Women In Marcus Rediker's Villains Of All Nations

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In Marcus Rediker’s Villains of All Nations, pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny are represented as being vulnerable, emotional, extraordinary women. Both being born illegitimate children, Rediker poses an understanding, empathetic treatment of these women, despite their representation of ‘liberty’ emanating from the brutality of piracy. The constant referral to Read and Bonny as female pirates indiscreetly implies that Rediker interprets their participation in piracy as delicate, which is unjust. Females and delicateness were a dominant association in the 18th century. Rather than referring to the two women simply as pirates, Rediker uses the phrase female pirates to imply that their participation on ship was neither masculine nor violent. Read…show more content…
Both pirates are sensitive and driven by emotion and love, as Rediker characterizes them largely as being capable of being in love on the ship, and being able to genuinely love one partner, not common of their compatriots. Early sailors believed that in order to successfully do the work of a pirate ship, sexual repression was necessary. If this is true, then Read and Bonny are being portrayed as specifically not participating in the gruesome work of handling their prey, which would be an attempt to further segregate the sexes, assuming then-women would never do such a thing. Whereas it is common for pirates to have multiple lovers, prostitute’s, etc., Rediker sheds light on Anne Bonny’s marriage to her husband, whom she followed to the Caribbean and further began dressing as a man to join a band of pirates. Upon being a sea-faring woman, Calico Jack Rackam is described as becoming the object of Bonny’s affections, which is a more romantic, sensitive way of caring for someone, as opposed to how a typical pirate portrays a familial love to their fellow pirates. When Rediker analyzes one specific incident when Read had killed a pirate, it is also mentioned that this same pirate was later scheduled to fight with her lover. Essentially, Rediker poses this as Read fighting for her feeling of love towards her fellow pirate, however there is no judgement from the author in the…show more content…
Through these two practices, the two women become figures of imagination. There was a frequent reprinting of their tales in 18th, 19th, and 20th century romantic literature. Firstly, the fact that their tales were interpreted in romantic literature further emphasizes the point that the two women were largely being interpreted because of their femininity. These pieces led many girls and young women to feel imprisoned by the traditional ideologies of family and domesticity. Supplemental to this apparent domino-effect of Read and Bonny, in 1726 and 1728, Mary Harley and Mary Cricket cross-dressed to become pirates, likely because they were moved by the tales of Bonny and Read. In addition to this literature, the two pirates may have affected art as well. An illustration, by an unknown artist, that appeared as the frontispiece of the Dutch translation of A General History of the Pyrates features an allegorical figure of a woman pirate, armed, depicting anarchy. This illustration was believed to be the inspiration for Delacroix’s famous painting Liberte Guidant le peuple. In this altered version of the allegorical figure, the woman is muscular, elucidating strength, bare-breasted, wearing a tunic, however noticeably softened to appear tranquil as opposed to angry. This warrior woman appears to be tamed. The first illustration epitomizes piracy, whereas the altered version

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