Friday 20 February 2009

women pirates - interest endures via HerStoria

A new - and very attractively accessible - women's history magazine is now out: HerStoria. I hope it's going to succeed. Because the format is so popular it deserves to hit the bookstalls and not just be subscription-based. I'm in the launch issue, writing about women pirates. Although my book about female buccaneers came out 13 years ago and I thought they'd been done to death, there turns out to still be a surprising amount of interest. Many people have written to me from all over the world: wanting to know more; saying, for example, it's on their university book list for a crime, gender and society module.

In the article, The trouble with women pirates…, I reflect on image, reality and the process of writing ‘outsider’ history. It's often been fun - as the photo (right) shows: me playing with fake pirates at the Liverpool Tall Ships festival in 2007.
The article begins:

'What could be sassier, you might think, than a bold, sexy buccaneer? Slightly dykey, and into a light-hearted touch of woman-led bondage. Brandishing—but with a beautiful smile—a long whip to go with that lethal cutlass. And mmmmm, swashbuckling along the deck in those sea-washed, thigh-high leather boots. She could shiver any one’s timbers. Geena Davis as Morgan Adams in Cutthroat Island, (1995) is a scintillating example of the genre. Keira Knightly in The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-2007) could also wield a sword with lethal prettiness.
'The (interesting) trouble is that such images of women pirates are a fantasy. Exploring such a fantasy not only requires—but also reveals—a broader knowledge of just why it is that the sea is popularly seen as a ruggedly masculine space in which real seawomen have only small, strictly prescribed, walk-on parts....'
Read on in the HerStoria issue 1, at

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