene. Judging by her outfit, the redhead is likely a prostitute. This makes her a fallen women. Her life would not improve as she ages. So it actually did happen in that century that prostitutes in outposts of civilization (Islands, colonies, early California.) would find husbands, because of the dearth of any women at all, let alone “respectable” ones. In fact that was pretty much the ONLY way a prostitute would find a husband in that era. And you know what? Not having a husband in that time period could be a serious detriment for a woman and her status. (Although some prostitutes found the life to entail more freedom and agency and preferred it over the semi-slavery of wifedom.) Women usually weren’t allowed to own property, their own money, etc. Also, and although I agree with your assessment of our full figured woman up next on the block, in reality, in that era, finding a husband would have been hard for her too, also given that she and the other women are older. Unless a widow was rich, she too would have a difficult life without a man to support her. So in that sense, perhaps it could possibly be seen that their lives would improve more with husbands, that it would without them. (Of course, this is a double edged sword. What kind of man is she marrying? Women’s lives could be equally destroyed if the man is a drunk or an abuser.)

    Sigh. But I know I’m full of it. And I know that scene is on life support. I just hope they keep the redhead around. 🙂

    • David McClintock

      They have already ruined the ride I loved as a child and it’s only on “life support” because of a shrill, shrieking minority seeking tyranny over the majority.

      A disproportionally large percentage of people are getting sick of this nonsense and it’s only going to take a little more to set if back. Just look at Trump. He was elected in part, because of people like you and the author.

      These people have nothing better to do within their time then tell the rest of us how we should live and it’s coming to an end.

      I’m not sure how much traveling or international business you do, but from a non Western perspective, most people, including women, consider x wave feminism a joke. It’s only here, in the spoiled decadent West, people bow to the wishes of a shrill minority. From a survival perspective everyone has it good and nobody wants to upset the apple cart. So everything is slowly ruined ( marriage, family, children, morals, economy) and the foundations eroded until it falls under its own weight or the majority rises up and says “enough is enough” and becomes more vocal, and assertive forcing the minority shrills back into their own closet of misery (think, sadist in happy 1955, he-she is in hell).

      If the market were free, this author would have to find something useful to do. Nobody would rent, sell, hire, to her because of this crap so she would shut up. This constant complaining, fault finding, P.C nonsense is only a passing product of the times. It will fail.

      • thisisendless

        Oh settle down. I know it pricks your privilege when us ridiculous women-folk have opinions that do not jibe with yours. Fortunately people like you are aging and dying,the the youth coming up actually have this thing called compassion and empathy. There is nothing wrong with a kinder world.

        As for the “rest of the western world,” feminism is NOT a joke. Quite the opposite. Especially in Scandinavian countries, who are consistently ranked as the happiest countries in the world. Their legislatures are 50% women, which accurately reflects the population. Our country is totally backwards compared to Europe when it comes to our regard for women. Our legislature might be what, 20%? And we still have never had a woman president. I know you would love to go back to your comfortable 1950s, where black people knew their place, and women were legally allowed to be raped and beaten by their husbands, but we are never going back. This rise of nazi-like nationalism is white man’s last grasp at power before you fade into equality. I suggest you find comfort in your ridiculous tri-cornered hat with tea bags hanging off of it and scream and bellow about “liberty” and men’s rights until you are blue in the face. Shrill? Look in the mirror.

        • David McClintock

          There will always be people aging and dying. You may recall an unusually large percentage of youth voted for Donald Trump. I said “West” which includes Canada, The United States, and Western Europe. I work with people all over the world and feel confident to assure you this subject of x wave feminism is discussed and is considered laughable by the majority of non-Western cultures. There is a popular saying “Modernization Yes – Westernization No” that has emerged in response to feminism. Check it out.

          You’re also seeing a backlash against the ills of feminism from the younger male generations. Raised by single mothers.

          The “white man” predominantly settled and founded America. But you don’t have to worry about the “white man’s last grasp”. History has proven feminism, is an ill that besets a society in decline. Your responses on racism are emotionally based, as feminism has almost completely ignored radical Muslim immigration into Western Europe accompanied by gang rapes and extreme patrairchy that would have you begging to return to the 1950’s, which was in fact not the negative sterotype feminism makes it out to be.

          This has nothing to do with “kindness” “empathy” or “compassion” and everything to do with constant complaining for the sake of complaining to the point of maliciousness with NO positive alternatives that make everyone happy. In short, there was nothing wrong with this ride, your just looking for things to complain about. And if it’s not this it’s something else. And you will keep nit picking, and complaining ad infinitum.

          People are tired of this pious, self righteous, politically correct nonsense that serves a culturally disgenic purpose and offers nothing in return. It’s simply a matter of tyranny of the minority over the majority. Either you will be put back in your place,. or we become Rome, circa 400 AD and complete the cycle. History has proven feminism wrong over, and over, and over again and if you’d ever read history in your life, or studied empires. you’d know this.

          You can look online at the old, original rides and see the children’s faces lighting up and how much they enjoy this ride. Everyone, almost everyone. enjoyed this ride, and it was only a small shrieking politically correct feminist minority using “social shaming” to whittle it away.

          As far as Sweden, they are feminist and politically correct I think you need to look at the big picture and the horrific changes this has caused in Sweden over the last 30+ years, emotions aside, you are just plain wrong.

          • Whamadoodle

            Jeez–um… removing photos of rape equals “sucking the fun out of everything”? You’re NUTS. Bulls— about this ridiculous “feminism caused the fall of empire” nonsense, either. “It’s true because I say it’s true, and I say it’s true because I want it to be true.”

            Thisisendless is right: you accusing OTHER people of being “shrill” is pretty rich. You’re by far the shrillest person here. also the most “self righteous” and for sure the most “complaining.” Have you stopped complaining since you got here? “Whaaa! Mommy! Feminism took away my rape photos! Waaaaa!” STFU and knock off your own complaining, hypocrite.

            And you lie, not only about feminism somehow causing the fall of Rome (! LOL), but also when you claim: “You may recall an unusually large percentage of youth voted for Donald Trump.”

            Um… actually, I recall 37% of youth 18-29 voting for Donald Trump. Precisely the same percentage who voted for Mitt Romney. I’m not sure what your weird-ass issues are about feminism, disgruntled postal worker guy, but you lie. Look in a mirror, and get some therapy, OK?

          • David McClintock

            There are no “photos of rape”. It’s a ride at Disneyland.

            I am not nuts for discussing the decline of America and it clear and obvious correlation to feminism. It does matter women never held political office in ancient Rome from start to finish feminism WAS an aspect of Rome that emerged preceding it’s fall. Go talk to a Historian. I don’t have time to school you.

            Christianity is not feminist (Even though it has has elements of pacification in it). Not debating that. No idea why you brought it up. Strawman. Typical.

            There are no “rape photos”. WTF? Why do you keep saying that?

            Wrong. An unusually large percentage of youth voted REPUBLICAN and Trump was running on the Republic ticket (in name only). Obama has nothing to do with it.

            I’m not the one who needs therapy. I don’t go around constantly finding fault were none exists just to find things to complain about because I’m “feminist”. And it just goes on, and on, and on. If you identify as a “feminist” then you’re the one who needs therapy. Not me. And please, don’t go to Disneyland anymore if you have a problem with anything there. Just STFU … take your government enforced child payment extortion money, you got from legally being allowed to dynamite/split up the family you started, ….and GO AWAY. Miserable loser.

          • Whamadoodle

            “I don’t go around constantly finding fault were none exists just to find things to complain about”

            LOL–you’re complaining right now. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here, whiner.

            From The Atlantic’s article, “Clinton won Millenial Vote But More Supported Third Party,” November 11, 2016:
            “Fifty-five percent of young voters backed Clinton, down from the 60 percent that backed Obama in 2012, while 37 percent chose President-Elect Donald Trump,” which is exactly the same 37% who chose Mitt Romney in 2012. You lie.

            “Christianity is not feminist (Even though it has has elements of
            pacification in it). Not debating that. No idea why you brought it up.”

            Because Rome turned Christian in the years before it fell, dumba–. Therefore, if “Christianity is not feminist,” and since Rome was Christian when it fell, WTF are you talking about with this “Rome was feminist” stuff? You lie. Rome was never “feminist.”

            I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve gotten any, but you are obviously really bitter against society, and their LGBT-friendly, anti-1950s-wife-beating society turn. This will be the third time saying this, but: instead of complaining and whining and pointing fingers at other people because you rub the world the wrong way, you need to look in the mirror. And yes, when you’re ranting and spouting things you know to be false online, that don’t accord with reality (no, no historian has ever said “Rome was feminist,” pal. Nor did the percentage of youth voting for Trump change. You lie), because you are angry and can’t find a way to get along with the people you share this earth with (and yes, most of us think women are human beings who should work, should be elected to public office as often as men are, and should not have their lives controlled by their husbands) you do need therapy.

            Any woman who is willing to have you control their lives is sick, if you can even find one, which I doubt you can, and if you can’t deal with women on an equal basis without losing it and going on lying online rants about it, then you’re sick, and you need help. Last word is yours. Seriously: get some help, wife-beater.

          • David McClintock

            You are NOT an expert on the Roman Empire. If you knew anything about history, or any Empires in history, you would not be a Feminist. You would be against it. Rome turning Christian did NOT cause the fall of the Roman Empire. You MORON.

            The Atlantic is a liberal rag ! Total lies and propaganda! What’s next? Quotes from the New York Times and Washington Post? The Young Turks?

            We WILL go back to the natural order of life. One way or another. It’s going to happen. Rome collapsed when it adopted all the values feminism champions and so will the West.

            What you see today is based on the Western Christian Civilization that founded this nation, in God we Trust. This country was settled and formed by WHITE MEN and WHITE IMMIGRATION FROM EUROPE. What you see today is artificial, decadent, and a passing era of the times doomed to fail. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. pal and any MAN who allows a women to control him and give her control as a matter of public policy – like you -is in error because this is against nature.

            NOBODY said anything about wife beating or Jim Crow dude! More straw mans! Jesus Christ is that all you people know how to do? Listen: I have NO WHITE GUILT and NOTHING to be ashamed of. The 1950’s was the peak of America and all the facts prove it. I don’t give a f-ck about your race baiting, goose stepping political correctness. It only works when people, specifically white males allow it to work, live in fear, and give it power.

            And in case you forgot this article is about Disneyland and Feminism and their continued demands to ruin Western culture and society. Not your straw man arguments.

          • Whamadoodle

            Yeah. Having female senators is “against nature”? Uh right

            You’re a looney. Go work out your closet-case issues, nutjob.

          • David McClintock

            Women have’nt generally proven themselves very effective at politics (Hillary Clinton, Dianne Fienstein, Angela Merkel). Women seem to function far better in the background, behind men.

            And No…

            YOU are the looney because you are a P.C. Feminazi and not a single notable civilization was ever founded or flourished under a matriarchy. None. Nada. Zip. Ziltch. zero.

            Am surprised to hear you’re married. Does he hold your purse in public?

          • Whamadoodle

            “not a single notable civilization was ever founded or flourished under a matriarchy.”

            Maria Theresa of Austria. Catherine the Great of Russia. Elizabeth the First of England, under whom England defeated the Spanish Armada, and the queen who sent Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to sail around the world and the first to discover the west coast of what would become the US. She did more for her country than you ever did for yours, loudmouth. All you do is complain.

            And oh, Jesus. You’re a scientologist? So Scientology stands for gay-bashing and thinking women don’t belong in the workplace or in government? Wow. What a bunch of assholes, then. I bet THAT shit’ll get them a lot of fans. No wonder they did whatever happened to Shelley Miscavige. You sure you guys don’t do wife-beating?

          • David McClintock

            I said FOUNDED or FLOURISHED .

            You list a bunch of aristocratic monarchy, Queens, etc as your proof. And the fact one of them SENT MEN to sail around the world during a time where people thought it was flat and teeming with pirates and sea monsters. Lol. Oh yes, such great examples. Lol.

            I am not the complainer. Simply responding to P.C.’s ilk like you. This thread has gone slightly off topic. The bottom of line is this ride will stay as it is. You will STFU with your endless malicious feminist P.C complaining and keep your rainbow Nazi hands off this ride. YOU WIlL NOT TOUCH IT you whining , whinging , complaining , fun sucking feminist.

            You people remind me of those puritin Salem priests on the prowl for witches bible high , hitting people with sticks and shit. Ever wondered what happened to those people? They became LGBT feminist P.C. Nazis like you.

            Now GET OUT and do not go to Disneyland or stay off this ride if you have a problem. Go pick something else to ruin.

          • Mr M

            Shut up you woman-hating asshole. You hate women because you’re a hideous, dred up, 70 yr old unfuckable virgin ogre. You pathetic cunt.

          • Mr M

            We get it. You’re an angry, dejected, unfuckable troll with a micro phallus. Sorry about your lot in life.

          • David McClintock

            No. I have a great lot in life. But you’re a Captain-save-a-hoe white knight little cuck bitch.

            Make me dinner after I fuck your wife. Bitch.

          • Mr M

            Aaaaand, thanks for proving my POINT, you old misogynist, saggy, wrinkled sack of impotent male rage! hahahaha.

          • David McClintock

            Thanks for the dinner cuck. Now where’s my dessert? Don’t forget your pink apron. And bring more napkins. Your wife has a runny pussy.

          • Mr M

            God you conservative old limp dick fucks are always so sex-obsessed, even with your insults. Every pussy that’s ever been near you has been as dry as the desert you disgusting, unfuckable old wrinkled nasty life-sized scrotum. Go back to your blow up doll and Viagra and your hate porn. You’re probably an old pedophile grandpa who beats off in his pocket watching Disney with his grandkids. You’ve never had consensual sex in your life and will die alone and angry and demented with your non-functional micro peen.

          • Whamadoodle

            Shorter: if you think women shouldn’t be allowed to work, vote, hold office, or live a life without wannabe Mad Men like you beating them in the home without reprisal, then yes, sorry, but you need therapy.

            I think women should be allowed to work, vote, hold office, and live a violence-free life. You’re saying people who believe that need therapy? We wouldn’t be able to find a single therapist in America who would disagree with us about those things.

            David, you’ve got problems. They’re not going to be solved by screaming at people online, or even by voting. America simply doesn’t agree with you. And man–if you are so unable to handle the simple fact of women disagreeing with you without going off screaming at them (by the way, I’m not a woman, nor have I ever had children, so your child-care rant is as fact-free as your “Rome was feminist” BS), then yes, you’ve got a problem.

            Because there will ALWAYS be women who disagree with you. And with me too. And with each other, sometimes. We deal with that by acting like adults, and looking at the possibility that someone else’s opinions and facts can be right sometimes; pretending you’re Jesus and that you can’t possibly be wrong is the act of a stunted child. Grow up. And yes, get some help, you need it. You’re failing in society.

          • David McClintock

            I never said any of this. Your “straw manning” again. You keep mentioning therapy. Seems your a big fan. As a member of CCHR – I don’t give any credence to the evil psychiatric industry as you do. My problems are with the direction simply., spoiled, quarrelsome, gutless, white knights like you have been allowed (yes allowed) society to progress (which you call progressive). M/F doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you’re a feminist, or a male white knight. If you’re part of that anti-Western anti-white LGBT PC Nazi agenda I’m against you till the end. Not a single notable empire was founded and flourished under your “values”. Not a single one. Now go have sex in a public restroom faggot.

          • thisisendless

            CCHR is Scientology. That explains why you are a such a lunatic. Don’t you have some alien in a volcano to pray to? lol. Laters.

          • Mr M

            God, shut the FUCK up already. Do you also get high on your own farts?

  • Rich Uncle Skeleton

    You PC cops make me want to vomit. I feel sorry for all your pssified children you are raising in this world

  • Gemini011

    In the Disneyland version of the ride (not sure about the ones at other parks), the “chase” scene was also modified some time ago such that the women chase the pirates, armed with household implements (I recall a broom and a rolling pin) while the pirates carry bits of jewelry. Just last week they also changed the banner from the “Auction: Take a wench for a bride” one to something like “Take a wife from the village maidens” or something like that.

    It’s been interesting watching the ride—in particular that section of it—change over the years.

  • David McClintock

    Another P.C Nazi trying to regimen peoples lives. Self righteous. Pious. Fun sucking. Goose stepping P.C., anti history, anti fun, anti-free speech, anti- free market., goose stepping feminist P.C. Nazi. This is her perceived contribution to society. Standing on a podium telling the rest of us how to feel, what to think, how to live, how to raise our kids, how to behave, everything.

    Look at that face. She is either L.G.B.T feminist or hasn’t been wooed with a good smirching in years.

    Find something else to do with your time honey. People: Donald Trump was a start. But only a start. These people simply will not quit. They will never be satisfied until everything is ruined. They don’t care about history or fun. Or the fact rides like these tell a story that helps keep more negative aspects of history in the past and is fun and educational at the same time.

    The ride has already been ruined and lost authenticity because of people like the author. This is just one tiny example and has I said before, electing Trump was a small start, but there is ton of damage to repair and put these people back in the marginalized disgruntled closet they choose to belong to.

    If Trump,doesn’t do it, an economic collapse via run on the USD will. The people empowering this nonsense have got to end.

    • Mr M

      You can’t even woo your own baby dick let alone even locate a clitoris. Calm your tits, old fart.

  • John Baumgartner

    Love your idea for the revision. As an ardent fan of the ride, no matter what they’ve done, it’s still troubled me, but lo and behold, that turns it on its head in a brilliant way, having her wield a melee weapon.

  • nonono

    Well guess what..no matter what you puckered up cows think the ride has stood the test of time for 50 years.

  • ranch111

    Bitter, unhappy liberal women ruining it for everyone else.

  • David McClintock

    The author of this article is Tiny. Just look at her photo. Would any man short of a 12 pack want to bang this? Nope.

Author

Natalie Dougall

Natalie Dougall is a writer, parent, spouse and recovering adjunct. She studied creative writing at Mills College and now lives in Los Angeles.

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