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Lady Pirates And Women's Liberation

Updated on October 21, 2009
Anne Bonny, 18th Century Lady Pirate
Anne Bonny, 18th Century Lady Pirate

Back in the days of piracy, there were hardly any lady pirates relative to the plethora of male pirates swarming the high seas buckling their swashes. Now don't get me wrong, there were some lady pirates, however the bulk of them were forced to don male clothing and pretend to be men so as to not tip a scurvy crew right over the edge. Some female pirates even became pirate captains, but they still wore male pirate dress, and when they had the odd baby, as you do, they would usually be dropped off somewhere on an island to be raised by people who were generally less swashbuckling. Day care on a pirate ship generally consisted of a tot of rum and a swim in a pickle jar.

For a detailed history of female piracy dating back past Viking times and all the way forward to the 1970's, read the Wikipedia article on the subject, which is incredibly excellent, though brief, two things we prize on the Internet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_piracy

If you can't be bothered clicking that link, and really, it is a lot of effort, here are a few awesome woman pirates mentioned in the article

Jeanne-Louise de Belleville 1343-1356 French The "Lioness of Brittany". A French woman who became a pirate to avenge the execution of her husband. Attacked only French vessels.

Wigbiorg, Hetha and Wisna c. 8th century A.D. Norwegian All three are listed in the Gesta Danorum as sea captains. Wigbiorg died in battle, Hetha became queen of Zealand, and Wisna lost a hand in a duel.[3]

Anne Dieu-le-Veut aka Marie-Anne and Marianne ca 1650 - 1660s-1704 French Caribbean pirate and later based in Mississippi after Tortuga was closed down. Dieu-Le-Veut was a nickname meaning "God wants" and given to her as it seemed anything she wanted God gave her. Married to a pirate, Anne challenged pirate Laurens de Graaf to a duel after he killed her husband in 1683. He refused and she became his common law wife, fighting by his side and sharing command.

Anne Bonny born Anne Cormac, aliases Ann Bonn and Ann Fulford, possibly also Sarah Bonny 1698-1782 1719-1720 Irish Caribbean pirate. Married to pirate James Bonny, had an affair with pirate John "Calico Jack" Rackham, and later joined his crew. Discovered another crew member Mark Read was secretly a woman (Mary Read) and the two became very close.

How's the story of Anne Dieu-le-Veut for a romance?

“I say, you appear to have killed my husband, fight me!”

“No, I will not fight you, let's sail around on my pirate ship!”

“Righto!”

Someone needs to write that romance novel, if they haven't already. Maybe I will. Maybe I just did.

It's interesting that women have always played a significant role in men's domains since recorded history. Arabic warrior queens, such as Zenobia of Palmyra, once ruled over vast swathes of land where men now rule supreme and make women wear silly sheets over their heads the whole time.

I'll be honest and say that I'm not entirely sure if I have a point with this article apart from to say, 'Wow, women have been kicking ass for millenia, maybe it's time we all stopped whining based on gender lines and realized that no matter who you are, male or female, it's up to you what you make of your world. Women have always been able to take power if they truly wanted it, in the same way men have, by kicking ass, taking names, and by being ruthless and vengeful and violent. Oh, and cross dressing has always been around, and it also kicks ass.'

Now there's a moral of a story you won't be sharing with your children any time soon.

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    • profile image

      EYES CHAMbERS 

      8 years ago

      "Behind every great man, is a great woman!"

    • profile image

      rich3800 

      8 years ago

      Being "liberated" gives one the right to take on the oppressor's bad habits. But does the ability to swear like a sailor, smoke like a smokestack, drink a fish, drive a gas-guzzling SUV, show who's smarter, the "liberated" or the "oppressor"?

    • kirsib profile image

      kirsib 

      8 years ago

      :) Love the word "swashbuckling" although I've no clue what it means. I only started studying English on the 8th grade and let's just say that I was not an A student at the time in Finland, life was at the time way more interesting than some verbs. Who knew I'd end up in the US and actually liking all the verbs!

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      8 years ago

      Oh, I see, someone pirated my verb... typical!

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      8 years ago

      Fix what, precisely? I find that sentence to be quite admirable in every way...

    • kirsib profile image

      kirsib 

      8 years ago

      "and when they had the odd baby, as you do, they would usually dropped off somewhere on an island to be raised by people who were generally less swashbuckling."

      Fix that and I like it even more :) I'd love to see some major studio making a movie about one of these ladies, I bet audience would love it!!

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