Having given time to the Hollaback! Organization (see here), interviewing plenty of â€˜cam girls,â€™ championing women in porn, reviewing sex toys as much for men as for women, expounding on the many delights ofÂ Rickâ€™s Cabaret New York (and the fact that I feel women have every right to work there and show what they wish of themselves), traveling to The Erotic Heritage Museum as well as the Museum of Sex to get their sex-positive read on stuff while always holding a door for a lady, Iâ€™d like to think I am a believer, and when I can manage it, a doer, of feminism. Even though I maintain a healthy fascination (some would say obsession) over female body parts (I wonâ€™t make excuses for my DNA hetero-pre-determinism) I believe in equality for all people, no matter what it is you are sporting in your pants or even in your mind.
All this being said, I come to rail here against the megalith that is Disney for a brand of silliness they are perpetrating that goes beyond Mr. Toadâ€™s Wild Ride. And how this silliness speaks to a disease I have warned us of before, but seems to be growing ever stronger in the seeming constant battle between the sexes. And yes, a brand of silliness I believe should indeed be addressed in a column about sex.
It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Disney is changing their â€œPirates of the Caribbeanâ€ ride to reflect a more modern view of a womanâ€™s place in the world. What the ride used to show in one of its many scenes was an animatronic pirate chasing an equally animatronic lady where a sign hung over them reading: â€œAuction: Take a wench for a bride.â€ Well at least that was the way it read until 1997 when Disney changed the scene-and sign-with an obviously hungry pirate chasing a women carrying food; no more question of wenches and ill-be gotten brides for The Mouse Corp.
The scene-and sign-will now be changed to, â€œAuction: Surrender yer loot.â€
You have heard the criticisms leveled at Mark Twain and his liberal use of â€œNigger Jim,â€ right? Well, the people in Twainâ€™s novels actually spoke that way, way back when, as offensive as you find it now. He was being true to the time and place as much as Disney was trying to stay accurate (albeit it in a fun way) in their depiction of pirates. Of course, one doesnâ€™t â€˜go to the land of People MoversÂ® and Dole-WhipÂ® ice cream swirls hoping for a history lesson as much as they do a good time (unless you are a big fan of the Hall of Presidents, and even then who knows what middle-of-the-road jingoistic fictions you are being sold about our â€˜great menâ€™ of history?). But at one time, pirates, did chase women (as well as doing lots of other stuff you can only imagine when they caught them), women were indeed called wenches (just like some of our brightest and best rappers call them â€œbitchesâ€ in their lyrics and in interviews presently) and women were treated as less than second-class citizens.
Even though the idea of all these ills of history might jostle and prod your modern day â€˜evolvedâ€™ sensibilities, rewriting history, me thinks, is a dangerous thing.
Yes, I know, one canâ€™t even imagine such a thing, but as much as we might abhor and work against certain attitudes and speech, people who hold opposing views to ours are not wrongâ€¦they are simply wrong for what we think and feel. Whatâ€™s worse, I feel, and illustrated in Disneyâ€™s example, is how we might be going overboard in our sensitivity and whatâ€™s more, how much criticism opposing views to supposed righting wrongs engender. Those big brushes come out in full force swiping across any dissenting opinion or even a considered â€œWanna explain that please?â€ if one of our modern-day, revisionist history cure-alls is pushed back against. It reminds me of how instantly people were branded racists if they opposed President Obama or how one gets lambasted as a certain kind of cretin if one questions any protest a few ladies might attempt.
And to the point I made in the opening, about how I was all for feminism. I feel it becomes very dangerous when we canâ€™t criticize the criticizers. When we instantly have to accept someoneâ€™s assumption that a supposed â€˜ismâ€™ has been leveled upon them (be it race-ism, sex-ism, age-ism). And when we get branded as perpetrating that ism when we donâ€™t buy a broad-brush PC solution-like Disneyâ€™s-lock, stock and gun-to-my-crotch barrel.