Literature successfully popularized pirates by portraying them as rum-drinking, shabby, hat-wearing, parrot-on-the-shoulder treasure obsessed males. Though it’s almost true as well as exaggerated for dramatic and theatrical purposes, it cannot deny the fact that pirates, share some of these characteristics. However, with the over-saturation of male characters concerning narratives about male pirates, it begs the question: where are all the women pirates?
This curiosity was the reason why the book “Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas” was conceived. In this book, women pirates’ infamy and mystery aren’t only the things that were revealed, but also the history and background of the societies where they come from and so much more.
Below are some of the most fascinating and interesting facts about women pirates:
Women Pirates Were In Command
Naturally, one can barely imagine women pirates, let alone women pirates that are in command. However, based on researches, women pirates, sailed side by side with male pirates. Moreover, what’s even more surprising is that some of them were even in command. The fact that this reveal appeals to the masses as mere fiction or myth, it only proves to the claim that women pirates are not given the credit and exposure that they deserve.
Furthermore, these researches and stories came from a combination of both myth and fact; however, even if they are not as factual as we want them to be, the fact that these stories have existed and passed on for so many decades means something – and that is worth celebrating and recognizing.
Sexist Overtones in the Stories
Some of the stories that have been passed on were usually done orally, and with this as well as other historical factors, some of these stories evolved, and with it is the bias. For instance, the stories of Viking women were greatly affected for the people who recorded them – Christian missionaries, presented them in such a way that typical gender roles are maintained to also forward the idea of order in the church and family. This begs then begs the question: what was the original intent of these stories or better yet, what is the truth behind these stories?
Getting Rid of Social Constructs
Some women pirates who even commanded a fleet bigger if contrasted to other fleets at that time slowly changed the tides for the ones who forwarded the biased gender roles that society set out for them. There were even women who commanded male pirates under their control, and they were notably successful women pirates. However, due to the lack of primary sources to determine what these women felt while they were conquering the seas, it’s uncertain if they really had the peace and freedom that they chased; moreover, this unfortunate reality might come irrelevant if compared to the fact that even if they had never achieved the freedom that they sought, their existence surely changed the way people viewed women at that time.
Women pirates also offered another picture of femininity that time. Most of them still maintained an outward sense of femininity while they were on ships for they still wore dresses like most women at that time. One famous lady pirate at that time even gave birth to a child while she was on a ship. Sources also show that there were many pirates with beautiful faces.
Women Pirates’ Midpoint
Although women pirates can be found in different cultures and societies, what makes them similarly alike is their fervor for freedom and their desire for adventure. Even if their methods, tools, conduct, and ships are relatively different, their shared drive to conquer the seas something that ties them altogether; further blurring the line between male and female pirates which makes a pretty strong case about the portrayal of genders roles and expectations in the over saturation of males in narratives about pirates.