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23rd Aug 2010, 4:42 PM in Strange Adventure!

The Dread Pirate Verbinski!

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The Dread Pirate Verbinski!
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Author Notes:

C. Glen Williams 23rd Aug 2010, 4:42 PM edit delete
I'd say, "Let's get this straight," but women as pirates is a touchy subject. Made all the touchier by the fact that since they were participating in criminal activities, first-hand records are sketchy at best. Let's begin by saying there were women who acted as pirates. The debate is whether they were pirates as women, or if they were forced to disguise themselves as men.

Historians disagree about whether or not Anne Bonny's and Mary Read's gender were known by any members of the crew aside from Calico Jack Rackham. Some maintain that they never attempted to pass as men, and others insist that both spent most of their time in drag. What is known is that government documents of the time referred to both by their actual names -- even before their capture -- and depicted them as women.

However, we also know that maritime tradition at the time held that a woman on board a ship was bad luck. Some sailors refused to sail on ships that had women as passengers, and almost all refused to sail with women as part of the crew. The vast majority of women who went to sea disguised themselves as young men, and there are detailed records of the lengths that some of them went to to conceal their true identities. So we can figure that if Anne Bonny and Mary Read never attempted to disguise their gender on board Rackham's ship, then Rackham probably had a hard time convincing his men that it was all right.